The New Wifestyle Profile | Sarah
i am so pleased to share with you sarah’s new wifestyle profile! delivered with deep felt authenticity, sarah shares how relationships can work with distance and when different dreams take you different places. she also shares powerful lines from the vows she and her husband exchanged (and totally helped me get prepared for when we officiate a wedding this summer!) let’s show her some love and appreciation!
Hello dear wifestylers, I’m Sarah! I currently live in Montreal and my husband works in New York City. The last few months have brought on their fair share of transitions, both personally (aka marriage) and professionally (aka unemployment), as I try to find my place in the world as a public health professional and aspiring entrepreneur, a runner, a proud auntie, and a new wife navigating this long-distance marriage. Pop over to a new project of mine, Pintxos Wedding, where I share bite-sized tips for couples.
My mother raised my older sister and me to be independent women. Some of it was subtle; some of it wasn’t. She told us about the importance of education and careers to have financial independence in marriage.
My parents work together in the small family business my paternal grandfather established in the 1950s: my Dad has been my Mom’s boss for over 30 years. Their professional, personal, and family lives have been intertwined for most of their married life. They also have traditional roles in their marriage. When I was younger, I made some categorical decisions about my future marriage based on my parents’, such as never working with my future husband and always sharing tasks related to the household (and future parenting). Although I now know sharing doesn’t always mean 50/50 and that I prefer to think of my marriage as an interdependent partnership, my mother’s advice forms the foundation of my wifestyle.
Best Way to Find a Partner
I first moved to Montreal after college and was looking for a roommate to share my two-bedroom apartment. You see where this is going, don’t you?
Andrey answered my online ad, visited the apartment, moved in on Labor Day weekend, and we started dating less than a month later. Of course, we each had our reservations about dating a roommate. I was afraid it would get too serious, too quickly. Andrey really liked my apartment and didn’t want to move out if things didn’t work out between us, or so he says. Whenever single friends ask for advice about meeting someone, I tell them looking for a roommate is the best way to find a partner.
In NYC the weekend Andrey moved there for graduate school.
From Living Together to Living Apart…
Although we started living together before we were partners, we haven’t always lived together or even the same city. About a year and a half into our relationship, Andrey moved to New York City for graduate school and I stayed in Montreal. Those first few months of distance were difficult, but neither of us questioned our relationship. We loved each other and knew we were great together. Sure, we missed our cozy life together in Montreal, but it was an opportunity to discover and live in a new place. We embraced the opportunity, overnight buses across the border and all!
A few months later, I also moved to the U.S. for graduate school. New York would have been the obvious choice. Of course, I chose differently and went to Baltimore. Andrey was very supportive and thought I should go to the best school for me, not necessarily the one closest to him. Our commute was much shorter and we saw each other every weekend. Over the next three years of our relationship, we lived together and apart in New York, Baltimore, Blacksburg, and Montreal.
We’ve never been into sending each other lengthy emails, but we love to communicate through photos. We use a combination of short emails, text messages, photo messages, video and audio calls to stay in touch throughout the day when we’re apart.
Looking out on Montreal.
Finding Our Way Home Through the Distance
A lot of people asked if we were finally going to make a home together once we were married. That’s when I started to understand that long-distance love is often perceived as temporary and home, as a location. While I’m still making up my mind about long-distance as a more permanent condition, I definitely don’t agree that home is a place.
Andrey and I have both moved around a lot. Him, since early childhood. Me, since I graduated high school and left my parents’ home. Neither of us has known where we would settle down and live out our days. I think we both like to keep our options open and have the possibility of following our dreams wherever they take us. Though we might not always share a residence, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve made a home together for nearly six years and will continue to find our way home to each other through the distance. We really value this idea of home and the importance of choice…
He vowed: “Sarah, I choose you because home is wherever there is you. I will keep choosing you and always come back home to you.”
I vowed: “Andrey, I will hold our home in my heart, from Montreal to New York and everywhere else we may go. I choose you today and every day.”
Our wedding in San Sebastian, Spain.
Learning to Press Play on My Life
Our first year of marriage has not been an easy one for me. I recently realized that I had pressed pause to plan our wedding and to get through our long-distance relationship. I wasn’t happy professionally, but I wasn’t making a move to leave. I made so many excuses: I needed the time off work for the wedding; it didn’t make sense to find another job in Montreal if Andrey would be in New York full-time after his studies; I couldn’t find work in the U.S. because of visa issues, etc. After the wedding, Andrey started a great job that he loves in New York City. He works at the office for two weeks and remotely from Montreal for two weeks. This arrangement has made the transition to long-distance married life easier.
However, I kept pressing pause… I tried to plan our future, but got frustrated with all the uncertainty. Finally, I realized my mistake during a heated discussion with Andrey. I was starting to blame him and his dreams for my own professional failures. Instead of living in the present, I was trying to fix our long-distance marriage by planning our future. I still have analysis paralysis sometimes, but I’m learning to press play on my life.
I got back into distance running (first full marathon coming up in September!!) and dove into a variety of meditation practices and other self-care strategies. I’m reading more. I’m writing again. I have my own dreams and aspirations that may send me further away from Andrey before they bring us back together. But he supports me and I support him. I’m overwhelmed sometimes, but so empowered too. Wasn’t that really the point of my Mom’s advice all along?
1) How do you maintain independence within your partnership?
2) How do you define home (place, people, feelings…)?