My husband and I just recently celebrated our 11th anniversary and, as is our tradition, we had our annual “State of Our Union” conversation. Typically, we go out for a fancy meal, order a bottle of wine (or two) and talk and talk. This year, however, we were vacating in a beautiful condo and so we decided to stay in, get Indian food take out, and have our conversation after Riley had gone to bed. Since we were not in our own house, it still felt “away” from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. (And this is one of the most important aspects of the State of Our Union.)
During our SOOU talks, we always look back over our past year of marriage together and discuss what we have achieved together:
- What were our marital successes?
- What were our marital failures?
- Did we discover anything new that really worked for us as a couple?
- Did we like each other more this year than last year?
- Did we like each other less?
- Were we still growing as a couple beyond our roles of mom and dad?
Then we look to the future and dream about what we want to see in the upcoming year. This is where we can really use our imaginations to paint the perfect year for us.
- What will it look like?
- What will we do?
- How will it be different?
- What will make it better?
- What will be the best thing about it?
And then comes the really big piece. We each get to ask one thing of each other. Anything we want. And that is the thing that we commit to working on in our marriage all year long. One year I had to work on combating my selfishness (this was early on in our marriage – I am completely cured of that now). One year, Eric had to work on helping around the house without being asked (he had always been superb at doing what I asked, but I was tired of being the traffic cop in our relationship when it came to the house). One year, I had to work on actually listening to and implementing the advice that Eric had for my business (up until that point, I was incredibly adept at listening to the input from anyone else other than him – even if the advice was exactly the same). One year, Eric had to work on dressing up for our dates (yes, the fact that I got all dolled up while he threw on a t-shirt and scruffy old tennis shoes infuriated me). Some years, we had very serious things to ask of each other. Other years, there were some small yet significant things that were driving us nuts.
This year, after Riley was tucked in bed and we had poured the wine, we had more than usual to reflect upon. When we had done our SOOU talk last year, we were living in a different city with different jobs, different circle of friends, and a vastly different perspective on life. While this past year has been fraught with change – some very good and some very challenging – we have a deeper sense of who we are as a couple than ever before. We have created another year of history that we alone share. We have another year upon which we will look back and say to each other, “remember when…?”. And we are once again living another year saying, “what if we could do…?” And that is one of my favorite things that makes us uniquely “us”.
What are some of the things that make you and your lover uniquely “you”?