June 10, 2020 Opinion

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Lauren Morgan Patrick is a native Southerner and the editor of Pretty Southern.com. She's on a mission to change the world. #LovetheSouth #GoDawgs Follow Lauren on Twitter

My birthday is coming up and it’s making me feel all sorts of feels. I’d hoped to have a big blow out party (dba “The Revival”) as Kevin and I are also celebrating 10 years of owning our house + 10 years of marriage this fall.

I said a lot of hurtful things in the early years of our marriage, partly because I was young (I was only 25 when we got married) and the other because I was stressed the f*ck out. Kevin quit his full-time job to start Exomotive only a few months into our marriage, and I was also unemployed at the time (on severance from AutoTrader’s layoffs) and had just launched Pretty Southern.

But we were able to work through it, like so many other things.

He’s always been an early bird, and I’m a night owl. He’s an introvert, and well, you know me. We continue to find new common ground depending on the circumstances. He’s my favorite travel buddy (pre-COVID), we learned how to ski together, cook together while listening to ridiculous music on Alexa (no joke – last week it was Zydeco while making shrimp etouffee in the Instapot).

What I’ve seen from other relationships, knowing way too many 30-somethings who already got divorced, is that they fail to evolve from the fun times they had in their 20s to the next level of their relationship. I called it The 10 Year Curse. Like they partied together in college, got married because they’d already been together for five years, then split after a couple of years of marriage. Or on the opposite side, they dated their senior year, lived together for seven years, then get married and a few months later end up in couples counseling because maybe they never should have gotten married in the first place. Either way, they failed to make it to the decade mark of their relationship. This rule has a giant asterisk for if the couple has children, though not always the case. And for child custody matters, legal help coming from experts in this field like the professionals fromĀ Sisemore Law is very much needed.

My idea of The 10 Year Curse was legitimized by a researcher named Jennifer Petriglieri. I listened to her interview on the ZigZag podcast last fall (ironically when I was driving to Athens for one of Jonesy’s cancer treatments) which she expands on in her book Couples That Work. Jennifer’s thesis is there are three (3) phases she discovered a couple must navigate to keep their relationship and career intact. Kevin and I made it through our 20s and Phase 1 (which you and Anthony are now in) and I’m interested to see what happens now that my partner and I are both in Phase 2, our mid-30s (LAWD help us!)

I also can’t help but think of our dear Mr. Fink and the journey he and Mrs. Fink had. His wife was truly his partner, following him around the world (or staying home while he was on an adventure) but Sue loved Conrad so much, and he loved her. I remember seeing them on a date on a Friday night in Downtown Athens. They must have been in their late 70s at that point, but they still looked so smitten with each other. Then at his memorial service in Athens, and at a few other Grady events since then, she (kind of like Edith Hollander) just have such a misty look in their eyes as they speak of their beloved husbands.

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