In my last blog, I wrote about my discovery of missing the small day-to-day encounters with my husband while he was away. Fast forward to writing this blog post and how I found myself being tested again! Funny how things work in a relationship, well at least my relationship – I don’t want to speak for everyone! Here’s our story, I know you will relate in some way or another!
My husband and I went to Vermont for a few days to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. We planned a bike trip on the Island Line Rail Trail. And let me just digress for a minute: if you love to bike and you love nature, I can’t say enough about the beauty of this ride. Just imagine riding across the most stunning lake surrounded by picturesque mountains: it’s incredible!!
And we took our dog Chloe biking with us, she loved it too!
Okay, back to relationships! Our arrival day was wonderful, we got in late and enjoyed walking around downtown Burlington. Our second day (anniversary day) was really perfect (hang in there, things changed!). The ride on the island ride rail trail was stunning and our evening dinner (if you are there and want to check it out) in downtown Burlington was amazing. I cook for a hobby so I don’t always enjoy meals out, but this was incredible gluten-free ravioli (yes, gluten-free and you would never have known it!) and I loved it, my husband too! The weather was amazing. We exchanged beautiful cards. Since my husband’s strength is not verbal expressions of love, he does it beautifully in written cards. And just to note, he has grown over the years to realize the value of loving words therefore he found a way that works for him: he expresses his love in cards. I’ve appreciated that growth.
On our last day in Vermont, we began biking another trail, not as lovely as the previous day’s trail, but we always love being on our bikes. At the beginning of the ride, we had a tense exchange. We recovered – a bit difficult to do so but we did. This was however the beginning of a day interlaced with minor tensions between us. We would recover and then a moment would appear again. I found the rest of the day, and the next day during our long drive home to be well – let’s just say they had their challenging moments.
The thing is, we spent every minute together. It was a road trip and we do love road trips. And let me say, most of it was wonderful. And yet, those minor annoyances had an impact on both of us. My husband’s occasional lack of patience, my worries, his forgetfulness, my occasional sensitivities, his occasional sensitivities, and, well, you get the picture.
In my moments of feeling annoyed, and irritated, I remembered and reflected on the last blog that I wrote. You know, the one when I was reminded of ‘missing the small day-to-day things’. And here I was, annoyed by the ‘small day-to-day things”!!!!!! And isn’t that the way life and relationships are – they are mixed with both valued moments and moments of irritations.
During my husband’s absence for six days, I learned about the value of silly day-to-day interactions and perhaps more importantly, a reminder of treasuring the time that we still have together. However, during our day-to-day time spent together during our road trip, I was reminded of minor day-to-day annoyances that happen on occasion as well. In my moment of awareness, I chuckled – what else could I do!
This is what I’ve concluded: all of the minor annoyances in relationships are inevitable. I’ve always known this to be true. However, I found it helpful (during my moments of irritation) to reflect back on all of the small day-to-day moments that I value in my marriage, the ones that I missed when he was away. It helped to shift my perspective.
I also recognize that during the road trip our relationship was very “up close and personal! Meaning that we didn’t have a minute apart from one another. Both of us love road trips and get along rather well. As is true for all relationships though, there are days when things just don’t click! I can think of a hundred reasons why things that he did or that I did seemed magnified for us – perhaps I was a bit tired or perhaps my husband was less patient with life than he normally is, I could go on and on naming all of the possibilities.
AND, I know that the moments when my husband is impatient and forgetful are moments that display his humanness. I don’t always like them but here’s the thing: it is these things about him that I choose to accept. I accept him. And I know that he accepts my quirks too. My moments of sensitivity or getting a bit too anxious about something, this is what displays my humanness.
Here is what I know: balance is the key to all of our relationships. Balance of time together and time apart, balance in reflecting on the positive and the challenges in one another, balance in how you show each other love, balance in how you take care of one another. For whatever reason, towards the end of our trip, both of us were ready for a small break from each other. Once we regained some balance by taking a bit of time alone, we were able to then enjoy a television show together in the evening. Those minor encounters were far behind us and now we are left with memories of a fun road trip together, with Chloe too!
As is also true for all relationships…..the learning never ends!
* * * * *
If you want to learn more about relationships – I wrote this for you “Ten Essential Things I’ve Learned About Marriage & Relationships” I’ve included the lesson that saved my marriage. I care about the work that I put out to you, and I hope you find it helpful. Let me know!
And you can keep up with my writing on relationships, random thoughts and more by subscribing here.
One more thing… I really would love for you to share your thoughts with me. It’s not easy to do, I understand because it took me a long time to work up the courage to begin blogging! But I want to get to know you. When you feel ready, please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section. And, if you would like me to blog about a specific topic – let me know!
If you think this blog will help a friend, please share it with them or share it on Facebook and Twitter!
Details of any stories told in my blogs have been changed to protect the identity of people that I work with in therapy.
Photo Credit: Doc Searls@ flicker.com
Photo Credit of Island Line Rail Trail: wngreenway.org
Photo Credit of Chloe: Me 😉Share