In relationships, as with all things in life, there are ebbs and flows. High tides, and low tides. Good days, and bad days. Seasons of joy, and seasons of sorrow.
Sometimes you can be in one of these seasons/tides/days and not even realize it.
This year has been busy. Very busy. For the most part it has gone really well for James and I, especially after we implemented the 1 day off per week rule. But with all the travel we had been doing over the past 6 weeks, taking a day off during the week felt impossible when we weren’t able to tackle any in-office work over the weekends. We were traveling 2-3 days, and after meetings and other sessions during the week – only had a day or two in the office to catch up on emails/editing and the million other things that demand our attention for the business.
Long story short – our days off turned into A NIGHT off (if that) once a week.
I know… shame on us. Well… really, shame on me. It was more me than James if I’m being honest. I was overwhelmed with editing and he knew it – so he reluctantly agreed to let me keep working instead of taking some time to enjoy each other’s company.
It should come as no surprise then that after a couple weeks of work/travel/work/travel and no time off together that we were on edge with each other. It wasn’t constant – but it was enough to become noticeable after a while. As with most days – we had good moments and not so good moments… but the not so good moments were becoming more common, more noticeable, and more prevalent. We weren’t helping each other out. We were each on our own team instead of on one team… “Team Tyler”, as we like to say.
It felt like it was James vs. Christy, not Christy + James.
I’m sure those of you in a relationship know this feeling. One person asks for a favor, for help, for anything, and the other denies it. Instead of looking out for each other, we were battling each other. I suppose it wasn’t as bad as it sounds in the paragraphs above – but it was enough that we felt on edge. We weren’t holding hands enough. We weren’t being sweet to each other. We weren’t always taking time to kiss each other goodbye.
I know those seem like small things – but all added up it feels really wrong when you’re used to being ridiculously (& annoyingly to those around you) in love. Of course we’d have our great moments when we were lucky enough to enjoy a little time off on weekends when we were at friends’ weddings. (Like Lana & Jon’s, and this past weekend at Sarah & Jeff’s) But if one of us did something that upset the other (something that we would normally be able to brush off) it felt like we went right back to square one… distant, irritated, and wishing we could just have a month long vacation to sit, talk, and get life together…. to get US together.
Then something changed. There was a shift in the air. (I do believe it was James’ doing…) But we realized that when you get in a cycle of battling, instead of a cycle of giving/serving each other… things can get ugly really quickly. And so we made a change. (Well, James did without telling me about it… but I noticed pretty quickly.)
On Wednesday, instead of battling, he was going out of his way to do anything and everything he could to make sure I was taken care of and happy. (I should note that he is normally a fabulous husband, but this was above and beyond the call of duty.) He took so many things off my plate that I was stressing about… I suppose I could list everything – but that is besides the point. The point is he offered to help all day long in every aspect possible, and he did it all with a genuine smile on his face.
After weeks of battling each other, I couldn’t help but think – What got into my husband?!
I soaked it all in and realized that the nicer he was to me – the nicer I wanted to be towards him. By the end of the day we were both helping each other, smiling more, and happy to be taking care of the other. It’s an amazing thing how you can flip a cycle of battling into a cycle of serving & caring – just like that. James mentioned later that night that he realized we had just gotten into an ugly cycle of being frustrated with each other and that it needed to change… so he made the change. He didn’t talk to me about it – he just acted. And within minutes of seeing his actions – I followed suit.
I know it isn’t easy to stay this way forever, and that inevitably our spouses will get on our last nerve at some points in life… but I truly hope we can continue on this cycle of serving and caring instead of where we had been for a few weeks.
So for those of you who are feeling the ebbs and flows of marriage or relationships – I encourage you to be the change you want to see in your relationship. You’ll be happy you did.
(please excuse the crappy Instagram pic… haha.)
See you all on Monday! We’re heading out to shoot Sarah & Seth’s wedding in Milwaukee today!! YAY!