In pre-marriage counseling, our pastor told us that one of the best things we could do for our marriage was get out on our own, by ourselves. At the time I was still thinking about going to a music school in Australia that I had been accepted to, but we weren’t sure how it would all work financially. We were strongly encouraged by the pastor to take the leap and move abroad, just because something like that brings a couple together more than you could ever think possible. You are forced to lean upon each other instead of your families, spend a ton more time together, and learn to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. He was right.
I’d be lying if I told you the first few months in Korea wasn’t difficult marriage-wise. We had been used to spending less than 5 hours each day together in Portland while we were working 50-60 hour a week jobs, and then after moving abroad, we were thrown in to seeing each other 24/7, cold turkey. Not only did we do everything together at home, but the first year of expat life in Korea, we actually worked together in the same private academy!
We had to learn how to live with each other again. We had to learn to find out when we individually needed ‘alone’ time, and when it was good to do more romantic dates and such. It seems super weird to say, but it was difficult! I’d have to say after 2 years we have ‘being together’ down pretty good.
We need each other. I am a high stress individual. I’m not a worrier, I just like to know what’s going on and like to run a million miles a minute. The more stress, the more productive I am. Derik is completely the opposite. He balances me out and keeps me in-line. I’d like to say I do the same? Also, I can truthfully tell you, if it wasn’t for Derik, I wouldn’t be an expat. I’m too much of a chicken to go out and do extreme things by myself! Thank goodness for my husband, he pushes me to my limits!
Being flexible is a work in progress. Whether it’s finding out my visa is getting dropped, or his job hours have doubled, living abroad takes a lot of flexibility. You never know what you’re going to wake up with each day! It could just be something as simple as a phone call to brighten or break your day, or a stupid flat tire (I never said I was a good driver) in which makes your husband late to teach his classes. Whoops.
I’d like to say I’m a very flexible person mentally and emotionally. But the hard truth for me to tell you is, I’m not. I actually pitch huge fits when something out of the ordinary throws my mojo off. I. HATE. IT. Living abroad has helped me with my flexibility skills (can I just say I wish physically too? I seriously need to take up yoga or something), but its a constant thing to work on.
‘Girl’s Nights’ and ‘Guy’s Nights’ have to happen. Sometimes we just have to get away from each other. But guess what? It’s healthy to. Seeing so much of each other can get a little rough, and honestly there are months where we just don’t have any friends at all due to them moving away. There are things I want to talk about (aka manicures, people watching, and TV dramas) that Derik would rather shoot himself over than listen to. Ok maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but really. Vice versa is also true. As soon as D starts talking about fixing motorcycles (aka carbons, engines, spark plugs, etc…etc), my eyes glaze over and I start staring blankly. We try to understand each other, we really do, but I tell you: having girl/guy nights is a must. Heck, girl DAYS or guy DAYS can happen too!!! If you’re confused as to why you need these in a dating/marriage relationship, email me and I’ll tell you why. No seriously.
It actually takes more work now to plan romantic things. Have I told you that we see each other a ton now? Well, we see each other so often we sometimes forget to get all dressed up and go on a date, go watch the sunset, or go for a romantic picnic on the beach. Terrible I know. Wait, isn’t that just real life? A while ago, we decided to plan one date night a week in where one of the spouses plans a night to do anything and the other HAS to go along with it. It was really fun! Sometimes it would flop, but then others it would be wonderfully romantic.
Just because you’re with someone 24/7 doesn’t mean you can get lazy romantically! Heck, it should actually help you get to know your significant other a bit better, and thus rocking the ‘romantic’ stuff!
Communication, communication, communication. We often can spend half the day doing stuff and not talking to each other. It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s just that we feel like we’ve experienced everything already together, so why discuss it? Really stupid reasoning I know, and we’re working on it. Even though we’re with each other so much, I seriously have no idea how Derik perceives anything unless he tells me. Something could make him sad, mad, excited, content, or happy, and the only thing I have to go off of is body language.
Communication is key. Feeling uncomfortable about something? Yeah your significant other should probably know about it. Especially if you’re in an unfamiliar territory. Odds are that uncomfortable feeling is actually a good thing and you may save yourselves some trouble if you listen to it!
Encouraging hobbies is a must! Although my love language is quality time, I do enjoy that my husband has hobbies he is passionate over and can go off to do by himself. It allows me to get excited with him and encourage him in his work! He’s huge into rebuilding motorcycles (well basically anything mechanically), and is actually super fantastic at painting! It’s a hidden art, but he’s actually getting more and more interested in it as the time passes.
I have a few hobbies of my own (aka blogging, photography, fitness), and my husband enjoys learning of my accomplishments and passions in life! He is without a doubt my number one cheerleader.
We had a vision, a dream, and we’re trying to make it happen together. The best part about getting married to Derik is that we’ve always had a dream together. Even before we were dating (we were friends you know), we both had a desire to travel. We both loved adventure, new things, and wanted to see the world! After falling madly in love (cue the cheesy moment) and getting married, we were able to mesh our ideas and dreams together and form one giant amazing dream! Sure we’ve had hiccups along the way, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it together.
Are you young, in-love, and wanting something more with your relationship? Seriously, move abroad. I could not recommend it more! Also, I can’t thank our pre-marriage counselor for encouraging us so much to take that leap of faith into the unknown. It’s been the best time of our lives.
P.S. You may have noticed there is a complete lack of photos from our current trip on this blog. Well guess what?! You can get your fill by following our journeys on Instagram by following @livinginanotherlanguage. Check it out!