No life should be lived without passion, especially in the relationship you have with your spouse. Anthony came home last week astonished. Apparently many people asked him how I was “okay” with him taking a class to get a motorcycle endorsement. My response — Why wouldn’t I be okay with it?
You see, there’s something you should know about me as a person — I always encourage the pursuit of happiness. Taking the motorcycle class excited Anthony, so why would I keep him from pursuing it? Admittedly, the hardest thing about him taking the class was his absence at dinner. Even then, it was only hard because I’m still a newbie in town and don’t have anyone I feel comfortable just calling up and asking if they want to hang. I’m sure some of the people I’ve met down here would have been happy to spend time with me, but I crawled into my introvert hole. Sorry guys.
In any case, I could see the passion in his eyes whenever he talked about the class. He came home after the first riding day with such electricity about him, I couldn’t complain.
A Little Thing I Like to Call Passion Support
One of the best things about our relationship is the way we support each other in the pursuit of our passions. Anthony jokes a bunch about how inexpensive my passions are in comparison (he hasn’t been through a home decorating spree with me yet) and I can tell that he sometimes feels bad spending money on himself. The thing is, life would suck if we didn’t get to pursue the things we’re passionate about. When I first told him about my plan to start a blog, he knew nothing and just replied, “Okay, what do you need?”
Wow. Passion support at its greatest.
I mean, I hacked this INSANE plan to start a blog in the hopes that some day some one would read it and it would help them in some way or another. Inside, he may have been screaming, “IS SHE CRAZY” (or was that me?!) but on the outside, he showed me that it was okay as long as it made me happy. Now that I see tons of people that have made their passion their income through blogging, it seems like an achievable reality with Anthony’s support.
Anthony’s response is the perfect way to show passion support because it tells me that A) he is okay with what I’m doing and B) he wants to know how he can help me succeed. These two things show a vested interest, which is paramount to a successful relationship.
It’s a Two-Way Street
I admit it, motorcycles never inspired a great deal of anything besides a fear of becoming road kill in me. My sister was always more interested in riding them than me. Sure, I’m a bit nervous about what could happen to Anthony while he’s riding but that’s not enough for me to veto it off the bat. It’s something he really wants to pursue. He talks constantly about the gear and precautions he’d like to take while he’s riding (I swear–I prompted none of this!). Ultimately, I trust him to be careful.
We both like to use our veto power sparingly in our relationship. We trust each other enough to not need to “veto” much. Let me be clear though, we spend a lot of time and effort discussing big decisions and pursuits. This two-way street of trust and support doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work and a commitment to encourage happiness in each other. Honestly, I don’t understand the type of people that nit-pick every decision or pursuit their spouse wishes to take. For one thing, I have too much to do on my own to keep tabs on everything Anthony does. When he’s working on a car in the garage, I’m more than content not to know what he’s doing unless he needs an extra pair of hands.
In teaching, there is a fine line between holding a student accountable and giving them flexibility. They need both things in order to succeed, but balancing them is the hardest part of the job. It’s the same with supporting your spouse. People need the flexibility to pursue their passion, but accountability to keep them honest.
Three Things You Can Do TODAY to Support Your Spouse
It’s not always about the big gestures in relationships. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying, “Okay, how can I help?” Don’t think Anthony and I don’t have our moments. We have arguments just like any other couple, but we are learning to trust in each other’s strength and wisdom. The biggest things that we do to foster this support are actually really small, simple things.
This actually became a daily tradition when we were still living five hours apart. We talked on the phone every day. We always take the time to check in with each other. Sometimes it’s the cue we need in order to discuss a problem we had that day. Sometimes it’s a quick, “my day was pretty routine.” It’s a commitment we make to each other every day, no matter how busy we are. It doesn’t require a ton of effort and the impact down the line is unbelievable.
Save Objections Until the End
This one is a bit harder. Sometimes when our gut objects to an idea right away, it’s hard to hold it in and listen until the end. I cannot stress how important this is, though. When we fight, it’s usually because one of us butts in too early or takes something personally. Let your spouse talk. If you need to, jot down your objections as they talk, but hear them out until the end. Half the time, we have already thought about what the other might object to. Most of the time, objections are just aspects of the situation we haven’t thought of yet. I’ll admit I am NOTORIOUSLY bad about not jumping in with my objections before Anthony is done articulating his plan.
Ask Clarifying Questions
This is Anthony’s wheelhouse. No matter what I’m planning, he always asks questions to make sure he understands what’s going on. It’s easier for him to help and support when he knows what’s going on. More than that, it shows me how much he cares about me in ways I never imagined. Sure, at times it can feel a bit like a mild interrogation, but he just wants to understand. When we’re growing up, we search endlessly for someone to “understand us” to no avail. It’s actually really refreshing to realize that someone is trying to do just that.
Never Apologize for Living Your Passion
I cannot tell you how scary it was to leave a steady job with wonderful people to the uncertainty of finding work from home and living in an entirely new place all at once. I was petrified in a very liberating way. In many ways, I’m living more passionately now than I ever have. I finally feel like I’m actively pursuing my purpose instead of reaching into the dark for it. You should never feel like you have to apologize for that, and neither should your spouse. You never know whether each day will bring terror or triumph (especially now), so don’t waste whatever time you have. Live your best life, whatever that looks like.
As always —
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