Today, you get to meet Cynthia and Rik.
October 28, 1989
What makes your relationship work so well?
We think it comes down to two things: communication and respect.
We are always talking to each other. About the events and minutiae of the day of course, and also about what we are thinking and feeling, what we want, what we are worrying about, our views on what’s happening around us, all of it. We love road trips for many reasons and one is that it gives us time to communicate deeply while we drive. Most of the arguments we’ve had over the years have resulted from a miscommunication. Our communication is not perfect after nearly 30 years, but it’s pretty darn good. All the practice helps!
We also respect one another. We are always keeping the other in mind. We know what makes the other happy, and where those hot buttons are. We don’t agree on everything, but we respect differences of opinion and work to come to consensus or compromise.
We are each other’s best friend, but we aren’t tied together. We give each other space and opportunity to pursue separate interests and spend time and energy with others. And that also gives us new things to bring back and talk about on that next road trip!
What relationship advice would you offer others?
Be open and be understanding. Share what you expect, both to give and to get, in your relationship. Listen to your partner. Really listen. Make sure they feel heard. You likely won’t agree with everything they say or think, but you can listen and be understanding of them.
Assume good intent when you don’t immediately understand why they have said or done something, then communicate and seek to understand.
Be your true self with your partner. Let your guard down. This is risky, but worth it. When you can just be yourself, without having to worry about how you’ll be received, it’s the most comfortable feeling.
Hold your partner’s hand, and look into their eyes. Tell them you appreciate them. Say “I love you,” and mean it.
Be silly. Be stupid. Have jokes no one else will understand, and may never hear. What works for us is going to bed at the same time and spending copious amounts of time together.