I’m super excited to welcome back my friend Chelsea to talk about the most universal experience ever: dealing with change! This is the post I wish I had four years ago when my “life plan” got turned on it’s head. Since then I’ve moved five times, dealt with numerous physical and mental health issues (most recently Crohn’s and hand surgery), got and lost my dream job (thanks budget cuts!), was home insecure, on food stamps, and underemployed, and decided to be a full time #girlboss. *whew*
The tips Chelsea shares are ones I learned the hard way, aka through fighting and tears and questioning, “Is this relationship even right?” Read it now and then bookmark or Pin it for those times when life feels overwhelming and exciting and terrifying and exhilarating and…well you know what I mean!
PS If you missed it, check out my post on her page all about pregnancy sex!
let’s face it – if we are living a full and satisfying life, our environments and circumstances should be changing every so often. that is part of growing and evolving as a person. this starts as we progress through the different levels of school, eventually our careers and the relationships with important people in our lives.
if we don’t change, we don’t grow. if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. – gail sheehy
what can make this even more complicated is when you are in a committed relationship with another human being. why is it important to call out that it is another human being? because – human beings have the capacity to analyze, panic, act irrationally, get excited and feel overwhelmed – all within the span of a minute. of course, i’m speaking from experience.
when my husband and i got back from our life-changing trip to antarctica at the end of last year, i brought back with me our own little penguin – in the form of an embryo! yes, i sit writing this 6 months pregnant and there are some insane changes happening to both my body and my relationship. on top of that, three months ago my husband and i relocated from our beloved city of portland, oregon back to my home state of colorado. oh and on the tip-top of that, my husband has traveled for work at least two or more days each week since we have moved.
i should probably be getting used to changes by now but as most of us can agree, it’s hard. i am happy to say i can cope with changes much better now than when my anxiety was spiraling out of control a few years ago but by no means is it a
waddle walk in the park. there are a few things that we practice within our marriage in order to continue loving and liking each other through these changes (i wouldn’t necessarily recommend a cross-country move in your first trimester but in case you’re in that truck – here are some tips)!
here are the top three things i recommend for dealing with change together:
1) express your needs
one of the biggest game changers in our relationship stems from this first point of expressing your needs. once my husband and i realized that neither of us are mind readers and we actually have to say out loud what we are needing or thinking – oh what a difference that has made!
change is stressful enough without having to guess what your partner is thinking/feeling/wanting. make a commitment to one another to speak your truth and to agree to say what you are needing. also know that these needs will forever be changing and moving. what you may have needed yesterday is not what you are needing now – that is normal and acceptable. for instance, yesterday i needed a strawberry-flavored pop-tart and today i need pineapple with chili peppers. sometimes these needs revolve less around food and more in terms of what you need in terms of space, attention or tasks to get done. remember, neither of you can get your needs satisfactorily met if you aren’t expressing them!
2) read a room
this is an add-on from the #1. if you or your spouse have been expressing certain needs and you aren’t paying attention to what was said previously – then you are not reading a room. my husband knows that an hour before we go to bed, i cannot talk about our business, money, deep philosophical theories or scary movies. i have said this, he knows this. if he were to start bringing up all the things we needed to get done before our move to a new state, i might simply say “read a room, bucko!” since he obviously wasn’t.
whether the big change that you are going through directly effects you both, it is pretty much guaranteed that everyone will feel it some way. during times of big shifts, pay special attention (and ask) when would be the best time to talk through things, take action and be intimate because if you aren’t paying attention to this, it will only makes things worse.
3) keep your sense of humor
this is vitally important. i almost put it as number one but i wanted it to stick in your brain so i opted for it to be the last on the list. handling big changes is stressful, which can often cloud the humor in many situations but absolutely strive to find it! when you can’t find it immediately, carve out time to watch line-o-ramas from your favorite comedies (‘bridesmaids‘ and ‘parks and rec‘ are some of my go-tos) on youtube or recall something that you both laughed at so hard your faces hurt.
laughter helps to dissipate tense situations and also pulls the two of you closer together. could i have freaked out that my husband totally almost knocked a sideview mirror off a car while he was driving the moving truck? yes. did we instead laugh hysterically at what could have happened? YES. world of difference. do we have moments of panic and freak outs about becoming parents? absolutely. however, most of the time we crack up about all the funny things we are going to tell our child about how the world works like, “don’t spin too many times in that chair, there are only so many spins in there!” or we laugh about if it’s possible to raise our child with an australian accent though neither of us do a very good one.
all of these things have worked time and time again for my husband and i when we are experiencing yet another big change in life and our relationship. we don’t always have control over the situation but we do have control about how we react, respond and interact with those around us so be conscious of being positive!
what types of things help you get through those inevitable life changes?