Even though I enjoyed school, it was intense and I never realized how much it weighed me down. I woke up in the morning and spent the full day in classes, Connor would pick me up after work at 5 or 6, we would go home to make dinner, clean up, then the rest of the evening I would work on homework then go straight to bed. Some weekends we had free time to spend together, and we tried to enjoy the occasional evening tv show before bed, but there wasn’t a whole lot more. We were simply surviving. Working hard to make it through. Things weren’t bad. We still enjoyed each other’s company, we still sometimes cooked dinner together, we still loved each other. We just didn’t always go above and beyond.
After graduating from college, I found that Connor and my relationship took a huge turn for the better. Not that things weren’t good in the first place, (because they definitely were!) but things changed. The weight of the world and all the stress that had accumulated over four years of school, it all was gone instantly. I felt so incredibly happy, and those emotions totally rubbed off onto our relationship. I enjoyed free time throughout the day for both myself and for Connor. We started going on adventures and we had time to watch movies at home and go on dates. The stress from school no longer carried into my home life, and you could tell.
So, this all may raise the questions: What if you are still stressed from work/school? What if you don’t have time to go on dates or spend time together? How can I manage to make my relationship better? Well, I can’t answer this for everyone, but what I am learning is this — make time. Make time for yourself, your friends, your family, your spouse. There is always going to be work to do, no matter how much you get done in a day. FYI, I am not saying to quit your jobs or school or slack and not get anything done. I AM saying to find time by cutting out unnecessary things, less internet surfing, or maybe the house can wait to be cleaned for a few days. For me, I realized that instead of working on homework until the very minute before bed, I should have stopped an hour or two early, at least some nights. No matter how many hours I worked, I still had a lot to do at the end of the semester, but I always managed to finish everything on time. Whatever it may be, in the end, the last thing you should sacrifice is your relationship.
Since moving to Colorado and starting new jobs, etc, we are still trying to incorporate these lessons into our lives. It is a process you have to work at. It is really easy to split off into our own Facebook and phone worlds, but we have been continuously planning activities to do as well. They don’t have to cost money, and there doesn’t need to be a reason to have a special date night. Sometimes we do simple things like going on a hike, and sometimes we spend a little money to go out for dinner, or go rock climbing, or something new and fun. We are making time for each other, and we will continue to do this even as our lives get busy. No relationship is perfect. So far, my favorite thing about being newlyweds has been going through things together, learning these lessons and growing from them, consistently working to strengthen what we already have, even by the smallest and simplest things. To thrive.