My day job has been growing increasingly stressful. For the last few months, I’ve been feeling emotionally drained and extremely demoralized. Cliff knows this and of course he cares, but I never expected him to care so much. Last night after another bad day, he told me how beautiful I looked in the dress I was wearing and asked me to help him pick out something just as handsome for himself. Then he let me know that we were going out. He didn’t tell me where and refused to answer any of my questions – it was a surprise.
The place Cliff whisked me off to wasn’t far from our home, but it is special to us. When we arrived, a reservation was waiting, and we were taken to a table in the back where virtually no one else was sitting. It was like we had the place to ourselves and for the first time in a very long time, we focused on nothing but each other.
It was lovely, and exactly what I needed when I needed it. Most importantly, it was a necessary reminder that life exists outside of work, and that taking time to focus on each other is what matters most.
Last night’s surprise date also made me realize just how special our own relationship is, how lucky I am to have someone in my life who loves me as much as Cliff loves me, and all the reasons I fell in love with this man in the first place. I don’t talk about our relationship on this blog often because it is private and something that’s just between us. But I also know we have something special, and I felt some of that should be shared with the world.
So, without further ado, here are 8 of my favorite things about us.
We eat dinner together almost every night
This is a tradition my parents started and one I’ve carried through to our relationship. It makes me so sad when I hear that not every family eats together because this is one of my favorite moments of every day.
We're both awed by each other
I still remember the first time I ever saw Cliff, and I knew there was something different – something special – about him. Thirteen years later, he still takes my breath away, and I know I do the same for him (He’s told me so!). If someone would have told me 14 years ago that in 14 years from then, I’d come home after a bad day at work and Cliff Starkey would sweep me off of my feet, I wouldn’t have believed them.
We make a good team
Having a life partner you feel passion for is everyone’s desire; but having someone you can problem solve with, in my opinion, is equally important. And that’s one thing I love about me and Cliff: whether we’re traveling, dealing with difficult people or solving a home-ownership crisis, we make a great team.
We’re both from Nebraska
Silver Spring and D.C., especially, are true melting-pot cities. There are people here from all over the world, and we know so many couples who met here but are originally from different parts of the country – or even the world. That’s great for them, but I couldn’t do it. Nebraska is part of me, just like it is part of Cliff. Having someone who fully understands what that means, who gets my jokes and references, and who realizes homesickness for a fly-over state is real is everything.
We don’t follow traditional gender roles
Our relationship is definitely a modern one, and that’s one thing I adore about us. When it comes to house chores, Cliff does most (if not all) of the cleaning and car repair. I handle finances and cooking. And we share laundry.
He likes my cheekbones and I like his freckles
Like most people, we both have insecurities about our own bodies, but when we look at each other, all we see is beauty. Cliff loves my cheekbones and I adore his freckles and green eyes.
We both love animals
Considering we both generally like animals more than we like people, this one is important.
We've been together longer than most other couples we know
Cliff and I aren’t married, but we’ve been together since I was 19 and he was 22. Other than our parents and a handful of friends, we’ve been a couple longer than most of our married friends have been married… in some cases, by double or triple. That’s something I’m super proud of.