Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Ways to Grow in a Relationship

I was catching up on old WeddingBee posts that I completely missed during Christmas/car wreck mania, when I came across this post by Miss Prarie Dog. She calls it 10 Ways to Reveal the Crazy, but I like my title better :p

I think she has a really great point about it though. You can think that you're being yourself all you want, but your significant other knows who you are when you're happy. He/she needs to know who you are and what you're like when you're not happy. How you fare under the worst conditions - kind of a "expect the best, be prepared for the worst" scenario. We've been together for 5 1/2 years. That's longer than almost all of our friends (married or not). We've gone through a lot, and it's made us who we are today. Each of these things is completely and totally different for every couple, but I really do think you need to experience them.

The List (with our own personal annotations):
1. Get really, really lost in an area you don’t know. Preferably away from intelligible signs and possibly safety. Florida. We drove to Disney without a map or GPS. We argued for about 3 hours trying to get into Disney World, AFTER we got to Kissimee. We're both very hard headed. Despite that, we still had a great time!
2. Wait in a really, really long line (recommendations: amusement park, Christmas Eve shopping, Harry Potter midnight showing). Too many to count for this one. But I think we really learn the most about each other.
3. Get stuck in inexplicable, stand-still traffic. Bonus points if you are hungry or one of you really has to pee. I don't do hungry. I'm a very happy person, but when I get hungry, it's immediate - not gradual - and I turn into a B*tch.
4. Have a restaurant experience worthy of a scathing Yelp review. (How people react to poor service says a lot about them, I think.) We've been fortunate to generally miss this one, but I'm sure we've been forgotten about before.
5. Deal with being sick together. Not sniffles sick. I’m talking flu and incoherent-fever sick, post-surgical-delirium sick, stomach-pyrotechnics sick. Christmas. Three years in a row. The first year we dated, he held my hair back as I retched at Grandpa's. Last year, we were both so sick with food poisoning that we couldn't even open presents. Awful.
6. Meet each other’s extended families, the ones that won’t be on their “good behavior” like your nuclear family might be. I believe the conversation included an argument as to whether or not my uncle's vasectomy meant he was "fixed" or "broken". I'm not kidding.
7. Get embarrassed in front of each other. I don’t embarrass easily, but I have had a few bright-red-face moments with Mr. PD. This doesn't happen very often, thankfully.
8. Experience tragedy—real, gut-wrenching tragedy. Not that I would wish this upon anyone, but the truth is that it happens to all of us. Patty's death was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through. Sean was there when I found out, he was by my side at the wake and funeral, and he's held me while I've cried dozens of times since then. Even though it's been 3 years, I still break down every once in a while. It's nice to know he's always there.
9. Spend a fair amount of time apart. Not like a long-distance relationship, necessarily, but a good week or two at a time. Chances are good that this will happen for one reason or another in your lives together, and it’s good to see how you fare on your own. K, so we've done the long distance part. But since we've moved to our own city, we've done a week apart. It's a lot harder when you don't have friends and roommates, that's for sure.
10. Experience any situation which compromises your sleep and/or cleanliness. Camping trips, road trips, band trips - you name it. 

When you think about it, it's really about spending the worst of your time together. How you make the best out of an awful situation. I think we've survived. 

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