April 6, 2017
Every couple and family that we work with has
a story many, many stories. There are happy ones and sad ones, long ones and short ones, stories that make us double over in laughter, and stories that let us see depths of despair. We love learning the story of each of our couples and families — it’s one of our favorite parts about our work. But we are not storytellers. We are story-documenters.
When we realized this, we knew that we should document ours as well. The Radian Story is the story of us, Radhika and Ian. From the day we were born to where we stand now, this is our story from babies to bride & groom.
Part 10: It’s a Wonderful Life (Or The One We Didn’t Want to Write)
For the past two and a half months, we’ve relived our relationship through The Radian Story. Regardless of how tired we were (Daylight Savings!) or how busy we got (that one weekend that we had five sessions…), we traveled through time to write our story. We included the good and the bad, the cute and the SUPER cute.
But along the way, something happened. In a several different instances when out in public, people started to recognize us. “Hey! Are you Radian?” they would ask. While we felt both surprised and flattered, what was really unnerving is that a few of these people would have what we like to call a “Joe Kwon” moment.
Quick trip down memory lane: On one Autumn trip to Asheville, one of the best places in NC, we ran into Joe Kwon, who is a member of one of our absolute favorite bands, the Avett Brothers. We fan-girled and -boyed out, got a photo with him, and felt gushy for the rest of the day. BUT — Joe Kwon is just a regular human being and was just living his life with his friends (who we stole him away from for a quick minute for said picture). While he certainly deserves respect and admiration, it took us a while to recognize that he is just a person (Joe Kwon, if you’re reading this, we don’t really mean that. Okay, we do. But not really, okay?).
So when people started to recognize us out in public, we had two immediate thoughts: #1: We absolutely can never argue in public again! And more seriously, #2: We are regular people, and we need to make sure people know that we are regular people. We never want to seem like something we’re not. We don’t live perfect, minimalist, all-white lives, we’re real humans, and we’d much rather put that out there than let you think that we have already achieved what we strive for: an intentional and beautiful life that is built from the ground up.
This is the post we didn’t want to write. And even though this series is ending, we’re writing this in the middle of our real-life story: one that’s filled with good moments, bad moments, cute moments, and SUPER cute moments.
From Ian’s perspective
One thing I know for sure: Radhika is the best partner I could have hoped for. We compliment each other perfectly—our Myers Briggs profiles are exact opposites. I get really excited about things that we could do together and she knows how to make those things happen. I’m always excited for new things; she’s fiercely loyal to the things she’s already decided are worthwhile. She’s got all the plans worked out perfectly and I figure out how to roll with the punches when things go wrong. She is our family historian: where I’m content with taking an iPhone on trips, she lugs around the big guns to make sure we have photos that we’ll treasure forever. The Radian Story or our one-a-day journal? Definitely wouldn’t have happened without her. We share a passion for making the world a better place, but while I’m focused on the vision of a better world, she’s focused on building the structures that make it a reality. It’s easy to have ideas, but I truly admire her ability to be practical, to always think about making things happen. It means the world is better, it means our family is better. It means that I can be better.
But she’s not perfect.
She can’t really deal with change. Her playlist of songs is perpetually five years old, and she cycles through them on repeat. She barely lets me play anything new in the car, and there’s only so many times you can listen to ‘All Night’ by Beyonce. I actually consider it a challenge to get a new song into her rotation and the last time I succeeded was probably 2015. Because she does 298,401 things, her calendar is pretty strict. Adding a last-minute engagement or, God forbid, trying to reschedule something that’s already there, usually involves more stress than it’s worth. This can be really hard for someone like me who is always on the look-out for new experiences. Things that feel spontaneous and exciting to me look last-minute and haphazard to her. Except when it involves anything she “loves,” like lavender…or baby animals. My lovely wife literally made us drive to Hillsborough a few weekends ago to buy lavender plants and I’ve never seen someone lose their mind faster over sparkling water that’s flavored with lavender because she’s just that bougie. I don’t even want to get into how much lavender costs. Last week, she brought home a stray kitten that she found because she couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it out in the rain. Guess who cleans out the litter boxes?
She’s not the only flawed one here, though.
I’m not that great at forethought. Things aren’t typically salient in my head until a day or two before they happen, if I’m lucky. I do all the cooking, but routinely don’t realize I’m out of something until I try to use it and find it unavailable. I have a lot of ideas about fun things to do with little follow-through. I’ve paid my fair share of express shipping charges for anniversary or birthday or Christmas gifts. All of that can get pretty tiring for someone who usually finds the follow-through and forethought more important than the activity itself. What’s the point of thinking about something if it’s not going to happen?
