24 years & gratitude day 15

This month marks 24 years of life with Christian. I get asked often what are the secrets to a super long-term commitment, why we didn’t get married, and do I have any advice to share….

First, I’ll be honest and start by saying that it is not always easy. Any change in dynamics - from renting a home, to owning a home, to having a twenty year career, to trying out self-employment - is definitely stressing. Then with those changes comes a change in income, free time, and routines. Then when those things change and the need to hustle more happens, it’s not easy to remember to water and feed the thing that has been able to stand on its own for the most part with the former consistency - the relationship. This happened back in 2008 when Christian moved across the country for work, again in 2015 when my dad died suddenly and I became a guardian for my teenage sister, then in 2021 when I left my job of twenty years, and most recently when we lived in hotel rooms for three months last summer and fall..

It is no surprise that there was an uptick in divorce rates during the pandemic. There were major changes to people’s finances as well as their personal time and space. When we fall into the routine of everyday life, we don’t have to focus so much on the relationship because the routines keep everything on track. When those routines are disrupted, we tend to focus on the things we no longer have (a job, income, time to ourselves - due to both partners being home all the time), and the things we didn’t lose - our relationships - get ignored because it’s been easy to take them for granted. 

When you have to put work into anything, it takes the fun out of it - for me anyway - and so it’s never a priority to ‘fix what ain’t broke’, and that’s when relationships fail. We forget they are living things, needing nurturing and feeding and attention. They don’t just exist. They live because of our efforts. 

We have both threatened to quit. To leave, move on, move out. We also found our bearings and saw that whatever we were feeling the need to flee, was our own lack of work. Our own lack of nurturing, watering, feeding this relationship. When it’s good, and effortless, it’s so easy to forget the work it took - that it will always need - to get there. 

Living out of a hotel for months was hard. I’m used to having my own entire shop to work, blog, have space. I didn’t have that. We literally shared one room. At one point I even said to Christian that if this were to have happened early on in our relationship, I don’t know if we would have survived. I wasn’t lying. The first house we lived in, we had our own creative spaces. That set the standard for every house we lived in since. I have to be able to close the door and have my own headspace. We are both extremely creative people and the energy is just too much in a small space when we are both in our creative zones. 

We made it though! Again- not easy. Again, we were reminded that we’d neglected something we do actually hold so sacred. Our time with each other. Our love for each other. And now we get to work on the house and our relationship together. Coming back home and painting, learning about the floors, breathing new life into this old house, has been really refreshing. 

I’m also starting a new business with a friend that will incorporate my love of dogs (over having to deal with people - ha!) with the great outdoors, while also being in the midst of holiday season where there is so much to do at the shop - making potions, prints, soaps, and ornaments - but I’m also recognizing that I need to love and make time for the one that loves me…

So, the secret to a long relationship? Pay attention, nurture, engage, make time, and love always. I’m not perfect and I do love to pick pointless fights, but I’m still working on that. Go to bed mad sometimes. Then wake up and start a brand new day with no strings attached to yesterday. 

Today, on this fifteenth day of November, I am grateful that both Christian and I don’t give up easily. Maybe we are stubborn, but I do know we have both needed each other to remind us that we are worth the fight, and luckily it has always worked out. I’m also grateful that our families whole-heartedly LOVE both of us and help us to see clearly in difficult times. 

Enjoy this trip down memory lane in photos through the years… 

Happy hump day! I hope your Wednesday is lovely and thanks for reading all this! 

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