This Tuesday my beautiful niece Emily made her early appearance into this world. I had saw her briefly hours after she was born and was excited to return that evening with Rob to see him love on his new niece.
We were rushing to get there and we were trying to make it to through downtown during an NHL Jets game, stop at a random Starbucks, then go to the hospital. I entered the hospital’s address and let the GPS woman tell us where to go.
That is when my phone glitched and the GPS lady started telling us the wrong directions… And then we got lost and something happened for the first time in our relationship: we yelled at each other. Not only did we yell, we yelled for about two minutes about figuring out where the heck we were going. Neither one of us are yellers and that was the one of the most stressful fights of our relationship.
Then we both got really quiet for two minutes. As we arrived at the hospital we stopped and stared at each other and shared a long kiss (sorry for the sappy details) then talked. We talked about that this was not okay for us. We talked about how we never wanted to be comfortable speaking that way to each other. We talked about how we never wanted to model that behaviour for our future children and show them that was the appropriate way to communicate with others.
The more I think about it the more I realize what the major cancer in relationships can be: familiarity. It erodes a relationship from the inside out. We take the person we once found extraordinary and begin to treat them ordinary. We give ourselves permission to yell, demean, and be disrespectful to each other. We stop “dating” the one we love and treat them more as a roommate than a life partner.
One habit Rob and I have adopted (that is extremely uncomfortable) is we hindsight analyze every fight or disagreement but not each other’s actions but our own. It can be painful to turn the mirror on ourselves and see our own flaws. It can be humbling to admit that I was disrespectful or said something hurtful out of anger. As uncomfortable as it is, it is necessary so we don’t become “that couple”. It is necessary so we don’t begin to take each other for granted or create deep wounds that take years to heal.
Rob and I are not perfect but I married someone who makes me better, inspires me, and loves me unconditionally. When you find that love of your life it is worth every step to protect it even if it is stopping to defuse the situation by being the first to admit fault and sharing a passionate kiss.