My twenties gave me a lot of experience with short relationships.
Long ones? Not so much. (Prior to Joe, my record was nine months.)
And I’m getting married in September—exactly 50 days from today. Joe and I are going to exchange our vows at Cape Perpetua, the highest point on the Oregon coast, 800 ft above the Pacific, bordered by the Siuslaw forest.
We’ve been together almost three years, and between living in South Korea, backpacking through India, getting engaged in Chicago, moving to Portland—a city neither of us had been to—and doing four months of long distance (I moved back to Canada last March, until mid-July) while undergoing our K1 visa process, it feels like we’ve been through a pretty diverse range of experiences in a relatively short amount of time. Joe’s seen me at my best, and definitely at my worst. (Standing on an Indian train platform the morning after a claustrophobic and slightly terrifying ride through the night, near tears because I can’t find a bathroom, isn’t me at my best, I promise.)
If the foundation for a life-long partnership includes total honesty, a willingness to be vulnerable in front of each other, testing your adaptability and communication in extreme environments, and figuring out how to work together as a team, then I think we’ll be standing on solid ground as we promise to support, listen to, and love each other for the long haul.
I’m curious, though—what’s it like at the five-year, ten-year, and onward mark? In what ways do relationships change, evolve, get harder, get easier? And how do you keep connected throughout?
Luckily, a group of gurus, also known as my girlfriends, have shared their relationship wisdom…
In early July, a crew of 15 of us (plus one of my closest guy friends) gathered for a weekend on Vancouver Island to hang out and celebrate my upcoming marriage. Melissa scouted out a house near the beach, and we rented it for two days and two nights, barbecuing, floating on the lake, competing in ridiculous obstacle courses, toasting with champagne, white wine, and micro-brews, playing (tipsy) badminton, feasting on fish, fresh salads, cheese, and french toast, and diving into a serious trivia game that Leah created, with very specific questions like, “What was the name of the restaurant in Melbourne that Courtney used to play her guitar at?”
Honestly, the entire weekend was filled with nothing but love. It was amazing.
A lot of these women have been in relationships for several years. I look up to them for their experience, and was excited to gain some extra insight into their secrets of keeping happy and strong in long-term love.
So they put a book together for me.
It’s full of photos, sweet notes, recipes (which I’ll be sharing on the blog) and their top relationship tips. Goldmine! Here are the highlights…
Relationship Wisdom from my Ladies:
♥ Marriage + Love = communication, give + take, shared passions, regular sex, and laughter
♥ Love is a living thing, so remember to nurture it and it will grow and grow
♥ Hold tight through the peaks and valleys
♥ Invite friends and family to fill some of your needs
♥ Never stop doing the little things that show your love and appreciation. Write little notes, plan a special dinner
♥ Remember to balance your lives with others
♥ Always make time for date night, laughter, good food and wine, friends, long walks at night time, and travel to sunny beaches
♥ Recipe for Marriage: Laughter
♥ To have a love that feels like home wherever you are is magic. Say connected and stay gentle with one another because your friendship is what will see you through
♥ Love is a deepening, and awakening, an opening–dive in!
♥ Writing love letters is a beautiful idea…you don’t need to be apart, just write love notes or haikus–and write them in ink
♥ 2 cups communication, 1 cup passion, 1 cup empathy, liberally sprinkle laughter through all your days and nights
♥ Commit–that’s what it takes!
♥ Do what you love, laugh at what you find funny, take the risks you find necessary, and believe you can achieve whatever you think is possible
♥ “Let the minds of the heavens dance between you. let there be spaces between you. and let the spaces be filled with love”–Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
♥ “Believe in one another, even when it seems impossible” (source unknown)
Isn’t that a wonderful list? I feel like it’s the kind of thing I could come back to again and again over a lifetime, understanding the points more deeply each time. The most common advice seems to be laughter…what an awesome guiding light.
Thank you again so much to everyone who came, and to Gaeli, whose idea it was, and who was there with us in spirit.
What are your relationship tips? I would love to add to the list, and it would be so cool to see what your insights are, with readers from all over. Please feel free to share in the comments below!
p.s. Thank you to all of you who have subscribed to the blog recently. I am so happy to have you here.