Changing Relationships

So here I am on Monday morning, awake at 3am…not sure why I can’t sleep…I’m not upset or anything, but I woke up with a thought and I felt I wanted to use the time to write about it.  The thought was that you could take your current relationship and plop it into an RV and live your life or you could use this lifestyle as a catalyst for change.  Any couple that is solid and stable enough to stay the same through this process, more power to you, but we are finding that the change in scenery is  also changing our relationship. The thought doesn’t upset me, and despite the evidence to the contrary it doesn’t keep me up at night, because as Lee says, the change is an organic one and at least for us it’s part of this whole process.  We started all of this by recognizing that being empty nesters was barreling down on us and we needed to make some changes as a couple to survive that.  I’m serious about that…despite being married for 25 years, knowing each other since we were 14 and 16, and truly liking each other, we both saw the handwriting on the wall so to speak that because we had drifted apart if we didn’t take steps to remedy that we would eventually be in trouble.  Neither of us are people who settle in life.  We both want and even demand high levels of quality in our relationships, each other, our work situations, our children etc.  It doesn’t make us easy people and we certainly weren’t easy parents, but I think that this desire for excellence comes from the right place.   We want to be better and have always demanded as much from ourselves as we have from others.

So we knew we would never be the couple that stay married and just sort of tolerate each other.  I can see how people drift into that, though.  Once the kids are gone and financial pressure lessens, and life in general gets easier, it’s nice, and you don’t want to rock the boat.  You relax a bit, get complacent, and then next thing you know you stop working at your relationship.  As all things without change, the marriage gets stagnant and ultimately the people themselves get stagnant or they go looking outside the marriage for what they are not finding within it.  We’ve all seen it and many of us have experienced it, so Lee and I were acutely aware of what could happen and decided in advance we wanted to do what we could to head it off at the pass. There are lots of reasons people start full-time RVing.  The desire for adventure, wanting to live with less rules, the need for simplicity in their life, there are a myriad of reasons.  But for me the absolute number one reason was a desire to strengthen my marriage.  Let me be absolutely clear here…we were not in trouble.  Things were good, probably better than they have ever been for us, but as I said I could see down the path of what could be and since absolutely nothing is more important to me than my relationship with my husband, I wanted to do everything I could to give us the best chance possible.

It’s interesting because this lifestyle was a huge risk.  It has put levels of pressure on our marriage that we haven’t felt since we were very young adults with babies, but that pressure feels to me like the pressure needed to make a diamond.  For those of you going through it, you’ll get it, but let me try to explain: You take two people who love each other, are friends, and have known each other for a long time.  You take most of their stuff away from them, put them in a 400 square foot box, and make them live together while changing their exterior environment frequently.  Wow. Put that way it sounds like a reality show.  But stripped down to its basics that is really what we are doing here.  Yes, we get to see amazing places, yes we are checking bucket list items off left and right, but when those things aren’t happening we are living our regular day-to-day life and the rules above apply. So the rewards are amazing but it can be extremely hard.  But as Lee and I often remind ourselves, nothing in our life that was ever worth anything came without a cost.  To quote Tom Hanks from the movie A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

It has been hard on our relationship these last few months but it’s also been great for our relationship.  We are talking more to each other than we have since we were young together and trying to figure it all out.  We are challenging each other to be better. And most importantly we are loving each other more deeply. So respectfully, for those couples who have taken their old relationship and plopped it into this new life intact,  you might be missing out on a great opportunity here.  It’s scary to mess with something that matters so much and tough to meddle, especially when it isn’t broken, but the reward in this case (in my opinion) is well worth the risk.

Day 2 of the Black and White Photography Challenge

I am participating in the Black and White Blog photography challenge where every post for 5 posts I am showing a black and white photo along with nominating a friend to also participate.  Today I nominate Cori Young, my very good friend who has a new camera and a new blog to take up the challenge.

I'm really enjoying taking these black and white photos

I’m really enjoying taking these black and white photos.  Lee said this was his favorite because it told a story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes

Stir Fry Rice Noodles with Pork

Since my trip to the Asian Market I have been trying different recipes.  We tried three different recipes with rice-stick noodles and this was definitely the winner.  It’s not that difficult (as these recipes go) and the flavor was super yummy.

  • 8 oz rice-stick noodles
  • 4 TBL vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 pound thinly slice lean pork
  • 4 TBL soy sauce (separate)
  • 1 (10 0z) can chicken broth
  • 16 oz shredded cabbage (you can use the bags in the grocery store pre-cut for cole slaw)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 4 green onions (finely chopped with greens separated from white part)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  1.  Soak rice stick in a bowl fully covered with water for 30 minutes then drain well
  2. Heat a wok over high heat; Add oil and heat until lightly bubbling
  3. Add garlic, then pork and stir-fry for two minutes moving pork frequently
  4. Add 2 TBL soy sauce and stir fry two minutes longer or until pork absorbs most of sauce
  5. Add broth and 2 TBL soy sauce
  6. Stir in chopped cabbage, shredded carrot, and chopped green onion bottoms; Cover and cook for two minutes
  7. Add noodles and pepper; cook stirring for two minutes or until noodles absorb most of liquid
  8. Spoon onto platter and sprinkle with the white part of the chopped green onions
Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Pork

Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Changing Relationships

  1. Trace: You are so right about couples. “Tolerating” one another has to be the worst but so many chose that as it is the easiest. You both should consider yourselves lucky that you are both putting in the work on the relationship because it cannot be a one-sided effort and I know this from experience. I started looking at the years ahead and I want more than I have and I am willing to put in the work to get it so that is what I intend to do. I just cannot imagine the alternative of “getting by” until the grave! “Tolerating” any situation is a drain on one’s energy. You hear SO many people wondering why a couple separates after so many years after the kids leave but it becomes a whole new chapter to be written by the couple and suddenly, the house is quiet and you can think and there is SO much space in one’s life to fill. A “rebirth” is good and necessary for many of us. I think you two are setting an example and I believe this example will touch many lives so keep up the good work. Trace, I think it is great that you can just speak from your heart as so many cannot. And, that pork dish looks absolutely yummy!

  2. On a similar note, we’ll be back to our previous home Mothers Day weekend. While I’m so looking forward to seeing all the kids, family and old friends, I can’t help wonder how our relationships will be different. Will we feel like we’re back “home”, or will we fell out-of -place? This will wrap up our first year and we wonder if we will feel like we don’t “belong” in any one place? I think many will think we are done with our extended vacation. We have no intentions. So many adventures out there. I hope we can just enjoy our visit and not feel anxiety. And I am definitely trying your recipe. Love cabbage.

  3. I think our biggest change in our relationship came about 8 years ago when we became empty nesters. Learning to reconnect in our kid-less life. Today we are closer than we have ever been and love our somewhat solitary life traveling and experiencing new things together.

  4. Your candidness speaks volumes about the strength of your relationship. I like the Tom Hanks line… goes to the whole “if it doesn’t kill, it make you stronger” line of thinking. Many would be fearful of stepping out onto the emotional ledge of baring, and sharing, those fears to a significant other but, we can’t grow without breaking through those barriers. Rock on!

  5. Pingback: First Year – The Emotional Arc | Camper Chronicles

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