Z and I have been together for 8 years. There are days when that seems like such a long length of time and days when it seems life has flown by in a flash. The past 8 years have taken us through college and graduate school, 4 shared and 9 separate addresses, 5 full-time jobs, and 1 engagement. We’ve made a lot of memories and learned a lot of lessons, some of which I’m sharing with you (out loud) today.
When you’ve been together for any length of time it can be easy to put your relationship on autopilot. Every week you eat the same meals, do the same chores, and watch the same shows on Netflix. While routines are a comfortable part of everyday life it’s important to make sure you don’t make your relationship one of them. While there’s nothing wrong with mutual vegging after a long day make sure you consciously balance it with activities that promote connection on others. Some of our favorites include game nights, going for hikes, or grabbing breakfast at our favorite restaurants.
This one seems like a given, especially considering my profession, but believe me when I say we have learned a lot about how to talk with each other over the past 8 years. Especially in this past year as we’ve been working crazy long hours in order to reach our goals. We’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to have important conversations when we’re both well rested so we can each talk and listen without getting overly emotional. We’ve learned it’s okay, even healthy, to disagree as long as we’re willing to listen and talk towards a compromise.
Get on the same page
This doesn’t mean you have to agree about every little detail, but you should be reading from the same book. Z and I agreed about many of the big things from the start but we spent a few years working towards those goals from different directions. Now that we’ve spent more time discussing our goals and making concrete plans to achieve them we’ve seen our progress move much faster. We may be frustrated with the pace of our progress, but working together with the same mindset has helped keep us positive.
Prioritize each other
When you spend a lot of time with other people (coworkers, family members…) it can be easy to fill your day without spending any time with your partner. Z and I spent a good portion of this year working long hours on somewhat opposite schedules which made it even more difficult to connect. We learned to take time for each other, even if it’s just a few minutes before bed some nights, to make sure that we check in and catch up on the important moments of the day.
It’s okay to wait
I’ve waited for many things over the years. From graduate schools acceptance letters to finding the right house, it seems waiting is an inevitable part of growth. It can be hard to wait, especially when it seems everyone around you is moving ahead but I have learned (the hard way) that I have to trust the timing of the universe. This isn’t easy as I’m an impatient person by nature, by Z has learned to keep me balanced.
Change is healthy
We are not the same people today that met 8 years ago. Our professions, our living arrangements, and even our health have been through more changes than I care to add up. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.We have continued to loved and supported each other through the uncertainty that change brings because change is a sign that we have continued to grow as people, trying new paths and building our future. And I, for one, hope that we never stop changing.
Z and I have a lot of bigs plans we’re working on this year and I have no doubt that all of these lessons will continues to hold true as we work together to meet them.