I know the heartache, the longing, the waiting that comes with long distance relationships. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. But I also know that it's best to know where the relationship is going and what that would look like. In fact, 70% of long distance relationships that don't plan for change, fail. It's a sad fact, but there's just so much to consider. And if you end up marrying that person, the reality is that someone will have to move and you DEFINITELY want to be on the same page with them.
Ryan and I fall into that tiny little margin that I mentioned earlier, but we also make up probably an even smaller group of couples: long distance before marriage, and then working with each other at the same job once married. So picture this if you will. Imagine being 1,000 miles away from the person you adore, for 2.5 years, then you marry them, and within in a year and a half, you are working 10 steps away from them in an office 4+ days a week.
Some couples can never imagine working with their spouse, and others do it with what seems to be completely no effort (i.e. TV Magic: Chip & Joanna Gaines, lol). I can tell you that I never expected to work with my husband, so I didn't exactly know how to handle it. Everyone sees this goofy, passionate, logical, talented, constantly hungry guy that is Ryan. Which really, all those qualities are true. People ask me, "Is he like this at home?" I reply with "Pretty much." But do you ever notice when you get married that all your spouses qualities some how become stronger and more noticeable as you live with them and spend more time doing life with them? And look, before you think I'm just throwing Ryan under the bus, the same goes for me! Most people see my organized, chill, note-taking, question-asking, cello-playing self. I am all those things, but again, both my positive and negative qualities can come out when someone spends more time with me. Just ask my boss, he may wanna add in a few other crazy qualities that I forgot to list. Lol.
What I'm getting at is, living with your spouse after marriage can turn up your sensitivity and cause you to see the qualities of your spouse in stronger ways that are hard to handle. On the flip side, you can also see some amazing and beautiful qualities come out in them as well! But add another level of life, such as working with them, spending even MORE time with them, and you can click the sensitivity up like 5 more notches.
I have had my moments with Ryan at work. And you have to understand our work environment isn't even the typical office environment! Another unique thing about our life. We work at a church. He and I are the only ones working in the office during the week other than Pastor Marvin, our lead pastor.
In the past, our co-worker and friend, Jason, was a bit of a buffer between me and Ryan. He shared an office with Ryan, and only by the grace of God are they friends, 'cause they are nothing alike! Hahaha. But either way, Ryan would share most of his antics and thoughts on the job with Jason. Now that it's just me and Ryan...well, let's just say my little social butterfly husband is looking for someone else to shoot the breeze with at work.
My personality at work can be rather cold with Ryan, I must admit. I'm typically very task oriented and my demeanor isn't super welcoming when Ryan walks into my office. But it wasn't until recently that Ryan and I discussed our work relationship. I tend to be overbearing and controlling, and frankly bossy to Ryan at work. Guilty (raises hand). But we learned it goes both ways. I gotta be less serious, and Ryan has to give me space. You may be disappointed with how our work relationship is, but honestly, it's best for our marriage. We both have our strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes we bulldoze over the other person with our personalities in ways that aren't healthy. Ryan and I are diligently working towards being balanced not only in our marriage and personal life, but also at work.
Whether you've been married 4 years,like us,or 40 years, I think you always want to continually renew the love you have for your spouse. That looks different as you pass through different seasons, but you have to stop and evaluate your life sometimes. Just last week I was going through some papers and I found some loose notebook pages I had saved. It read at the top 'Life Check-Up.' It covered different areas such as finances, emotional health, physical health, goals, potential projects, potential purchases, etc.
If you feel like your marriage needs a little evaluating here are some of the questions we decided to ask the other person (afterwards we read each other's answers out loud). This totally brought us up to speed on where the other person was at and what we both needed to work on.
- What are your 5 love languages. List them in order of importance to you in how you receive love. Also give examples!
- What do you need more of from your spouse?
- What goals do you have for marriage in the next 6 months?
- What areas of life do you want to be more excellent at?
- How can your spouse help you become more excellent in those areas?
- How would you rate your date life with your spouse (1 being the worst, 10 being the greatest)?
- How could you make it better?
- Name 5 things you wanna do before the end of the year.
- Name 3 couples you want to have dinner with in the next 3 months.