So it has been a LONG time since I have posted anything on our blog, but I have been bouncing this idea around in my head for a while and decided I would finally get it written!
We all love our spouses(hopefully!). We probably would not have decided to stay with them until “death do us part” if we didn’t. However, loving somebody and liking them are really different. It is often cliche to say that “I don’t just love my partner, they are also my best friend!” It is a great sentiment and perhaps true for many couples, but since moving overseas I have really noticed how much that is put to the test.
It occurred to me in year 3 of our overseas adventures how important it is to truly LIKE your spouse when making a move like we did(granted it’s good to do in ALL situations, but hear me out!). Back when we lived in Austin, we had our own lives on top of our shared ones. I had my school, coaching, and advocacy work and all the wonderful people that were involved in those worlds, and Ana had so many friends from college and her work that we had separate worlds along with our shared one. I would wake up in the morning, have a quick breakfast, and then off to teaching, coaching, and the occasional late night school board meetings. There were days and even the occasional week where Ana and I would spend probably less than a few waking hours together because of our separate worlds. We were happy and it all worked.
Since moving overseas, our worlds have changed drastically, and luckily as it turns out, for the better. When moving overseas, you are hitting the reset button on your life. Everything we had built separately before we met was now half way around the world, and everything moving forward became “OUR”. OUR school, OUR friends, OUR life! I would imagine for many people that might be an intimidating thought. Rarely are we thrust so fully into our partners lives on a daily basis, and for some it can be difficult. I can say unequivocally that is not the case with us. I think the most surprising thing I have found since our move is how much I truly LIKE my wife! 🙂 We commute to work every morning together for an hour. We work in the same building all day. At the end of the day, we commute home together when our after school commitments permit it(we even will occasionally stay a little longer if it means catching the same shuttle bus/subway home). After all that, we still spend our evenings together going over the day and catching up on yesterday’s TV (avoiding social media where we can….stop ruining Walking Dead people!). It is amazing how much closer we have grown as a result of these 2+ years in Singapore. For the first 2 years here, I would have lunch with Ana and her middle school colleagues. I remember people saying in the beginning, “that novelty will wear off”, but you know it never really did. Sadly, this year my schedule has changed and we no longer match up for lunch. I now find myself discovering other times throughout the day where I can stop by her classroom and steal 15 minutes to catch up and say hi. It is a privilege I will never take granted after this experience.
The other piece of moving overseas which really requires your friendship with your spouse to take center stage is just the transient nature of the expat world in which we live. People will come into your lives, make them wonderful for several years (or sadly sometimes less), and then they are gone again to hit the reset button on their lives and move on to their next adventure. In a revolving door world like this, your one constant becomes your spouse. They are the one friend who never leaves, the travel companion always ready to go, and the north star in your life even when the seas get rocky(and trust me with moving overseas, they will at times). I truly love my wife. It has also been amazing to find out just how MUCH I like her 🙂