Relationships – do you put your partner first or last?

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Relationships – it’s so important when you are working to not put them last on the list. We have definitely found this out the hard way, one hundred times over!

We locked eyes in town at sweet 16 however, it wasn’t quite love at first sight. There is more of a story to that. It didn’t take long before the three little words were muttered shyly at a party and a down-on-one-knee proposal a few months later. Was it meant to be? We thought so. It was young love and it felt so right. I fell for his sense of humour, the sparkle in his eyes and that cheeky crooked smile. At 17 we packed our bags and boarded a train for Wellington. No plans nor place to stay, just cash in the back pocket from our hospitality jobs and excitement in the air. I remember it clearly., the moment we planted our feet at the railway station next to Wellington harbour. This was our adventure, we had each other and there was nothing else more important. The world was ours.

We grew up together, from naive teenagers to students at Canterbury University, to working professionals going backwards in the Auckland rush and home to Whangarei to raise our family seven years later.

Life did change when we settled down because of course, it’s not solely about your love anymore. As beautiful as the next chapter is, it’s easy to lose sight of each other and who you are away from the new titles of “Mum” and “Dad”. Kids grow and stages change, the juggle becomes very real earning enough to pay the mortgage, feed the hungry mouths and try to be the best parents you can be. School, work, dinner, bath, bed… repeat. How easy is it to become ships in the night and end up too tired to talk by 8pm? Years later, we also adjusted to welcoming our third child after a large gap. At the same time Liked Media was lifting off. We were now in new territory again, business ownership, parents of three (outnumbered), home owners, the price of living doubling and slowly realising that we weren’t the same people we were when we first met all those years ago. We had grown up.

Some years are always tougher than others and we have been through our ups and down over time. Many events brought us closer and others nearly tore us apart, but something kept us together even when it got close to the end. A simple exercise that has helped us over the years has been our date nights. They have also been cancelled many times due to someone being grumpy with the other person but we’ve persevere and tried not to put the pressure on them too much. Once a week, it’s set on the calendar that it’s our night. The kids go to bed early and we organise a nice dinner at home. later in the evening. Sometimes we share a bottle of wine, other times it’s a bubble bath but we know that this is our space for undivided attention, no screens and to connect as husband and wife again.

I found it crucial to have the support from my other half as I navigated business ownership and parenting together in this minefield of life. When we put ourselves first, everything else falls into place. You both feel heard, connected, attractive and prioritised…. at least once a week.

I want to encourage you to take the time to map this out on your calendar together. You can take turns coming up with ideas so it doesn’t land on one person to organise. We used to run the alphabet for new ideas A = Apple pie dessert, B= Bubble Bath, C= Cinema in the lounge etc… It does take a while to form a new habit and also to put ourselves first again but you’ll thank yourself when you do. It’s like planets aligning and everyone seems happier for it. The kids even know that it’s a special night on a Monday for us and do what they can to get off to bed. They even make dinner themselves this night – watch your kids appreciate seeing you all loved up again.

I think we are are all guilty for taking each other for granted sometimes, it’s pretty darn special to have someone you love by your side in life… however, it can also be so easy to let it all slip away.

No one said it would be easy or that you would always like each other… but you’re both worth it.

Pip x


Sarah Marshall Photography

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