Things We Do Together
As the years pass I have discovered that Kevin, and I have a very different relationship than most people. I have met so many women who count their husbands as "one of their children" or would rather spend time with their girlfriends than their partner. I have a really hard time understanding this mentality. You're in a relationship and yet don't spend anytime with them or find them a nuisance? This just makes me question why would you bother with the relationship at all?
I have always known what I wanted out of a relationship, even when I was 19. I knew I wanted respect, equality, and love, but I also had only seen a handful of relationships that exuded the qualities I was looking for. So beyond knowing some basic things, I had no idea how to build a relationship on that and very few examples on how to get there. For Kevin it was different. He grew up seeing a very different side of relationships than I. His immediate and extended family are full of people who exude kindness, love, and happiness without it feeling (or being) fake. You can literally see that his family enjoys being together, from the parents to the kids. I am not saying it's perfect 100% of the time and that there aren't issues but they are together because it's what they want. I loved being with his family even before we were dating, they were different and strange.
We spend a lot of time together and the things we do together haven't really changed when comparing the beginning stages of our relationship to a decade later. It's these things I want to talk about. They've helped us grow as a couple, as individuals, and are pretty core pieces of our relationship. These are things that we did before we were together and have grown into things we enjoy immensely shared.
One of the first animes Kevin introduced me to was Naruto and Bleach. Both are pretty good (though I recommend skipping the filler). But what really got me hooked was Elfin Lied. Elfin Lied is a super weird anime to like and yet it is one of my favorites. I had at one point a list of all the animes we had watched, it was over 100 and sadly though moves and document loss I no longer have it. We have spent many nights watching anime. Anime is very different from standard TV. The biggest is human dynamics, sure there is tons of drama but overall people are kind to each other, relationships are solid, these good guys and bad guys, and the lines are very defined usually. Watching shows together that emulate qualities you desired, I think it's healthy. At least when compared to reality TV shows where it's all about the individual's needs and wants and never about the group as a whole. Just my opinion though.
I have so many picture of us playing board games! In fact it is something we do so much that our engagement photos and wedding included elements of our favorite games. Mostly though we play crib (or cribbage, depending on what you call it). Crib allows us to have conversation while concentrating on something, so typically there's no awkward silences because you've nothing to say. It's also the easiest game to pull out and play easily with two people. Neither of us are very competitive and so board games work well (though I am pretty sure I win more games at crib than he does!). Board games also teach you how to strategize, cooperative games are the best for this. But even games where you play against one another work. It teaches you how the other person thinks, which is helpful when you are planning a life together. With the bonus of allowing for great conversation.
Kevin, like many from our generation, grew up playing video games. He has lots of memories going to blockbuster Friday night to rent a game and then using up his weekends to beat said game. I played some games, but it wasn't until I was sitting on the arm of a couch playing DOOM3 with Kevin watching me jump whenever something popped up that I got hooked. It's just fun to do together. Personal favorite being games we can play together while sitting on the couch, aka couch co-op. Similar to board games, working together through challenges as a way to destress is kinda awesome.
Recently I discovered that a few people I know don't sit down for meals with their partner. This also baffles me. Kevin and I have had so many discussions and have solved many of our problems over a shared plate of food. Food is a key part of everyone's life and sharing that together can be such an experience. I am a firm pursuer of minimal technology at dinner, though I am the worst for checking my phone! However, cooking is one of my least favorite things to do, so we have had to find a way to make this work that doesn't involve us eating out for all our meals. In our case it means being an expensive indoor grill was a priority. Kevin enjoys cooking but likes it simple with minimal ingredients and short time frames, a grill gives him that and I grocery shop with those food ideas in mind. I do still cook when I feel inspire too but the majority of what we eat is fresh, grilled, and yummy. It works for us, for others it might mean biting the bullet and getting a service like blue apron or taking turns cooking every other night. I am still amazed by how many people I know hate cooking and haven't figured out a way to make it work with their partner in a way that's best for them. There are ways of making the daunting task of food easier (and I highly recommend reading 7 Reasons to Cook with your Significant Other it puts the points way better than I ever could).
And a recently, reading
A year ago I got Kevin a subscription to audible and it's been an interesting spiral since then. I have been an avid reader my entire life, Kevin not so much. There have been times he's read and at one point we were reading development books for ten minutes every night before bed. It's just never been something he's enjoyed. Finding a medium that worked for him has drastically changed that. Now on his rides to and from work, he's listening to something. Sometimes that means he's in a middle of a chapter when he gets home and finishing a chapter (or book!) tends to win over spending our night doing something else. The interesting part is how audible has changed a few things for us. Our Sunday drive used to just be music and depending conversation. Now we are purposely seeking out books that evoke conversation and thought. Undeniable by Bill Nye, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and most recently So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Though to be fully honest we have been plowing through books while playing Stardew Valley... Reading has always been a favorite past time of mine. Kevin has always been supportive of it, but it is nice to fully share that together.
And I think that's the purpose of this post. A relationship is about being with a person who makes you more excited about the things you already love. I am saddened when I discover that some people don't have this in their life.