We first met Annika and Mike last year at Elise and Travis's wedding. We were setting up a family portrait and someone made a joke about the groom's sister and her long-standing boyfriend being next. She blushed and he shook his head and smiled. I chatted with them and learned that Annika and Mike had been dating for five years, Annika was in Med school, and though they were incredibly busy, they had a sweetness to their relationship that anyone would want.
Annika is currently traveling to a rotation in Utah, Mike is in Wisconsin, and still, amid stress and time constraints, they are kind and thoughtful to each other. No they aren't perfect people! They have to work to make their relationship sweet during busy seasons of life. Here are Annika's top five tips for making your relationship thrive when life is busy:
Five tips for a healthy relationship when life is busy
Relationship tip #1: The people you love matter the most in life
With a busy schedule, it is easy to get wrapped up in the many commitments and it can completely consume you. However, I soon realized that success is not possible without a support system and I don’t have to choose one or the other. In fact, fully committing myself to both has lead to me feeling grounded and truly happy.
Relationship tip #2: Trust is essential
In medical school, your life is very hectic and chaotic, making any long term plans nearly impossible. This leads to anxiety on both ends, fearing the “unknown.” However, as Mike has always reminded me “no matter what, we will be together in the end and that’s all that matters.” If you truly trust one another, it eliminates the anxiety of the “unknown” and allows you to live in the present and appreciate what you have.
Relationship tip #3: value the time you have together
Often, I will be gone for a month or longer on rotations and we will not get to see each other for an extended period of time. This can be extremely difficult, but we learned to deal with this by truly valuing the time we have together. As cliché as it sounds the distance actually does make you appreciate each other more. When we see each other, we don’t fret about the small things or take anything too seriously because we know our time is limited.
Relationship tip #4: Talk daily
Set aside time to talk every day, even if you are not together physically. Again, separation is hard and sometimes you feel that you are “living two separate lives.” That is why we have found it so important to commit to talking EVERY day, even if it’s just for five minutes. Consistently chatting on a daily basis allows us to feel connected on each other’s lives. Even on nights that I get home from the hospital at midnight, I still call Mike before I fall asleep and remind him that I love him.
Relationship tip #5: Compromise!
A healthy relationship is about happiness on BOTH ends. This means fully supporting both people’s goals. We are both motivated people and have some crazy long-term dreams. However, that is what we love most about each other. Never forget that a relationship is a team and you’re both in it together, forever.