I’m not even sure how I can tackle this without writing an short novel, but I’m going to give it a go. First, you should know that we had a bit of a whirlwind start. We met, fell in love, got engaged, and got pregnant with Edith, and then married within the first two years of knowing each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way but I’m not sure it’s something I would recommend…
You see, we both led fast and crazy lives before meeting each other so when I found Aaron and after he convinced me he was perfect for me, I felt ready to settle down. The idea of spending my life with this one person was a breath of fresh air. We were young and crazy and so in love. He wrote and bound me books, took me on adventures all over the Bay Area, left love notes on my pillow every morning. He had me completely swept off of my feet but I don’t think we were ready for what parenthood was going to mean for the two of us.
We’ve had to learn the long and hard way that our relationship thrives when our relationship to ourselves is thriving. In the mess and haze of life with two kids in two years and moving across the country, we had found ourselves more similar to roommates that tolerated each other. We both felt suffocated, depleted, and disillusioned. We were on at the tipping point and there were more than enough times that I’m proud to admit that we threw around the word “divorce” and actually meant it.
There were days, weeks, even months of tears and fighting. I felt like I didn’t know the person next to me anymore but the real truth was I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had found myself in the place of putting all my self-worth and reliance into him and the family that I became a completely different person than the girl who he met. I wasn’t the partner to him I wanted to be and he wasn’t the partner to me he wanted to be.
It’s been a lot of work. Sometimes we have to be so honest it literally hurts, but we are finally in this place where we we can love each other because we love ourselves. We can be honest with each other because we’re on honest with ourselves. And we can show up for the other person because we are showing up for ourselves.
Here are a few of my tips for a happy partnership that have been working for us:
+ Never go bed angry. We’ve gone to bed sad or broken hearted, but I’ve never gone to bed mad at him. Even if we just touch feet before falling asleep, its our way of saying, we’re going to fix this.
+ Have a weekly meeting. We started having a weekly meeting where we talk about what is and what isn’t working. I make a point to tell him what he did that made me feel really happy and loved and he does the same.
+ Be honest. Don’t be afraid of what the other person is going to think. Sometimes just saying what you’re feeling fixes the problem even if nothing changes.
+ I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again. Go on a date night frequently. We go once a week. We make had to take from other areas of our weekly budget but it was worth it for us. Its also fun to double date. I don’t often get to see him interact in a group setting and its really great to see him as this guy out in the world. And its good for the kids to see us spending time alone together, knowing that we are people aside from their parents with needs of our own.
+ Try learning your partners love language. Aaron’s is definitely “Acts of Service” and mine is “Physical Touch”. A hug will solve almost any problem for me but Aaron needs me to do things. Like help him with a house project without him asking or participate in our budget meetings. It’s not my first nature to do these things but I make the effort so he can feel loved.
What are your tips for having a good partnership? How has your relationship changed?