I took another week away from social media for the most part. This was for a good reason though. My wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and did it away from an Internet connection. That’s the best kind of vacation for me these days. A getaway where the emails, text messages, tweets, and the rest of the world in general stops distracting me. It’s definitely not the first sans-kids vacation we’ve taken and it isn’t planned to be the last. Getting away from it all makes sure we’ve got the chance to appreciate what makes us work well as a couple. That’s what this week’s entry is about.
First off, let me say that what works for us isn’t something universal that applies to everyone. There have been arranged marriages where the couple didn’t meet first which have stood the test of time. That wasn’t the case with us. We met early in our freshman year at college and were friends before we were a couple. Both of us will say that this has been the core of our relationship and this is why we think it will continue to keep us together over the long haul.
We are alike enough that we can easily remain friends. That’s clearly important because there’s nobody you’re going to be with over a longer time than your spouse. I don’t believe that friendship is enough though. Mutual respect is a big part of our relationship too. Day to day we trust and rely upon each other and try to help whenever we can. We don’t rip or belittle each other. We don’t put individual wants and desires above what the other person wants. It can certainly be tough for me when I’ve been stressed at work and need to put it aside when I walk out of my home office. Similarly, she can have a hard time not hitting me with some fiasco with the kids before I’ve had the chance to change mental gears.
Our priorities and core beliefs are pretty common too. It’s not just that we don’t sit around the table arguing politics. If one of our kids asks one of us a question then tries their other parent, the answer is almost always the same. There are times when the same answer given from one of us works better, but it’s a team effort in the end.
As I said, this is what works for us. My parents work a little differently but there’s a lot the same too. My grandparents were a generation apart as well. It seems to me that over the last few cycles, successful couples have moved closer to being peers who have each others’ backs. If you’re looking for someone then think about how you’ll work together after the honeymoon. If you’re married and happy then you’ll probably see some of us in you. If you’re having trouble then maybe you lost some of that daily trust and human respect or someone’s priorities and/or ego got in the way and it got to be too much. I’m not saying we’ve had it easy and haven’t had rough moments. Any time we do, though, they’re short and we always sort ourselves out.