Shared Interests - West Virginia / by sam taylor

Shared Interests - West Virginia

Good Friday Morning!

We talk about a lot of topics here - travel, politics, gear. Today’s note inspired by a conversation that Carmen and I were having this week about “what makes relationships work” - or not work - depending on the moment.

What makes a relationship work… Well, this is the kind of thing that will get as many answers as there are people answering it, but I’ll go for a few that I think have some universal truth.

A big one for us is mutual respect, and acting in a way that is deserving of respect. You can’t belittle or degrade your partner, and then bow up when they don’t seem to respect or value what you have to say. If neither of you are going to respect each other, then why be in the relationship in the first place?

A second big one is open and clear communication. A lot of times, folks get into this mode of not talking to each other - your partner should “just know” what’s wrong, or under your skin. I personally prefer almost blunt conversation, versus hinting around. You want me home at a certain time, say so. Unhappy that I ate the last yogurt? Say so. I’m being a bit simplistic here, but actually saying what you mean, and (in corollary to mutual respect) mean what you say. Save the passive-aggressive, baiting-for-a-fight-stuff for someone else. Or the comments section on the internet.

Last but not least, having some shared interests is HUGE for us - and I mean deeper than just the kids and family. Is there something that you can do as a couple and enjoy each other’s company? Do you love movies? Read similar books? I always find couples that lead totally separate lives very sad, only intersecting around the kids school projects or over the dinner table. That all said, shared interests won’t make it if the things above aren’t there too. I’ve known a lot of “adventure couples” that ultimately didn’t make it, because while they might both love climbing, they were hateful or dismissive of each other otherwise.

Why this topic today? Because this shot is the product of the “good” parts of this. I told Carmen I had the idea for this shot a few weeks in advance, and it meant getting up at 5am on a 20F morning, hiking in the dark, and hanging out in the cold with only a thermos of coffee between us - and somehow, we managed to remain sweet on each other, not hogging the coffee, and not getting grumpy in the early cold - and it meant a lot to me that she would want to come for this, getting up out of bed for a cold sunrise, when she could have stayed in bed, or snuggled up on the couch. From a recent early morning over Cheat Canyon.

Shared Interests - West Virginia