Two Sides to Every Story: This is the Evolution of Us
Editor’s Note: There are always two sides to every story, and more often than not, you’ve only heard my side. But what about the other half? Our new Two Sides to Every Story series will be a conversation that includes another point of view, in this instance my partner Joe’s voice. With this new series, we want to provide you with another point of view and perspective on a particular topic. This initial post has to do with how Joe and I have evolved as a couple, from when we first met six years ago this month.
Growing up with someone is harder than doing it alone. This is what I’ve found to be the most difficult aspect of marriage. Communication, differing love languages, differing values when it comes to money… all of those things are landmines for discourse. But the undercurrent churning beneath all couples is the ever-changing landscape of ourselves… who we are as individuals and how the change we see in ourselves affects our partner.
My partner Joe and I have been married for 5 years and we met 6 years ago this month. We met after he “saw me across the room at a menswear event”, our first kiss was on Valentine’s Day, and he asked me to marry him the day we moved in together.
It’s all so perfect it almost makes me cringe, because the romance of it all just coming together so easily doesn’t reflect the challenges we faced before we found each other, nor does it set us up to ride happily off into the sunset with the promise of a fulfilling and happy coexistence.
We’ve had a lot of change come into our lives with having two kids 16 months apart, especially because we’re more of a “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of couple who had a pretty decent track record with this way of living. It’s a house of cards when all aspects of your life are operating with little to no system, calendar, or process for keeping this train of life on its tracks. We learned that lesson the hard way once Bennett, our now 13 month-old, entered our lives.
We forgot to pay medical bills, paperwork wasn’t filed, sleep deprivation turned us into the rawest versions of ourselves. We’d let our dog out and forget about her for 30 minutes only to find her patiently waiting by the door. The one rule we had— to give each other grace during those first six months of parenthood, turned into a 30-month marathon and we’ve been feeling the edges of ourselves begin to erode and wear thin. We’re tired, we’re a bit defeated, and we’ve truly changed as people. And it takes time to understand the new version of yourself when it emerges during big life changes (which is always, always does).
The idea of the Two Sides to Every Story series on the site started when I thought about ways we could talk through some of the universal problems in a way that others could see themselves in our stories. We sat down to record this the day after we returned from Grand Cayman, which concluded with an epic meltdown not from our kids, but ourselves. So we decided to start with the topic of kids and how our expectations and realities did or didn’t line up, where we stand with the change in our intimate relationship, and what true partnership means when you’re two parents with demanding careers and hobbies.
Take a listen to our full story (Ed. Note, in the podcast, we are calling the series “he said, she said,” this is just one story within our “Two Sides to Every Story” series). You can find a worksheet of the questions we ran through and sign up for our podcast email list here. We hope you enjoy this first episode in the series and if you’d like us to tackle a topic, please submit your ideas here!