Luke and I have spent some time talking about our relationship, things we can do to improve it, and things we can do to build a solid foundation that will take us through the rest of our lives. There seems to be one underlying thread every time we talk about what we need to be together forever (plus three days).
Last week, we had lunch in our office kitchen, which we do every day, and one of my colleagues came in while Luke was loading our dishes into the dishwasher. "Is that what the boss makes you do at home?" he said, jokingly. He went on to give us a glimpse into his home life, mentioning one of what' he considers to be his wife's annoying habits, calling her a "lazy cow". I couldn't even believe it! Luke has said guys at work are all just talk and trying to impress each other all the time. But trying to impress each other by disrespecting their wives is something that I can't understand.
After my colleague left the kitchen, Luke and I talked briefly about what had just happened. Like every young couple madly in love, we promised each other we would never get to the point when we would be so careless with our words toward each other. Later, when we were stuck in traffic on the way home, we talked about it again. I told him that I've noticed in recent months that when I'm annoyed with him and I want to vent about it to someone, I find myself toning things down and choosing my words very carefully in times when I would embellish and make it more dramatic and theatrical in the past, about other people. We promised each other we wouldn't get to that point, but not without understanding that it's going to take work and be a conscious choice every single day.
That's not to say we're perfect. That's not to say we respect each other every second of every day. Sometimes we communicate poorly. Sometimes we snap at each other. Sometimes we ignore each other in favour of our screens. We're pretty good about calling each other out on it, communicating how we feel, and apologising after the fact. But one thing we try really hard to be conscious and aware of at all times is the words we use to talk about one another to other people. We're not about portraying that we have the perfect relationship and no problems, but we also feel that it's unfair, unnecessary, and uncalled for to drag each other's names through the mud just to blow off some steam to our friends or confidants, not to mention to try to impress someone.
We've all ready plenty of books or articles or blog posts or Instagram captions or tweets about the key to a healthy relationship and a happy marriage. There are a million different answers out there. But from what I've seen, it all boils down to r e s p e c t. If you respect one another, then you care about how you treat one another and the rest will come. That probably means work and that aforementioned conscious choice every single day. But you chose this person for a reason. If you wouldn't call that person a lazy cow in your proposal or your proposal acceptance, why would you 20 years later? Things might be different and things might look different, but words still hurt the same.
Sure, I realise that not everyone wants relationship advice from someone who's been married for four months. (Though, you are reading my blog so you must care what I think even a little.) But maybe it's not a bad thing to think back to how you felt about your person four months in.
Header Photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.