Friday, February 14, 2014

Why We Work

Today, I'm linking up with The Daily Tay and Life of Bon to talk about this crazy little thing called love. But first, as always, allow me to ramble my way into it...

Last night, I went to a discussion on modern romance hosted by comedian Aziz Anzari and NYU professor of Sociology, Eric Klinenberg. Going in, I had no real idea what to expect. I had applied through Aziz's website a while back when they were looking for folks in committed relationships to participate in some sort of conversation. I figured it was a long shot, which is why my brain did a little irish jig upon receiving an email that said I had been selected. I was asked not to bring my significant other, so instead, I brought a significant someone else: my beautiful friend, Lauren.

Lauren and I gal-ing it up on GALentine's before the discussion began

At the top of the show, Aziz worked on some of his new material with all of us, and no surprises here, I was in absolute stitches. That man is such a treasure. From there, he invited Klinenberg to the stage to help facilitate a conversation with the audience. I won't get into the details of the discussion here since it will likely be used for their future projects, but let me just say that it was lively, hilarious, thought-provoking, and generally very respectful. A lot of the topics brought up didn't specifically pertain to my relationship (I haven't been single since I was sixteen years old, so I am not so familiar with the intricacies of modern dating). Because of this, I never added my two cents at any point, but it was seriously fascinating to listen to people working out what it means to be in a committed relationship at this stage in life. 

But of course, I'd still love to give you my insight, if that's okay. 

If you are a reader of this blog, you know my stance on romantic relationships, particularly of the marital variety -- overwhelmingly PRO. My husband and I have been married for two years, dated six years before that, and we are genuinely pumped by the idea of riding this old marriage train to its last stop ("last stop" being a fun euphemism for death, by the way). 

"Here we go!"

So while we are pretty jazzed about the whole marital concept, the question still remains: why exactly do Daniel and I "work"?

The truth is, we don't, or rather, we shouldn't. In many ways, our most stand-out qualities are totally at odds with each other. 

He's easy-going. 
I'm a Queen Victoria-level control-freak. 
I'm an introvert (frustrated with being mistaken for an extrovert). 
He's an extrovert (with the sometimes-appearance of an introvert). 
He's a science teacher.
I once (regrettably) told my 7th grade science teacher that her class was a waste of my time. 
He eats cottage cheese...just, like, on its own. not...because that's disgusting. 

We are different in so many ways, but it's mostly the compatible kind of different -- the kind which strengthens the other person in an area where they might feel lacking. I once described this concept of compatibility to someone as "filling each other's holes." This individual looked at me with an embarrassed expression, and then I took a beat and said, " Wait. Forget I said that."

So instead, think of it as filling each other's...cracks? Gaps? Gaps. There, that's better. Nailed it.

To give an example of this: Daniel's patience is a powerful antidote to my anxiety. His calm demeanor is like someone holding up a mirror to all of my life's overreactions. On the other side of things, according to Daniel, I help him see the world -- and particularly his relationships -- differently because of my sensitivity to the people around me. No big thang.

But if our relationship is a time piece then all of these little, happy differences are just the screws and cogs, but they are not what make the whole thing function. I think (and Daniel agrees. We talk about this a lot.) that the most basic thing that makes us "work" is the fact that we are profoundly FOR each other. My dreams are Daniel's dreams, and his are mine. We want, in a very real way, for the other person to have a wonderful life even to the point of setting aside our pride (sometimes). 

And I don't actually think this makes us very unique. This is probably the trademark quality of a lot of relationships. I've been observing this recently while watching the Olympics (a thing I never would have done without Daniel, by the way). There a lot of things I love about the Olympics, but I particularly appreciate watching the faces of moms and spouses moments before their favorite person in the world prepares to hurl themselves down a snowy mountain. There is that look of anticipation, joy, fear, but most of all, belief. 

That's honestly how I feel every day with Daniel -- like I'm on the sidelines of the most important figure skating routine of his life (just kidding, he would obviously do the louge), and all I can do is hold up some ridiculous, homemade sign and pray he doesn't die.

Yana Plushenko cheering on her hubs, Evegni, in the classiest way she knows how. (via)

And simultaneously, he's in my corner too freezing his ass off, willing me to land that triple axel. 

Or maybe we're pairs skaters. I don't know. This metaphor is falling apart.

But you get my point. We believe in each other. We are each other's biggest fans. 

Oh, and also, we're super into each other. That should not be overlooked in all of this because being fans of each other is not enough. I should know because I used to be Kevin Richardson's biggest fan, and now if I saw that guy walking down the street, I'd probably just keep on walking. Admiration for each other does not make up for broken expectations, moments when we essentially fail each other. That's a thing that really happens in marriage, and it's the scary part that makes a lot of people walk away. 

But love trumps all of our conditions -- the ones we all say we don't have for each other, but really we do. Love ushers in forgiveness, understanding, and joy. Daniel and I work because we really love each other.

And all of the joyful things of marriage after that just become bonuses. Watching Planet Earth together before bed, making fajitas, Daniel's ability to cheer me up instantly by saying "I'll sweep...I'll sweep the floor!" -- all of these things don't necessarily make us work, but they do make us awesome.

And speaking of awesome, here are some fantastically awkward pictures of Daniel and I back in the day:

Daniel, the first week I met him. At the time, this was the most beautiful person I had ever seen in my entire life. I mean, he still is, but I'm now partial to the updated version.

Sneaking a selfie circa 2005, a month before we started dating and before selfies were even called selfies.

And here's a more recent selfie of us for comparison.

What makes your relationship work? Let me know in the comments section, or write a post of your own and link it up!


  1. How funnn that you got to hang out with Aziz Ansari! Awesome, awesome.

    I think that when my marriage is at its best (we all have our off days, am I right?), my husband and I are firmly on the same team, moving toward the same goal. And I think we both do our best to try to help the other to achieve our individual hopes and dreams. I'm in a bit of a career transition now, and things are very very uncertain, but my husband is my biggest cheerleader, and I am so thankful for that.

    And I also hate cottage cheese. Yick.

  2. Such a great post. I really loved reading it and I just love your writing style. It had me laughing but also had a serious and positive message. Just loved it!

  3. That is so sweet sounds like yall are perfect for one another!!!!

  4. Y'all were and are total cuties. Also, as someone who's only been married half a year but has been with my husband for 10 years/also hasn't been single since 15 years old, I agree with everything you've said. I'm a messy person, Jason's a neat freak; I have zero cooking skills, he has a ton; I'm passionate about anything/everything, he is much more calm/neutral. These things help us balance out with each other and I'm blessed every day by that.

  5. I love this post! So sweet and you guys compliment each other well. I always love a good throwback picture!

  6. Ummm I'm sorry but I'm just having a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that YOU'D JUST WALK BY A BACKSTREET BOY????!?!!!
    I thought we were kindred spirits. Now I know I was wrong.

  7. This is an awesome post. You write in a way that's fun to read!

  8. Loved this! First -- soo jealous you were able to see Aziz Ansari perform. I listen to his stand-up all the time with a little help from spotify, and was so excited to see he was coming to chicago, but not so excited upon finding out ticket prices. Anywho, loved reading about you guys! You two seem like such an awesome couple. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. loved this post! totally identified with much of what you were saying-particularly that he's the calm to your anxiety! i'm excited about riding this out to the 'last stop' as well :)

  10. Hi there! I was so happy to see your comment on my post! The panel was so much fun. I feel very similarly about relationships (very "PRO" as you say), and you write so beautifully about your relationship with Daniel! I'll definitely be following your blog :) Have a great day!



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