Relationships are….Hard. Marriage, not a walk in the park. This coming from me, who is married to what my friends describe as “a saint,” so I have it easy in comparison to others I’m sure. Over this past year as newlyweds we have gone through some major life shifts and are both feeling drained and maxed out. Buying our house has caused more stress, bills, and responsibility, and less sleep and time together than ever before.
It comes as no surprise that our communication is not always where it should be. We still have a lot to learn about each other even after years of being together. We are learning about how we work through big decisions, times of uncertainty, and maximum pressure situations. It seems like lately, during the small periods of time we have together, all we talk about is what needs to be done, what bills need to be paid, and how tired we are. On top of all of that, our down time together is almost non-existent. I posted a picture recently on my instagram of our relaxing Sunday morning together; our first in seven full weeks.
So during these periods of change and transformation in our life, how do we stay together, stay happy, and come out even stronger on the other side? Here are some things I’ve learned that have helped us continue to find ourselves and our love for one another during all the crazy.
Talk about the big stuff when you are not already fighting about the little stuff.
- This past weekend, we were having a good day, we had family friends over and Przemek was feeling pretty good about showing them our new home. When they left, I brought up a topic we have been talking about on and off, but I’ve never really felt like he understood where I was coming from and we just kept talking in circles about it. I knew it was risky, he was in a good mood, I didn’t want to ruin that; but I was also hoping that talking to him when he was in a happy, relaxed state of mind might help him to absorb what I was saying better and come up with some actions steps to support me. We wound up fighting about it to be honest. I went upstairs to do yoga and cool off my temper and he went in our den. I came down freshly showered about an hour later and he had a plan. He had crunched numbers, told me I had his support 100%, no pressure, and that we were a team. He HEARD ME. He offered me unconditional support, love and acceptance, and it reminded me that’s the reason we choose marriage, to have that person above all else who will be on your team, at your side. It’s hard to remember when life gets crazy, but it’s in these moments when you know you made the right decision.
Have sex. (“Can’t you just write be intimate?“-Przemek “No, it’s my blog, I’m writing sex.”-Me)
- Physical intimacy is important in any relationship. In marriage, it can sometimes be the glue that helps you stick when things aren’t working. I’m not advocating using sex as a deflection method, I’m advocating connection. Plus, you release endorphins and serotonin, feel good hormones, during sex that helps to decrease the stress you may be feeling from your busy life. Oxytocin is also released during orgasm and interestingly enough is responsible for creating trust, helping form attachments, and fidelity making us more monogamous creatures. It’s even sometimes called the cuddle hormone, so ladies, if you want more cuddle time, you need more sexy time. Sex also increases blood flow to the brain causing new brain cell growth and helping to protect against the decline of brain cells which lead to diseases like dementia later in life. I don’t know about you but it relaxes me, and makes it much easier to sleep when normally my list of a million things to do is keeping me awake. And I for one like knowing that the two of us have this special connection, we don’t share with anyone else, it bonds us.
Go on dates.
- Even when our weeks are crazy, we try to meet up outside of the house at some point. Or have a night where we drink wine, eat popcorn and watch a movie at home. These times recharge us, remind us we can also have fun together and gives us space to actively work on the relationship. During our dates, no phone, computer or kindle (me since I read all the time) allowed. I pushed for this when I was feeling like I was last on the list. My husband works full time plus some, we commute over 20 hours a week, he is in school and we just bought an old house that needs a lot of maintenance. Even when we are at home together we are often doing our own things simultaneously. But, we are in this together. I can support him in his crazy life, he can support me in mine, so long as we continue to also look at our relationship as deserving of time, energy and work.
Make each other laugh as often as possible, if not daily.
- The other day Przemek did something that grossed me out so I wanted to get him back. I started chasing him around the house and we just kept running in circles from room to room. At one point I changed directions and he didn’t realize and when he saw me, the look on his face, surprise, confusion, fear, awe, all mixed into one was so funny I had to stop running to laugh. I laughed so hard I was bent over with tears streaming down my face. He started laughing too and before long we were both belly laughing and had forgotten we were supposed to be play fighting. It was fun. Like little kid fun. And it was a great reminder of why I love this other person, he brings out the lighter side in me. His crazy meets my crazy and clicks.
Be generous with one another.
- Go out of your way for your person as often as possible. My husband sleeps even less than I do so that he can get up before me and make me a cappuccino, a hot water bottle, and pack me breakfast to go. He does all of this before he wakes me at 6am. He knows I’m not a morning person and he tries to make my life easier by doing this for me. He does this because he loves me. He loves taking care of me and spoiling me. And I love being taken care of. I love being spoiled. I’m demanding and he delivers. Here’s the trick, it’s not one sided. I would do anything for my man and he knows it. I try to do something to make him laugh or smile, make him feel wanted and loved just like he does for me, everyday. It’s not fun or easy for him to get up that early, but he does it. That’s marriage, you put in a lot of work, you go out of your way, but the pay off, it’s totally worth it if you are with someone who gives as much as they get. And the kicker, I actually want to go out of my way for him. I’m totally fine with it, he deserves it and I think it’s once you feel that way that you know you are with the right person.
For my husband and I, it’s been a whirlwind first year of marriage but we have been together almost 8 years so we know we have something worth fighting for no matter what. We know we have a strong enough foundation to work through anything. We are so lucky, blessed really to have that.
As I continue to learn, I’ll share with you little tips along the way, hoping something sticks, something inspires you to open your heart just a little bit more. You are both deserving of love.