[After] almost a decade and a half as a couple, I guess we consider each other somewhat of an authority on the matter. We have worked together off and on, have two children. We have learned together how to juggle the work-life balance of two executive chefs who are also parents. Relationships are hard and take work, but there is nothing more valuable or settling than knowing you have someone you can rely on no matter what. Here are some rules that keep us together, alive and still in love. — Ginger Pierce and Preston Madson, Jams
1. Work is work, home is home.
For two chefs who have worked with each other more often than not, this is a very important distinction. We have always made it a high priority to engage each other in a professional manner at work. We also have made sure to compete as heartily with each other as we would with any other worthy adversary. That being said, you can't bring the competition home at the end of the day, and whatever it is that happened that day that may have pissed you off, don't let it roll over into your home life. We can't say we never talk about work or food, because that would be impossible, but that negative shit, you have to check it at the door.
2. Forgive, but don't forget.
Mistakes happen. Nobody's perfect. Let it the fuck go. Move on. Don't forget it, though. Selective memory doesn't do you any favors in a long-term relationship. Remember the mistakes you made and be willing to learn from them. History forgotten has a tendency of repeating.
3. Share the success, share the loss.
It is so important to celebrate each others success. Even small successes. For us our achievements can often be intertwined, so we don't always take the time to congratulate each other properly. It is important to make the effort to call out the contributions of each individual in a shared win. Additionally, any long standing relationship will surely be rife with disappointment, failure, and loss. Learning to cope with these together is an absolute necessity. It's so important to make sure your partner feels valued by you, especially in the darkest of moments.
4. Push each other where it counts.
Good partners know when to push you and when to back off. Push each other when it really matters. Things like challenging yourself, trying new things, being healthy, having good habits, being a better person. Don't push each other when it doesn't really matter. If it's not a big deal, leave it alone, let it go.
5. Be friends first.
A good partner is your best friend, and you can't forget it. Make sure that you keep this friendship going by giving it the time it deserves. Everyone does this differently. Sometimes it's shared interests, tennis or bowling, dinner out, pinball or just send each other memes. (In our case, a shit load of memes.) Whatever it takes to keep the friendship alive.
6. When in doubt, laugh like a motherfucker.
Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball that knocks you straight in the teeth. There may be no solution at all. Your house may be flooding, drywall could be falling from the ceiling, maybe your head gasket just blew on the way to an important event. Some problems present no immediate solution. The ability to laugh together, or at each other, can carry you through many a crisis. These crises will also serve as laughter down the road.