Two years after our wedding, my little car is pulling ahead. I'm the one who's ready to start trying to have a baby. I was actually ready to start trying last year because my work schedule was optimal. I was working from home as an independent educational consultant for schools working to close the achievement gap.
However, Matt wasn't ready yet (understandably so). At that point, we decided to wait until the end of this school year (since I went back into the classroom to teach 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade).
But now that the end of the school year is upon us, Matt reports that he isn't so ready. When I asked him to quantify his readiness level (I'm nerdy like that), he gave it 4 on a scale of 10.
Whoa. Time to slow this little race car of mine down. There's no way I want to jump out of that plane without my tandem partner attached (sorry for the mixed metaphors).
It got me thinking about the nature of partnership and the delicate dance of compromise. There are infinite life decisions that require nearly-matched readiness levels: moving in together, engagement, marriage, buying a home, taking a year off to travel, splurging on an SLR camera.
What do you do inside a partnership when you and your partner are at different readiness levels? (I'm not asking that simply as a rhetorical question...).
I'll take a stab at answering it because I'm the only one here at the moment, but it's something I'm really wondering.
My first response is to talk about it. Like really talk about it. Like ask each other deep questions that get to the root of what the other person is thinking (not just take a breath while you wait for the other person to stop talking so you can jump in to make more of your own points).
But then there comes a point where too much talking can suffocate the person who isn't ready. Then the talking starts to feel like pressure. And too much pressure makes a person want to pop.
There's also the value of turning outward from the relationship and talking to other people. Like beloved family members. And best friends. And sage colleagues. And therapists.
And then there's the slow-down approach where the impatient partner slows the heck down and basks in the present moment.
Matt and I are trying all these approaches as we navigate our different readiness levels.
Some words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!