REFLECTION: This week’s Pause message is a bit of a departure from the usual directions. Dave and I are taking a mid winter break, spending a few days in Vancouver, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.( I know! I know! Where did that time go?)
Normally, I’d take a break from Pause on an occasion like this, but when I posted last week’s message, giving notice slipped my mind.
So here we are. You’re expecting your regular Wednesday message, and I’m committed to delivering one.
As I walked the seawall around Stanley Park, I pondered what to write about – eventually settling on what we’re focused on this weekend – celebrating relationship.
35 years is a long time for any kind of partnership – marriage, business, or otherwise. And, for what it’s worth, here are ten of the relationship lessons we’ve learned so far. Note disclaimer: opinions are based solely on our experience and observations (a sample of two) – not guaranteed to work for everyone. And, they represent our best intentions – not to say we are perfectly living up to same at every moment.
* A healthy partnership is neither a game nor a war zone. Stop keeping score and tracking who won what battle. Scorekeeping creates winners and losers – not the best way to build a relationship! Being amicably together is more rewarding than being self righteously solo.
* Every relationship takes work, especially at the start. Each day, re-commit to your partner. Once you commit to making this relationship the best ever instead of wondering or dithering about the choice, everything changes for the better.
* Work from your interests and backfill the shortcomings. Dave works in the kitchen and loves it. I work in the garden and love it. Neither one of us cares to vacuum and dust, so somebody else does that for us – and we love it.
* Build an affection (or at least a good-hearted tolerance) for your partner’s collection of stories, jokes and anecdotes. You’re going to hear a lot of them – again and again and again.
* Appreciate each other’s strengths and take advantage of them as a team. I was more patient with the kids when they were little. Dave was much better with them as teenagers. Between us, we made one pretty decent parent.
* Never lose hope. I keep hoping Dave will learn to dance. He keeps hoping I’ll enthusiastically embrace every new technology. Talk about springing eternal!
* Speak your mind. Make your wishes clear. It’s more of a shortcut to understanding than trying to guess the meaning behind the words or lack thereof. Let your partner finish their say before you shoot your ideas into the air! Some people stop to think between words.
* Travel many roads together but at least a few apart. Solo experiences to toss in the mix make the ongoing conversation that much more interesting.
* Applaud and support each other’s enthusiasms – whether you share them or not. Hot rods, fishing, or needlework may not be your passion, but how cool it can be to have a ringside seat for someone else’s delight and engagement in learning and creating.
* Forgive and forgive again. Holding grudges just eats you up from the inside out. Besides, (note to self) you’re not that perfect either.
ACTION: I hope you enjoy our lessons learned. If you have lessons of your own you’d like to share, drop me a line and I’ll pass them along to your fellow Pause readers.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.” – Leo Buscagli
“In the coldest February, as in every other month in every other year, the best thing to hold on to in this world is each other.” – Linda Ellerbee