Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Survival mode is not a place where anyone can live. Sure, we all need to visit the place from time-to-time, and as a married couple, we often land there together, but let's not move in.
But is this realistic, can we really avoid the reality of life becoming just about day-to-day survival? Is this possible when we have two kids, a dog, a cat, a huge renovation of a fixer-upper house, two demanding jobs and careers. The answer is I don't know. And when I ask you, you're not sure either. We know we make it work, some days more gracefully than others, but will it be enough?
Look, any relationship takes action. In its basics, a relationship is nothing more than an agreement between two people to act in a mutually agreed upon way. Being married, we signed up for the long-run. We are roommates who never leave without the other, bffs who share responsibility for dishes, laundry and life, co-workers who can't clock-out at the end of a rough week, family that we actually chose. So what are we to do? Part of the survival mode is to take things day-by-day, but when we're really running on all cylinders, thriving and not just surviving what are the things we do that make me confident we'll make it into the long-run? These, these are the things we do that make this craziness all work. While there are so many more little things, these are the big concepts that allow all the rest of it to fall into place.
1. Communicate - It may not always be pretty or effective, but when all else fails, we talk about it. We put words to what is happening around us. It can sometimes be as simple as a sigh, or a sideways glance. Sometimes its more proactive, setting conversations about the important stuff, managing expectations with reality and debating the merits of one crazy idea against another.
2. We let each other have off days - It is an unspoken rule in our home, that we are allowed to say "I'm having an off day", "a bad day", "I'm in a funk" or "I'm just exhausted" and use it to get out of something we both know needs to get done. We help each other in these moments or we reassess needs and reprioritize. And we don't try to fix it (because, well you know what happens).
3. Understand needs - Piggy-backing off the last one, the reality is only we alone can know what we each need or what the relationship needs. We don't expect (or not often expect) the other person to know what is going on in our mind at any given moment. We write it down, we text it, we talk about it, (sometimes we snap) but ultimately we put it out there. At that point it becomes an ask, a favor, a need. One that we either negotiate or reprioritize. Realistically speaking, we don't ask the other to figure out a solution to a problem that we don't fully understand ourselves. Though, that doesn't mean we don't jump in to help along the way, either.
So knowing that these things help us when things are getting rough, I commit to you to keep the system working and to keep thriving right along side of you.
Happy Valentine's Day, babe!