I mentioned recently that Garrett and I just celebrated our 7 year anniversary. When friends and co-workers asked how we were going to celebrate, I jokingly responded “By staying together, obviously.” Gifts are not either our “love languages” (HA!) so it was no surprise that we didn’t run out and shower each other with material things, but I have honestly begun to realize that this year, more than any year, staying together really was the big gift.
That sounds a bit dramatic when I reread it, and I don’t mean to mislead you like we are on the precipice of a dramatic breakup, because we are not. I REPEAT, NOT BREAKING UP AT ALL. But what I will say is that during the seven years of highs and lows this has been the hardest year of our relationship. Like in all capital letters. And it is for a multitude of reasons, none of which need to be detailed here mostly because they will be tedious and boring to just about everyone who isn’t me or Garrett, but it has been a working year. And I feel like people don’t really talk very often about those working years — but they are the most important aren’t they?
I am firmly in the camp that we’re doing okay if we are able to say “Yes, things are hard but we are working on them.” And I am even more firmly in the camp of — HEY LET’S TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GET HARD. But then again, I like to talk about lots of things, so that’s probably not a surprise.
My mom always likes to remind me of that Buddhist Proverb that says “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” And I feel like I have come across a number of things lately that have given me great food for thought and perspective about my life and my relationship. In an effort to do a little more talking about the hard stuff and not just post glossy photos about stuff when it is easy and awesome, I thought I’d share a few things I found useful lately:
- I particularly enjoyed this post of Jennie’s about questions and answers. As someone who likes to always feel capable (that was my nice way of calling myself a Control Freak) I don’t do well with long periods of time full of lingering questions. But I am starting to realize that it can be helpful sometimes to just sit with them.
- Also, when I read Liz’s AWESOME POST yesterday (seriously, go read it immediately, I can wait) about the singular task of juggling your careers and relationships I found myself letting out an enormous sigh of relief. I often let my work life get sorely out of balance (not only with my day job, but all of my other crazy endeavors.) And I found it really comforting and simple to read about this one approach. Of course at first I was like “WHO THE HELL DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?” But I honestly think that the whole post is just full of really smart thinking.
- And lastly, I know I have already regaled you with fascinating quotes from Rules of Civility, but there is just one more that I have to get off of my chest because it really spoke to me. And to this time in my life, really:
If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us…then there wouldn’t be so much fuss about love in the first place.
I MEAN HOW TRUE IS THAT? I just loved that quote.
The highs and the lows are worth it.
The question years and the answer years are worth it.
Figuring out how to prioritize your family life is worth it.
But man, they don’t call it commitment for nothing, right?
I would love to hear your relationship philosophies and strategies. How do you balance that in your own life, or even if just in abstract? I love to read gems of wisdom that I can tuck in my back pocket for when I am ready to listen and who knows, maybe it will be just what someone else needs to hear as well.