The Life We've Built Together

Brian and I recently celebrated the 12th anniversary of our first date. How a number in double digits can seem like a blink of an eye is beyond me. When we talk about the places we've been, the things we've done and how we've grown, I'm so grateful. The life we've built together is one of adventure, teamwork, positivity and love.

This year has been a funny one. We've spent almost every waking moment with each other, and not only have we survived, we're still happy! The coolest thing about such an arrangement is the constant, usually invisible negotiation that keeps it working.

I got to thinking about a few of the things that are so essential to our relationship, and have been from the very beginning.

Look For Adventure

So adventure can be travelling to Ethiopia or quitting your job and moving to the Netherlands. But adventure can also be going camping for the weekend or getting a coffee at midnight and driving around parts of the city you've never been before. Adventure can be taking a cooking class or starting a blog or having a picnic. An adventure is just doing something out of the ordinary.

Adventure requires two things: an open mind and a challenge. Challenging ourselves regularly as a couple helps us to grow and have fun together, and inspires us to be more adventurous individually too. Actually, just calling something regular an adventure might make it seem all shiny and new to you. Give it a try and let us know!

Teamwork

Sometimes we want to carry our burdens alone and it just takes a reminder that we're a team and we tackle problems together. Just saying something like, "hey, I think something's up with you, why don't we figure it out as a team?" can take a real load off the shoulders.

A silly example of teamwork in our household has come about with shifting roles. While Brian was employed, we joked that I was now "Suzy Homemaker." It was a joke, but I started to take it seriously. Before I knew it, I was getting a little too intense about my household duties. I felt a bit guilty at home by myself and started to feel like being the mental calendar for two people was overwhelming. I worried about unimportant things like how much mustard we had and whether it would last another day.

Then, our situation changed. Brian was without a job and I was in need of one. My job became finding one, and Brian offered to be "Joey Homemaker" to help out. Realizing I had become the person that reloads a full dishwasher to do it "right," I accepted the help and let Brian know that I was going to let him look after things his own way. I haven't looked at a grocery list or cooked a meal since, I think, and it's helped me to chill out and focus on things that are actually important.

Be Casual

"Joey Homemaker" works because Brian doesn't worry about things like mustard like I do, he just eats a sandwich without it until he feels like going to the store and remembers to buy it. He has to learn to plan a little bit more and I have to learn to chill out a little bit more.

If plans don't work out, if things go wrong, if something isn't perfect, it really doesn't matter as long as the two of us are together.

"Don't sweat the small stuff" is a valuable cliché in a world where there is so much to worry about, where the sun isn't always shining, and where one day can change your life forever.

The Adventure Continues

The past two years have been strange; the first over-full with responsibility and drama, and the second lacking in same. We're looking to lucky year thirteen to even out that balance. Back to regular life! Whatever lies ahead, we think this past year has been a great test of our communication and partnership skills. We've levelled up!

Thanks for sharing this blog time with us! We'd love to hear how you keep your relationship fresh and strong, year after year.

~ Erica