… you can’t “blame” the condition. Change happens. New jobs, relocating for work or love, getting married and so on.
We were under no illusions that moving into a 24 ft. travel trailer would be easy on our relationship. How could we, with friends laughingly sharing such encouraging words as, “I’d kill my husband in two weeks in that thing!”, when we were preparing to leave.
At the same time, we had reason to believe that the transition would be modest at best, having shared a studio apartment and camped for weeks at a time in the past. We had no way of knowing, however, that full-time RV life is nothing short of relationship concentrate!
Now don’t get me wrong. “Relationship concentrate” is not intended to convey something negative, nor particularly positive for that matter. It’s about a condition that is caused by having the patterns and routines that you shared and developed as a couple disrupted. It’s about going from the familiar to the unknown, where sensitivities increase while thresholds decrease – occasions that test patience and understanding. Challenges and Opportunities.
So you can’t “blame” the condition. Change happens. New jobs, relocating for work or love, getting married and so on. Changes that toss boundaries to the side or just knock them around a bit, creating the burden or opportunity of reinvention. We just happened to go all in when we decided to change nearly everything about the way we live all at once.
I may have been the first to notice the effects of relationship concentrate (RC) when I began to notice how the kitchen was no longer the sanctuary it once was for me. Cooking has always been my thing, and the kitchen was my oasis from debate or discussion of any kind. But now the kitchen is the dining room is the living room is the office. And Bridget is there – observing and suggesting.
After nine years together, who knew she didn’t like onion in her morning scramble?!
Bridget began to feel it too. Though she is less apt to say something about it than me. I could see it in her eyes, when I went into the trailer from writing in the shade outside, enthusiastic to share some idea or other – but otherwise disrupting her flow. The body language said it all, reacting in a way that I had felt as well.
RC has also had its benefits. The closeness and efficiency of our trailer combine with the beautiful settings to create the feeling of a cozy cabin in the woods. Bolstered by the effects of persevering through these challenges together, intimacy has been abundant, and we have never been more in love.
Giving It A Name
When the symptoms of RC first presented themselves, we were oblivious to its underlying cause, and consequently, kept treating those symptoms over and over again. When it became apparent that something was going on, we did what we have always done by discussing what was going on with our relationship. Something was causing us to be impatient or annoyed with each other all too often, and we needed to figure out what it was.
We had started a habit when we began dating to speak to what was happening in our relationship and giving it a name. Matters such as individual responsibility, committing to acceptance, or the unsolicited advice we are prone to give the ones we love. We came to call these commitments, axioms because they became for us a sort of guideline or rules-of-engagement for how we can best serve our relationship. While I’m not sure that RC will become an axiom, understanding its effects and reconfirming to those that have served us so well in the past, was all we needed for the extra patience, understanding, and acceptance required as we find our way in this new lifestyle.
So as I share this tale of relationship concentrate, take note of its effects, and be sure to offer a little extra patience and acceptance to those you love when change happens in your life. Cuz they will need it too.