Being opposites is incredibly challenging.
I routinely find myself having to choose between my own instincts and my relationship with my wife. I have moments in my head where it feels like I’ve found my hill to die on and I’ll never relent. But in the end, my marriage prevails. I choose my marriage. I’ve seen the power of our relationship when we click, when we meet each other where we are, when we work together to create something wonderful. I know my wife is amazing. I know that to her, I’m amazing. We see in each other an outlook on life that is new and different and special. We appreciate each other’s quirks, even though sometimes they feel like flaws. We know that, even though it takes work, what we can do together is so much greater, so much more incredible, than anything we could accomplish alone.
From Radhika’s perspective
One thing I know for sure: Ian is the best partner I could have hoped for. He is the definition of love through acts of service. When we first started dating, he bought me a can opener – yes, a can opener – because he noticed that I was having trouble using the janky old one in the apartment I shared with my three college roommates. I don’t know what it is about a 20-year-old buying a can opener for his girlfriend that makes me tear up, but it does. Eight years later, that can opener is still in our kitchen (it was that good). And he uses it to feed our pup the perfect mix of wet and dry food, open cans of coconut milk for my coffee when I decide to do another Whole 30, and pry open black beans for the perfect chili dinner on cold Fall nights…or on every other night of the year (did I mention that I don’t cook?). This is Ian. He is love done well. People might say that I’m a ‘boss’ or wonder at how I juggle all of the things I do. It’s not really a secret. I wouldn’t be able to do those things without Ian. Without his excitement over my dreams, they would remain just that – dreams. Our travels, our business, and our #puppygirliris would have remained in draft mode, never a full part of our story, if he didn’t push us to write them in. He is the can opener for my life.
But he’s not perfect.
He watches The Office and listens to Game of Thrones. On repeat. Like…all the time. It’s a lot. The boy is as distractible as a dog who’s seen a squirrel. It requires post-its, an app, and usually some firm words to get him to take care of the smallest tasks. And he will still forget things that he needs to buy from the grocery store. Like, hello? When do we not need avocados? He once left his favorite shirt, the last piece of laundry he needed to put away, on top of Iris’s crate (probably because he found something equally urgent to do), and then was surprised to find that she had pulled it inside and chewed it up. When he casually drops events he’s going to into our shared calendar (last minute, usually on Friday nights), he forgets to tell me about them and appears to think they are magically dropped into my brain at the same time. He is perpetually late, and here’s why: he always underestimates the amount of time it takes him to get ready. I’m not saying it’s exorbitant or anything – it’s just not “only 3 minutes!” And oh, the gadgets. A lot of people think that women rule the online shopping world, but that is not true in our home. I have come home to everything from a sous vide to “tools” (I think?) and the only thing that is clear to me is that we should probably go ahead and buy some stock in Amazon at this point.
He’s not the only flawed one here, though.
I’m not that great at being flexible, and I freak out a little if things aren’t done just right (thanking my mom for that trait). I worry all the time and it leads me to do too much working all the time. I often choose to work through our evening time together and find it hard to stop when my to-do list isn’t tackled. Sometimes, I buy “us” presents for anniversaries, except they’re actually for me (but to be fair, if you read the part above, you know that Ian already ordered everything he wanted from Amazon anyway…and who doesn’t want another print from The Old Try??). I do not like cooking. Ironically, we fell in love while cooking together, but I just cannot with that anymore. And while I’m happy to clean all of the other rooms in our home, you probably won’t catch me washing dishes either. They say the definition of insanity is doing something again and again and expecting a different result. Well, that’s how I feel about washing dishes.
Being opposites is incredibly challenging.
I routinely find myself having to choose between my own instincts and my relationship with my husband. I have moments in my head where it feels like I’ve found my hill to die on and I’ll never relent. But in the end, my marriage prevails. I choose my marriage. I’ve seen the power of our relationship when we click, when we meet each other where we are, when we work together to create something wonderful. I know my husband is amazing. I know that to him, I’m amazing. We see in each other an outlook on life that is new and different and special. We appreciate each other’s quirks, even though sometimes they feel like flaws. We know that, even though it takes work, what we can do together is so much greater, so much more incredible, than anything we could accomplish alone.