JANUARY 3RD: Cut Your Own Slice of Heaven

 Three years ago, the best jaw-line I've ever seen walked into a bar in good ol' Warrensburg, Missouri. After calling dibs on him, I did what any rational, attention-seeking girl would do- I asked him to take a picture of my friends and me. I handed him my phone, he snapped the picture and he handed my phone right back to me and went back to his conversation. He was clearly older and clearly uninterested (I thought). I knew exactly who he was because I'd stalked him on Instagram about a month prior. He followed me back, but I just thought he didn't recognize me. Little did I know, he was joking to his friends that he would marry me. Long story short, after some nudging from mutual friends, (more so on my part and I'm not afraid to admit it cause I know what I want #girlpower) I got a text saying, "Hey, its Jon Vance. I just wanted to introduce myself" and BOOM we fell in love. Just kidding. It took a little longer than that, but I knew he was the one after our first date.

Now to the point of this blog- I got a request to write about my relationship with Jon and what I've learned from past ones. However- I do want to start by saying that the relationship I share with Jon is far from perfect and we've made a lot of mistakes and had a few bumps in the road. Please don't take this blog to be a pointed finger saying "this is what you should do, this is what works," because EVERY relationship is different. These are the lessons, tip and tricks that we've learned along the way. 

By far, the biggest lesson I've learned is sacrifice. I wouldn't change a thing in my life or how our relationship panned out, but he was graduated when we met and I was still in college. He wasn't my first boyfriend I'd had in college, but he was definitely the most serious. My previous relationships had been based around mutual friends and going out, and theres nothing wrong with that. They were convenient. Jon was anything but convenient. He was at a very different point in his life as he had an apartment in the city and a career.

At this time, my biggest concern was what outfit I wearing this weekend and if I'd get a good instagram picture. (I still worry about this but you get the point.) He never asked me to change, but I knew I had to if our relationship was going to work. I gave up a lot of themed parties with my friends, sorority events and movie nights with my room mates. Spending time with him was essential to growing our relationship and making it what it is, but I had to compartmentalize my life. I was stuck between college girl and post-grad and it was tough. My friends would get irritated with me that I was spending as much time as I was with Jon and I truly did feel bad. I wanted to do fun things with them and I missed them, but I knew Jon would be my husband one day. My point with this is- relationships don't always fit into your lifestyle and they're not always the most convenient. If you're not committed and ready to invest your time and energy, it will not work. It will fail. 

This next ones the easiest of all my tips and tricks, but it definitely holds a lot of weight in making our relationship better. At the end of every day, Jon and I ask each other 4 questions. 1. What was the best part of your day? 2. What was the worst part of your day? 3. What can you improve on? 4. What do you need from me? These 4 questions allow you to reflect on yourself and on your relationship and  allow an open forum for discussion. It also gives your partner some insight into where you're at mentally.

As cliche as this one sounds, I can't stress it enough and it should be so simple- trust. The FIRST time someone lies to you/cheats on you/hides something from you, BREAK UP WITH THEM. Do not misunderstand this- when someone cheats or lies, its not a mistake, it's a character flaw. Someone who cheats and lies has deep internal issues that you cannot fix and any time or energy you spend trying to fix them is time wasted. The person you spend the rest of your life with should never make you feel uneasy or make your crazy side come out. It's a toxic thing and it will eat away at you. Jon and I have both been through this in the past and we know how it feels. In our relationship's infancy, we had many conversations about it. We have never lied to each other or hidden anything from each other. Total transparency is something we both pride ourselves on because once a lie is told, all truths become questionable.

Jon and I always like to talk about a goal. Whether its a week away or a year away, we always seem to have one that keeps us pushing forward. Two years ago, he lived in Overland Park which was about 50 minutes away from me and we always were looking forward to him being able to move north and closer to me. Now, we're building a house and planning a wedding. We're always working towards something. Its easy to become complacent in a relationship and just like everyone says, it takes work. However, I've found that something to look forward to gives you both something to be excited about, especially when its something you're both looking forward to, together. Set goals, plan trips, celebrate a milestone, but do it together.

 Last, but not least, I'm going to talk about team work cause #teamworkmakesthedream work amiright??? All joking aside, Jon and I really do call each other a teammate. Just like in sports, working together gets you the win but as soon as there's a disconnect, it opens up the door for another team to win (lets pretends the other team is all the crap life throws at you). You've got to make the plays and execute them correctly, but as we all know, sometimes there's an interception. (If I'm being totally honest I'm using sports jargon and I'm really impressed with myself). So what happens if the quarterback gets mad at the receiver for not making the catch or the receiver gets mad at the quarterback for bad accuracy? Nothing good and it probably created an environment not cohesive to winning. The same thing goes for relationships- interceptions happen. Life can divide you or unite you, how does your team handle it?

When I started writing this blog, I didn't really have a common theme but looking back, one definitely emerged. Your relationship is what you choose to make it. You'll never have a perfect time, situation or person. If you don't to invest the time and energy into making it work, it won't. I made a choice to give up college experiences, I made the choice to never lie, I always look forward to something with Jon and I treat him like a teammate. I wouldn't change a thing because he is, without a doubt, the greatest joy I've ever known and I'm so blessed that he chose me, too.  

Hannah Vance