Because we've hit such a milestone, I wanted to take a minute to talk about our years together and how far we've come as a couple and as individuals. Both Jason and I took a moment to write a little about how much has happened during our years together, and I'd like to share that with you today.
How have you seen your partner grow as an individual?
Jason on Kerstin:
When I look back on our five years together, it takes all of my energy not to smile. Not only because we have become very close during the relationship, but I have seen my best friend grow, right in front of me. When I first met Kerstin, she reminded me of a duck on a pond. On the exterior, she had this calming, cool presence about her. However, her feet were always churning a mile a minute. The girl who winced when it came to sudden changes, now embraces them and sees them as part of the journey. She was cautious, nervous and more importantly, scared. She was afraid of the power she could yield. She was scared of being alone, but more importantly, she was scared of her shadow at times. To see her get out of her own way when it comes to friendships, to her career and more importantly, to herself is so amazing to see. The exciting part is: this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am relishing the chance to see what this amazing, confident WOMAN is capable of in the future.Kerstin on Jason:
I have been fortunate to watch Jason truly grow as a person. When I first met him, he was young and in many ways immature about life. But through the last five years, I've watched him overcome some incredible challenges with hard work, determination and a lot of heat and soul. He's turned into a strong, loving and capable man right in front of my eyes and I couldn't be any more proud of him!
How have you grown as a couple?
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. While we started off very rocky and uncertain, things have turned for the better. I know that a lot of couples put on rose shaded glasses when they are discussing their relationship. And lets face it: nobody wants to be told they are making the wrong decisions. However, in the course of our five years, we made A LOT OF WRONG DECISIONS. Whether they were financially, emotionally or intellectually wrong, we took the time to learn from them and grow. Our formative years remind me of a rabid dog. Now that you have stopped chuckling, let me explain. We as a couple would receive news or a situation and react rather than calmly discussing it. Along the way we lost friends, jobs and money but always seemed to make it out on top. Now I see our love and growth as a tortoise. Slow and steady, we always talk things through and can rely on one another.Kerstin:
I have to say, we started out as an incredibly passionate and confused couple. Passionate about being together, but confused about what we wanted from this relationship. It created a lot of obstacles for us in the beginning, but it also forced us to figure ourselves out as a couple. There were a lot of tears, a lot of screaming matches and a lot of times I thought we weren't going to make it. But we did make it and we're stronger because of it. I feel incredibly lucky to be with someone who has seen me through an incredibly difficult and challenging time in my life and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us.
What is your favorite memory together?
That is a tough question. While I savor most moments together, there are a few that stand out to me. We've had those longing looks before going to bed, songs that we have made up or times we had make each other laugh. But my favorite memory is always when we are on the road. During our first year together, we decided to drive from Astoria to Brookings and finished up the trip at Crater Lake. Along the Oregon coast, we stopped and camped along the way. The night we stayed at Beverly Beach was magical. We grabbed a couple of blankets and watched the sunset after enjoying the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the sand. After the sun set, most people headed to their campsites while we just talked. The way that teenagers talk on the phone. We talked all night about our future and how happy the Oregon coast makes us. We made jokes and shared some of our most intimate secrets. The beach holds a trance on us. We have always had our hearts at the beach. Whenever one of us is feeling down and/or needs to recharge their batteries...we always head to the beach. We let our stress and worries fall away. I could never asked for such a wonderful memory.Kerstin:
There are too many wonderful memories to count, but I have to say one of my favorite memories comes from when we were first dating. We were laying in bed on a cold, rainy November night. We had a crazy neighbor who liked to lean out of her basement apartment window. She rolled around the apartment parking lot on an old office chair, bundled up in a sleeping bag, singing random songs. On this particular night, we were bored.... so we started to make up a song about her to the tune of "Butterfly Kisses" (the worst song in the world, according to both of us). After 40 minutes of crafting and singing the perfect song, we were in tears from laughing so hard. Every once in a while, one of us will randomly start singing a few verses to the other which always causes us to burst out laughing. It reminds me of how much fun we can have together out of something so simple.
What is the most important thing you believe you share in your relationship?
Honesty. I am always able to share my thoughts, fears, concerns and triumphs with Kerstin. I have never met a person who I can open my soul to as much as her. She has this calming presence that I know that whenever I have a thought, it comes with no judgement or preconceived notions. I know that our home is a safe sanctuary where anyone can come into it and feel that we cast no doubts upon them. We share that great aspect that will always help us grow and mature together.Kerstin:
Laughter and Honesty. I know the question says "thing" but I think both of these are equally important. I love that I can come out and tell Jason exactly how I feel, and we can have a conversation about it, and visa versa. Because we can be so honest with each other, I know there are no hidden feelings about any of our fights or decisions. Laughter is also key to me for a healthy, lasting relationship. If you can't laugh with each other about life, then what are you doing?
Where do you see yourselves as a couple in the next five years?
I see ourselves in a completely different situation in five years. Along with growing together even more. I see ourselves settled down somewhere and having roots entrenched somewhere. I am not going to give us any limitations but I want the house/car/dog wherever life places us. Our careers will be in full swing and we will be saving our money to attack the next step in our lives. I want our passports and photo albums to be full of life, love and adventure. Of course being engaged will be the next step....to be continued.Kerstin:
If you would have asked me this question five years ago, I would have said, "Married with kids and a house." But life has taught me a lesson or two about over planning. I would love to be married. Kids, that could happen... maybe not. A house, would be lovely. But honestly, in the next five years I would just be happy if we were together, taking on the world and laughing our way through life.
But seriously Jason.... an engagement ring would be nice :)We wrote the answers to these questions separately, and I copied and pasted Jason's into the blog without reading them until I was done editing pictures and getting everything in order for this post. I can't believe how succinct, yet different our answers are. I feel like in many ways we are on the same page, yet we see things through different perspectives and that helps us each grow as a couple.
If you would have asked us to answer these questions five years ago, they would have been all over the place. I attribute our succinctness to honesty and openness. I don't think we would be in this place without either of those things.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did!