Five years ago today, I married my high school sweetheart. A man who makes me laugh, offers unwavering support, is handsome as hell, and has one of the kindest hearts I have ever known.
Across those 5 years (and the much longer we've been together), life has changed a lot. The ups and downs are not just the trite stuff of wedding toasts. The impatience and frustrations at work, the sadness of loss, the learnings of how to be with someone daily in a way that nurtures the spark of affection, and the exquisitely complex act of being human with someone else so close by takes consciousness and intention.
Today, I offer a few thoughts on the powerful lessons learned from five years with my beloved. I hope they offer some assistance to you - wherever you are on your journey of being with others whom you love.
- Find ways to laugh together. Laughter is both a superglue of connectedness and an energetic shower for releasing stress.
- It is not the thought that counts. It is the action that counts. But the action can still be very small to count.
- Continue to play - both together and apart. The playfulness of life - whether it's exploring a new town, going on a hike, actually playing a game, etc. can bring you out of the frozen stress that can come with adulting, gives you fresh eyes, and reminds you that life is actually quite good.
- Never underestimate the impact of a sweet love note. Even if it's on a post-it.
- It's not a good idea to wear your partner's clothes, even if it's freezing in your adorable little house and in the middle of winter. Get your own cold weather comfy clothes that are (somewhat) cute. It will make you feel (and be) a whole lot more desirable.
- If you want something and the other person isn't getting it, actually tell that person (verbally and clearly) what it is that you want. Men especially don't share the emotional depth of women and they have to be told, rather explicitly (even the super emotionally intelligent ones like you, sweet Tay!).
- Spend time nourishing yourself and yes even growing while apart. This is a big one for me as I am especially independent with my love of travel and being with my teachers. Well spaced out absence does make the heart grow fonder. Just be sure to really show that person how much you missed him or her upon your return!
- Be nice to each other and compliment each other. Remember what you love about the other person on a regular basis and share it with them. Remind your beloved with kindness why they are special to you. Everyone wants to be appreciated.
- Participate in something that matters to your parter every once in a while. I treasure the times that Taylor comes to my kundalini classes and I know (especially as of late), he's been so happy about my newfound viewing of the Stanley Cup Finals. Don't change your personality or feign interest in something you really hate, but making a small effort for the one you love is a meaningful gesture in the long run.
- Men - spend more time with men, women - spend more time with other women. Being together every moment makes you really good best friends but not necessarily really good lovers. We want to ensure we have a bit of both, right?
- Take care of yourself and your joy. I may have saved the best one for last. This is huge. In order to be happy with another, you must learn to be happy (or take steps toward that happiness) with yourself. Resources abound for this kind of exploration but know that it's no one else's job to look after your inner joy but yourself. From there, others can help it overflow.
Ultimately, remember how lucky you are to be with someone and actively cherish them - in your heart, in your communication, in your life. Life is short - sometimes far shorter than we want - so treasure the people that love you.
Happiest of five years to you, Taylor. Thank you for being such a teacher, a protector, and a cheerleader for me. Thank you for walking this path with me and giving me the freedom I need when I need it. You are so very special and I love you.