As I left DC yesterday to head back to Minneapolis, I found myself filled with emotions. Bittersweet feelings of love, joy, sadness, excitement, surprise and an overall sense of gratitude for this incredibly complicated life I’m living.
When I started out on this journey a few weeks ago, we received a lot of mixed reactions from friends and family wanting to know if Mark and I were okay. They wanted to know what was “going on” and although we did our best to assure them we were fine…truth be told…Mark and I had hit a low point in our marriage.
Neither of us realized the toll that building a business together had taken after 11 years. To say we were confused and frustrated would be an understatement. We just didn’t see it coming.
We had always loved spending time with each other…A LOT of time…and since we started Synergy Design & Construction 3 months after getting married, it was really all we had ever known.
Despite countless friends and family questioning us over the years, asking how the heck we could live AND work together every day, we ignored their warnings and proudly let them know we loved it (and we did love it).
Until all of a sudden, we didn’t.
We didn’t like the fact that the ONLY thing we had to talk about was work. We started to snip at each other. Our need to be “right” and prove our “point” about whatever we were discussing had started to take precedence over us co-creating our company together.
Now don’t get me wrong, we were (and still are) absolutely clear how much we love Synergy. We love our employees, our clients, and our projects – it’s just the joy of working with each other day in and day out had lost its “new car smell”.
Life outside of the office wasn’t much different either. We had fallen into routines that no longer served us. Whether it was watching too much TV, poor eating and drinking habits, or just doing the exact same things every day, we had gotten stagnant and life had become very one-dimensional.
We had become trapped in our own boredom, complacency and unhappiness…and the worst part? I had turned Mark into the bad guy for where we were. He was a convenient target for my own restlessness, and I knew I had to get a hold of myself and I had to do it fast, so I did the only thing I knew I could do…I ran.
I knew I needed space and a chance to find “me” again. Time to be in nature and to explore and just be in silence. So my idea of a 3-month cross-country journey was born…and I took off.
Despite how it sounds, it wasn’t an easy decision. I knew it would be extremely hard on Mark. I knew our friends would be confused, and I knew I’d have to ensure working from the road wouldn’t negatively affect our Synergy team. And yet I knew it was what I simply had to do. I couldn’t explain it, but I was acting on pure intuition and knew this was all part of learning to trust myself again.
As I boarded the plane yesterday, I realized trusting myself to take this journey was one of the best things I have ever done for my marriage. Our time apart has allowed us to hit the “reset” button on our marriage in a way that neither of us saw possible. In just a few short weeks (and of course the time leading up to me leaving) we’ve somehow shocked ourselves back into living the life we’ve always intended – Mark calls it putting the paddles on our marriage 😉
We woke ourselves up from the slumber of our daily lives, and all the expectations we put on each other, and have gotten back to what’s important. To the deep, spiritual and emotional connection we’ve shared since we first met. To the “us” we’ve always known we were. We realized our relationship is not in the doing it’s in who we’re being for each other. It’s in the ENERGY we share – it’s in the unseen. Simply put, we had gotten out of our hearts and into our heads and that’s exactly why we felt so stagnant.
This weekend we shifted into a whole new gear. We were able to feel each other’s love and energy in a way that miraculously feels stronger than when we first got married! This has been such an unexpected and joyous surprise to both of us. Who knew that following my instinct to run into the woods to find myself would actually help me find my way right back to where I started…to the man that has shown me the deepest level of love I’ve ever known?
As I now look back at what prompted my running in the first place, I can clearly see that I was afraid. I was afraid of letting anyone love me as much as Mark loves me and I had somehow turned his level of love for me into a negative. Into some sort of weakness in order to justify my fear of it.
Just like me, Mark had fears of his own. Fear of failure, fear of not having “enough,” fear of losing me…and all those fears resulted in his need for safety. To “protect” what he had. Without knowing it, he had lost himself in this process just like I had, it’s just that our versions of needing safety and protection looked very different from one another’s.
Having the space and ability to step back and reevaluate who we are for each other helped us get in touch with the “why” behind us in the first place. I told him how much I love and adore him and that the most important thing to me is his happiness – that I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to have him feel free to express himself. And in one of the most profound moments I have ever experienced in my life, Mark said to me “I need you to see that my love for you isn’t weakness, it is actually my greatest strength.”
I was speechless…in that instant we both felt seen. Seen for who we really are for each other and our perspective shifted – for that we are both humbled and grateful beyond measure.
So as I resume my journey across the country today, I am surprised at how different everything feels!
I’ve found a renewed sense of passion and purpose for not only my relationship with Mark, but for the work I do! I have a profound trust in our Synergy team as I watch them execute our vision with our clients and I also find working from the road isn’t as hard as I’d imagined it would be! I am excited for the amazing experiences and opportunities ahead of us all.
One thing I know for sure, is that no matter how far my inner and outer journey takes me over the next couple months, my heart is back in DC right where it has always been…next to the love of my life.