We were at the family party a couple of weekends ago, and on the way home, Riley was telling us that one of his favorite parts of the day was getting to sit around the fire with his cousins.
Riley said, "Deon made a comment that was strange. He asked if something happened with my mom and dad. I said, no. Why? And Deon said, 'because they seem happier than they've ever been before. Like, what changed, what happened?'"
Riley said, "I have no idea."
So Stew was driving and I was in the passenger seat, and Stew said, "Nothing happened. I don't love her any more, and I don't love her any less than I always did. It's all the same."
I didn't say anything. I just let him have his thought.
And I got to thinking about the level of love that we experience in our relationships. I do feel like Stew and I are happier than we've ever been and we're in a good place in our relationship. And I realized that what changed was ME. It wasn't my love for Stewart being more or less or any different. It was my love for myself. And I've done a lot of work over the last 10 years to get to a place where I deeply love and appreciate myself. All of me, the flaws and all. And this was such a cool opportunity to see what sometimes isn't that tangible in terms of work that we've done on ourselves.
And then I never thought anything more of it. Until...
Last night, Dion reached out to me. We were messaging back and forth about something. And he said, "I noticed that you and Uncle Stew are the happiest I've ever seen you".
And then he added, "Keep that shit up".
And I thought, yeah, that's cool.
Then he asked for pointers and this is what I told him:
1. Truly show up in the relationship. Be yourself, love yourself, and work on your relationship with yourself first. Then work on the relationship between the two of you.
2. When you have little ones still in the house, communication is the key.
3. Do not lose yourself in the relationship. I have to admit, that's a mistake that I made. I lost myself in the relationship. (I'll talk another time about the big power struggles that Stew and I have had).
Dion said that he thought it was because the kids had all left and we had more time to ourselves. I told him that technically, not all the kids have left. I was an empty nester for about three months.
I told him what it really comes down to is this -- we were friends before we ever got married. And right now we do have more time for us and our relationship. It's kind of fun to rekindle that friendship.
Now it's your turn. I want to know -- did any of this resonate with you and what would be relationship advice...
- for improving the relationship you have with yourself, or...
- for improving the relationship you have with a significant other or your children or any of your relationships?
What advice would you give someone if they asked you, "Hey, how do you make it work?"
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!