I have always had the vague notion that me and my husband could do anything we wanted. Prior to 2020 we had done things such as: drive from VT to Colorado in 24 hours, navigate the rainforests of Costa Rica without a GPS (eff you Hertz Costa Rica edition that tried to charge me 550$ just for the GPS!), had three kids in 4 years, were working 365 days a year with said 3 kids, felt the tragic loss of a miscarriage, navigated the resurgence of many a scored lover, put together an epic wedding on a shoestring budget, and been madly and sanly in love throughout all of it.
None of that has compared to the past year. If I thought we could do anything before 2020, I now know we can do anything.
To be fair we did a lot of ground work to have the solid relationship we now have. We decided before we got married to go into couples counseling. Not because anything was wrong in our relationship but rather because when things did go wrong we wanted to have a similar language to use and the tools necessary to rise to the occasion. We also both came from families of divorce, and neither of us had an experience witnessing a healthy marriage. We were literally trying to achieve something we had no idea about.
We also asked one of our French Canadian friends to marry us. Apparently in Canada when you ask someone to marry you they give you some marriage insider pro tips. So that was appreciated and helpful, and just nice to talk about how we wanted to lay the foundation of our marriage with an invested party. Like not in a therapy way but in a more laid back hanging out by the bon fire kind of way.
When Patrick proposed to me (right after I farted, WTF dude) I decided I didn’t want to have any secrets from him. I wanted him to know everything their was to know about me, and not have to worry about some bombshell deal breaker coming up after the “I do’s”. So we did biography sharing. And let me tell you, we shared everything. Like 20 hrs in total to share out life stories up to meeting. It was extra mind blowing because through doing this we realized that even though we had lived in different states we had been in the same place at the same time at 3 different points in our life and hadn’t met. If that shit ain’t fate I don’t know what is.
Lastly we read the book Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg together. To be fair in retrospect once you learn non-violent communication you can use it in a violent way. “I am not responsible for how you feel or react to things” is a common sentence when we are disagreeing. However I do think it gives a lot of insight and perspective to an internal process and gives really helpful tools for difficult situations.
So we did all this work and blah, blah, blah…
The moral of the story is we did all the work from the very beginning. And it has been amazing. I have been with my husband for almost 10 years now. And even through all of the really hard shit that is just inherent in spending your life with someone I feel like I have a partner who is on my team. We can talk about things. We can laugh together. And man oh man can we do some other stuff together *wink.
Those babies didn’t just make themselves. I am so impressed with us that even as we slide into our mid 30’s clad in joggers and t-shirts we still can’t keep our hands off each other. There is still an interest in knowing all the bits of flesh that encapsulate our love. This has been it’s own separate commitment. That when it seems as though there is a natural lul occuring to not let it become a dominant theme in our relationship. Again a place to check in and have open and honest conversation as outlined by the foundation we set at the begining of our relationship.
So all of that work bring us to the past year. A world wide pandemic, a housing crisis, economic fall out, losing our home, and both of us losing our jobs. This is the kind of stuff that can break the average relationship. However I feel like my marriage is stronger than it has ever been. Turns out just about anything is easier than working 356 days a year with three small kids and little to no thanks or appreciation for all of that hard work.
This past year has been, tragic, devastating, and soul crushing. Having a solid partner by my side has made it bearable. We have allowed each other to heal at our own pace, listen through the tears, and held each other’s hands. We decided this was our chance for a redo. We re-comitted to our family and marriage over everything else. And I have to say it has only made me love him more. I know that he is my lobster, sure from time to time in a moment of blind rage and fury I may question our deep bond. But the reality is the harder that life gets, the more pumped I am to have him by my side.
Truth is with less distractions on our plate there’s more time to appreciate each other. Their is more time to talk, and have awkward dance parties on an impulse. Sure their are less dates, but everyday seems more full of life and love than it did before. So to wrap things up I will say, do the hard work together. Then when things are hard appreciate your partner. Let them know they are seen and appreciated. If you need that in return, say something. Advocate for yourself in your relationship. Go to therapy, decide how you want to tackle the hard things, lean on others for support, and remember that physical intimacy is an important part of marriage.