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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Relationships, parenting, and the first few years together--Part 2



Relationships, parenting, and the first few years together -- Part 2
In my last post, I wrote about some things that my husband and I have done to prioritize our relationship and set aside time to connect (or reconnect, depending on the day). 

Let me just reiterate that not only are we NOT perfect, but we argue just like everybody else. We also don’t always make our relationship a priority. Life gets to us, we get busy, irritated, tired, etc. That’s mainly why we’ve gravitated towards activities that are fun and also double as “me” time. 

I feel like I should also add this important disclaimer: my husband and I are not alike. The guy is like cheese from the moon while I love rules and obsess over cleanliness. We have very different interests, views and ideas about what “me” time means. “Me” time to him is a 6 pack and a dirt bike, while I prefer tea and crumpets. We find common ground though.  

I’m sharing this little tidbit because I know that we cannot possibly be the only couple who are not totally in sync with their interests.

YES, there is hope! 

I mentioned before that some of the things we enjoy are dirt biking, Saturday night fire pit dates, and dreaming about the future.

I have never been a dirt bike rider.  I got on my first bike when I was in my late 20’s and my husband (then boyfriend) and my brother ran alongside of me yelling directions that I didn’t understand.  I ended up being grossed out that I was wearing someone else’s sweaty, stinky helmet and irritated that I had traffic control blabbing in my ear. I never got on a dirt bike again... 

Until….. 

My son decided he wanted to start riding and my daughter quickly followed suit. Since I can’t possibly be the only person in our family who sits on the sidelines I was determined to figure this out! My husband bought me my first dirt bike and I was ready! He explained how to ride and I was ready to roll.  I’m not really sure what happened next but it ended with me lying on my side with my bike on top of me. To add insult to injury my husband and kids got to see the whole thing.

Don’t worry--I was fine other than my pride.  But, I worried that I shouldn’t let my kids see me suffer because I didn’t want them to be scared of their bike. So I kept trying and I finally got it!  I actually recently upgraded to a bike that is bigger and actually fits me and I love it!

Since my husband has been riding forever (and is now racing) he has been the driving force and coordinator of all of this. I think his only learning curve has been learning how to ride slowly to be able to ride with us!

We’ve gone on a few dirt bike “dates” and spent time out at the trails just between the two of us. It’s so much fun. I get to see my husband in his element and he gets to teach me about something that he loves. I genuinely love it too and it’s really fun to get comfortable doing something that was once so scary.

While I know that dirt biking may not be practical or even interesting for everyone, I’d suggest trying out a hobby together that you both can enjoy. I think there’s great bonding that happens during this time. It can be something that you both are learning together or an opportunity for one partner to teach the other something they love. More often than not, my husband goes alone, but the fact that we’ve created this commonality is really cool. I look forward to our time together and maybe one day I will be able to keep up! Ha!

But, dirt bike riding isn’t the only way we connect...

We also have created a little space in our backyard that is essentially a “kid free” zone. The kids are allowed but can’t keep their toys, make messes or otherwise leave evidence. On Saturday nights we try to have a little fire in our fire pit and a couple of beers. It’s relaxing and we both look forward to it. Most of the time we talk about just stuff--nothing incredibly important or even related to our relationship. The mood tends to be low key and we’ve had some of our best conversations in this spot.

There’s something about sitting around a fire and having a beer (or two)  that lends itself to open communication. There have been many  nights where we’ve taken out a pad of paper and brainstormed goals, how to get there and what our future will look like. It’s these moments that I love. It ends up becoming less about the product and more about the process. It’s fun to work together and talk about where we see ourselves in 2, 5 or 10 years. There’s something satisfying about setting a goal and working towards it with your partner. It creates an almost secret language that only we can understand.

Often we’re in sync, but sometimes we’re just not and that’s ok.

The bottom line is that we’re trying and we don’t plan on giving up.

What do you do to reconnect with your partner?  What strategies do you use when you aren’t seeing eye to eye on something? Do you feel that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to parenting?  Leave your answers in the comments!

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