Teamwork

Most recent Team Temple portrait, Seattle, 9.26.15.

Most recent Team Temple portrait, Seattle, 9.26.15.

Trent and I have been been married for 4.5 years now – together for over 8 – and in the past couple months it’s become increasingly apparent (to me, at least?) how in sync as a couple we really are.

I don’t mean our relationship is pure bliss. I mean, it’s pretty blissful as marriage goes, but nobody’s marriage is PURE bliss — they’re just full of it if they claim that. Taking on a life partner means taking on work as much as it means foot rubs and breakfast in bed; it means knowing how to compromise and being willing to sacrifice certain of your own wants while fighting for others. There’s inevitable friction in all that.

But there are rewards, too. When you get it right, you end up with a super strong collaboration. And that’s how I’m feeling these days about Trent and I; our partnership is HELLA strong. We’re contoured against each other in the best way; we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we fill in for each other when we’re needed, or we step aside when we’re not. Our communication is really, really good, and it gets better and better all the time.

We’re getting better and better not because we’re amazing people and we’re naturally awesome at marriage. We’ve improved so much because at this point in our relationship we’ve taken on quite a lot, and we’ve actually broken a few things – but we’ve also successfully fixed them. Instead of retreating and getting bitter or frustrated with each other, we keep digging down into “fix/improve mode” (and a lot of credit for that attitude goes to Trent; he’s the most self-motivated self-improver I’ve ever met). Just like we do with our house(s).

Like our old San Francisco landlord, Mark, said: “you gotta break it in order to understand how it really goes back together.” He was actually talking about old houses – trying to inspire us when we announced we’d bought 3675 and were moving to Oakland – but it makes great marriage advice, too.

We’re no longer newbies at this marriage stuff. We aren’t quite Bob Vila’s, either, but after looking at what we’ve built over nearly a decade, we think we might be destined for Bobdom.

So, as I both look back on a successful jam-packed weekend of readying 3675 for the impending arrivals of El Niño and La Munga (mom gets here Thursday; El Niño, who knows…), and look forward to the start of Trent’s 36th birthday month (which we’ll celebrate with a superawesome weekend of getting the band back together at the cabin), I’m feeling so grateful for my amazing partner and all the things we’ve figured out in this giant jigsaw puzzle of marriage. The cardinal rules of Team Temple; keys to our ever-improving communication, like…

  • Computers are not impartial; recognize their partial preferences to certain users over others and be patient with the scorned.
Not sure why, but this thing really does hate me.

Not sure why, but this thing really does hate me.

  • The cycle of laundry is the cycle of life; do not disturb it.
  • Never assume you have been heard unless eye contact was involved.
  • Pay attention to tone of voice; especially your own.
  • Sleeping giants are dangerous, even if they are small and look sooo cute.
Good luck solving this problem.

Good luck solving this problem.

  • Money makes us rich, but knowing how to talk to each other about it makes us richer.
  • Certain chores belong to certain parties. No questions asked. That is all.
This is a job for one man, and one man only.

This is a job for one man, and one man only.

  • The last beer in the fridge is a communal beer. Share, or be shunned.
  • Always, always use sweet words.
  • When in doubt, do what Sammy would do.
i.e., JUST LOVE!

i.e., JUST LOVE!

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2 thoughts on “Teamwork

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    I can’t believe it has been almost five years! I attribute the fact that you are both so in sync with each other to the fact that you devote a lot of time and effort to learning how to communicate more effectively. And no relationship is pure bliss. I like the way you used the word “contour” to describe how you fit together. What a great word picture! It implies that when one bends, the other bends along with that person. You may go in a different direction, but you are not at odds with each other.

    You do have to break it before you fix it. All things must fall apart before they can come together again. It is much easier to put something together than it is to try to re-configure it by doing work arounds and adjustments to broken or damaged pieces. You never really know what you are getting or that it will last. Build it from scratch, with the right parts, the right way, and it will last forever. I think Bob Vila would tell you that.

    Let El Nino come! You have built both your homes and your marriage on a solid foundation and the rain cannot wash that away. And I am looking forward to hearing about that band reunion at your mountain retreat. What an awesome way to celebrate a birthday! Those little woodland creatures won’t know what to make of the sounds coming out of that house!

    Regarding the following:

    Computers don’t like me either. Must run in the family.
    Nobody touches my washing machine when it is cycling.
    Eye contact is absolutely required.
    I will watch my tone of voice. Tone trumps words any day.
    I still let the dog sleep in bed with me.
    Communication is priceless.
    Home improvement projects do not excite me.
    Always share your last beer.
    I pray my words will always be sweet.
    When in doubt, just LOVE!

    Amen, daughter!

    Love,

    Mom

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