Do Hard Stuff Together

Last Friday, Todd went to the Indy 500 Track to shoot photos for Miller’s Coors on Carb day. By 3pm, he was home and we were loading the Rover for a 9-hour trip to Mississippi. We arrived at about 2am. We woke up and drove two hours with two cars to Demopolis, Alabama and left ours at a marina. We drove back to Mississippi in a beat up truck for another 2-hours (he edited photos on the way) and started prepping our boat for departure. We both still had to work from our laptops on deadline. He had over 300-photos to edit and I had about 2000-words yet to write.

On Sunday, we departed Mississippi to move our boat 125+ miles down the Tenn Tom River to Alabama. We went through three locks and struggled through 95-degree heat and no AC. We made it just before the light fell out of the night sky, ate dinner and crashed hard after showers at the marina bathhouse.

The next day we worked on the boat and I had 4000-words to write.

We prepped the boat for haul out the next day. After a full morning of watching our 42-foot yacht hover in the air across a boatyard, we packed the Rover again and drove 10-hours home.

I am not taking you all through this play by play exercise for nothing… because that is just the rattled off task by task sequence. What you aren’t yet reading is what happened in between. The moments where the stress crept in… when the night started coming in and we had flashbacks of being on the Ohio River after dark (that’s a whole other terrifying story) when the heat felt like it was going to melt our souls, and when the management of all of that, between two very compatible people, even got the best of us.

We do hard things.

We don’t just get through hard times, that is life and life is hard. But together, Todd and I do hard things and it makes us a better couple. We had plenty of moments when the communication failed and someone was getting a snide remark from the other. This is very unusual for him and me because there are no fights in this relationship. Like really… I can count the heated disagreements between us in 10-years on one hand. So when he cut me off while I was trying to hear him from the bow… or when I asked a question that wasn’t received as I intended… it made me pause.

Hard times will teach you to push through and make the most of life. However, when you put yourself through hard things willingly, it will teach you how to grow. It made me think, how often are we putting ourselves through hard things? Hard times are what they are and we don’t usually have control over these things (a spouse cheats, a family member dies, a child loses their mind for a moment). These kinds of things are just how life unfolds. They hurt, they are unfortunate and yes, we grow from them whether we want to or not. When you choose to put yourself through hard things you’re choosing to grow. You’re not being forced to.

When was the last time that you chose (with or without a partner) to do something hard? And for those who are going through life with a significant other, are you just getting through the hard shit when it hits?

The greatest minds and talents and couples in the world didn’t wake up one morning and find themselves successful by chance. You would be hard pressed to find someone who just sat in their PJ’s all day, and as a result, got massively rich and famous.

Are you not the couple you hoped to be? We often think that it’s the lack of sex… the lack of money…. the lack of vacations… the lack of family balance and dynamics… etc… that is ruining our relationships. I’m going to argue that all of that is just hard times.

What most couples don’t have, is challenge. They are never placing themselves in positions to accomplish hard things together; willingly. Every time a couple has to get through hard shit, they learn how to manage their problems. Not overcome them. When you chose to place yourselves in challenging situations… you grow together. You show one another how valuable you are. You reveal talents to each other and build trust in one another. You appreciate the other on a whole new level and THAT changes everything.

“Thank you for doing crazy shit with me,” he said last night as we sat on the couch. I smiled because I love doing crazy shit with him.

THAT is what great sex is made of.

THAT is what love is built from.

THAT is where soul mates come from.

THAT is what relationships are built on.

THAT is where dreams are created… and

THAT is how to be untouchable, unstoppable and un-fuck-with-able.

Anyone can have a relationship built on getting through hard times… that is what most of us deal with every day. How to get a kid to college. How to pay for the new renovation, how to be in two places at once, how to feed a family healthier food, how to save for a new house, how to manage the flower beds, how to get through a health scare, how to choose a restaurant.

But will you place yourself at the threshold of challenge, on purpose?

Will you train together for a cross-fit competition, will you take a cross-country trip on a motorcycle together, will you start a new movement together, will you both attempt to become foster parents, will you sell everything you own and backpack to Bali together, will you quit your jobs with little planning and count on each other to figure it out?

You are both capable of so much more than you ever give yourselves credit for. Give yourselves a chance to grow. Have a real adult heart to heart about what the hell you’re actually doing here together? Commit on a new level to one another, that sub-par living is not how you’re going to do life anymore. Talk about calculated risks, what you’re going to learn next and what is going to scare the fuck out of you. And then, go fucking do that.

You’re going to keep living through your Instagram feed or Pinterest boards if you don’t start putting yourself in the middle of those hard conversations. You’re going to get used to that comfy life and never give yourself a chance to peak unless you actually put your ass next to the fire. One of you is going to have to bring this shit up and it might as well be you. Don’t ask me how to start that conversation, just fucking speak up right now. (call him, send her a text, tell him to step away from the games, tell her to stay home tonight) or the moment of having the nerve will pass you by and you will lose another God damn day. Can you really handle that? Can you really take one more day of not living your best freaking life?

THAT is doing the hard stuff. And we all know, you have it within you to do. If you don’t do it, you will be satisfied. You will have happy moments. But is THAT really what you came here for? Fuck no you didn’t.

Do the hard stuff, THAT is truly the only pathway to a crazy, insane and intoxicating life together.

With Love

Salt & Siren