If you or the one you love had a dangerous and potentially life threatening job or hobby, how would your daily interactions with him or her be different than they are now
This question came up when we read the story of scientist and storm chaser, Tim Samaras. After years of following and studying extreme weather events, in May 2013 Samaras and two of his colleagues (one of whom was his own son) were killed by a multiple-vortex tornado in Oklahoma.
In a National Geographic article featuring Samaras’ contributions to meteorological science, it’s reported that he was once asked how his wife, Kathy would handle it if he was killed out in the field. Samaras replied, “Kathy’s a strong woman. She understands that this is my passion.” We wonder if this understanding of risk made each of them treasure their marriage that much more.
We imagine that being in a relationship with someone who regularly puts his or her life on the line can be tough. Whether your partner is a storm chaser, a fire fighter, a police office, a soldier, a skydiver or someone who works with wild animals, it’s a very real possibility that your beloved will be seriously injured or hurt on the job or while pursuing a passion.
If you are the one taking risks as you do what you love to do, you’re also well aware that the goodbye kiss you give your beloved when you head out the door, might be the last one you two share.
It’s likely that couples in such a situation take nothing for granted. When they come home at the end of the day, they are grateful for one more chance to kiss again and to spend time together. Because they are aware of the potential dangers with what they (or their partner) do, each moment is precious.
This is actually a wise approach to your relationship…even if neither you nor your partner takes big risks in life-threatening conditions.
How would your relationship be different, closer, more connected and richer, if you treated moments as precious?
We want to be clear here…
We are not suggesting that you go around in panic mode fearing that something horrible will happen to take you or your partner away. That attitude will not enhance your relationship! It is an inescapable fact that all of us are mortal. Even if we put safety first and hold the most low-risk occupations, accidents can happen.
Our lives can end before we want them to. But coming from a place of lack or shortage will only create stress and anxiety within you and this will carry over negatively to your relationship.
We’re talking about something quite different.
We’re recommending that you notice it when you’re distracted, dull or are just going through the motions of life. WAKE UP and start really living and loving your partner with the kind of appreciation and enjoyment that a person might have if he or she didn’t know if this was the last conversation, hug or kiss.
Use these 3 tips to treasure your relationship more…
1. Don’t make it a big deal unless it really is one.
It’s common in a long-term relationship for a lot of “little” annoyances to build up and blow up into big resentments and arguments. One way to feed and nourish your relationship AND to make the most of the time you and your partner have together is to ask yourself this question before criticizing or starting an argument:
“Is this really a big deal?”
Take a few deep breaths and get clear about whatever is going. You might have a request or may want to set a boundary, but the energy you bring to the discussion you’re about to have can mean the difference between long and drawn-out tension between you and your partner or a quick resolution you both can feel good about.
2. Use your time wisely.
Assess how you usually spend your time and where your attention goes. Do you mostly fritter it away playing games online or on your phone? Are you continually caught up in “busy work” around the house? We’re not going to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your free time, but we encourage you to be mindful.
Make a list of what is truly most important to you and then see if the way you’re spending your days and evenings matches up with your priorities. If creating an amazing relationship with your partner is on your priority list, then be sure you’re frequently sharing quality time together.
3. Treat each moment as precious.
Again, this won’t work if you allow worries and fears that, “something could happen,” dictate your mood and attitude. Find your inspiration in acknowledging and appreciating what you like and love about your partner and about the bond you two share.
At least once a day (and preferably more often), really look at the one you love. What about him or her makes you smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside? If things have been stressful lately, you might have to take more than a few minutes to find and remember what that is.
As you treat each moment as precious, you’ll listen more closely to what your partner has to say. You’ll be more honest and kind with your own words. You’ll embrace him or her a little bit longer than usual and– we guarantee– you’ll be happier because of it.
*For more about Tim Samaras’ life and work, see National Geographic magazine, November 2013 edition.