Friendship is essentially a partnership. ~Aristotle
Partnership is a funny thing, because it can look so different depending on the context. We see it everywhere: in businesses, in romantic relationships, in team sports. Somehow, people have to navigate the highs and lows and potential power struggles to find a system that works. If you’re lucky, you won’t have too many of those lows or power struggles. If you’re double lucky, you won’t have any. I guess you can say we’re double lucky so far.
I’m not going to pretend like either of us are perfect people or that we sit around singing kum-bah-yah every night (although, you might catch us rockin’ out to some Betty Wright or sliding across the kitchen floor in socks…but I digress). We’re both quite open with each other about our flaws and screw ups. But somehow two imperfect friends have managed to create a bond that reflects what I think is important about partnering with others.
What I’m learning is that partnership isn’t about splitting things down the middle. There are times when Ricks gets home late or her days are hella stressful, and it makes me feel like it takes a little bit of the pressure off her to come home and not worry about cooking (or worse–just eating cheese for dinner…LOL). I sort of operate on a “see a need, fill a need” basis in terms of our household, and I trust she does too. We don’t have a chore chart. We don’t keep tally of who’s doing what. Sometimes I cook more, sometimes she cleans more. Sometimes she writes more blog posts, sometimes I do most of our scheduling. There are times when one of us picks up a lot of slack because the other is feeling really blah. This is what partnership means to me. It means figuring out how to best support people in ways that make sense–not just following some legalistic structure just for the sake of being “right” or being “even.” We’re in this together. In my mind, there’s no success unless we’re both reaching our individual goals, so I’m willing to do whatever it takes….and I know she is too.
Our partnership requires us to have a great deal of trust and openness about a number of things, including our finances. We talk about ways to cut our grocery bill (we’ve done a fantastic job, btw), we talk about the challenges and stresses of trying to pay off debt, and we talk about our visions for the future–what it will feel like when we reach all our goals. There’s really nothing off limits, because we’ve both learned that there’s no way to reach financial freedom alone. This is a long-term process that I’m sure will extend beyond our time as roommates, so when I think about focusing on the little things–like who’s cooking or who took out the trash or who washed dishes–it seems silly. When Ricks and I talk about our blog, our home, etc., there’s a lot of “we” talk, because if something doesn’t go well or doesn’t get done, there’s no pointing fingers. We usually ask, “ok so what do WE need to do?”
When you’ve decided to partner with someone, you agree to create a space where each person’s talents, time, and treasure can be used for the good of you both. You submit to being held accountable and you commit to being a cheerleader, a supporter, a hugger, a tissue bearer….whatever your partner needs. You truly learn what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” You check your ego and judgment at the door.