I met my husband Drew at a wedding in October of 2012. A few months later we began dating exclusively, long distance. On our two year dating anniversary we became engaged, and 10 months later we were married on October 17th, 2015. Coming up on our 5th wedding anniversary, I was thinking about the things we have learned in our relationship since we started dating.
Relationships can be hard, and while I’m not claiming to be an expert on the topic, I do have a lot of experience. I’d love to share with you some tips that have kept our relationship in an amazing partnership, even after eight years.
- Communication Drew and I dated long distance and well, we got the communication thing down quickly. It can be difficult when two people are trying to figure out how to communicate and how to express their emotions clearly. When we got married and lived together for the first time (not to mention our first time living in the same state) it was an adjustment. We went from great communication – because that’s all we had during long distance – to not communicating so well. We started using our actions, and we had begun to assume that we knew what the other person was feeling, thinking, or doing. Don’t do that, don’t assume. That’s where problems begin. It seems simple, but don’t try and figure the other person out, that gets messy. Ask your partner clearly when you’re confused or unsure of what’s going on. We soon realized, after moving in together and having a bit of an adjustment period, that our communication had changed. So we sat down and figured it out together. Being honest, upfront and communicating your feelings clearly, and at a time when you are not emotionally charged (upset, sad, hurt, angry, etc.) will not only clear things up, but it will strengthen your relationship. You are a partnership, you’re in this together. Communication is key.
- Ask, Don’t Tell Do you like it when someone tells you what to do? No? Me either. In fact, if you tell me to do something I will likely not do it just because you told me to. #middlechildprobs However, in a relationship, it’s no different. Nobody wants to do the dishes right? Drew and I take turns, he typically unloads the dishes and I load them, but if I get caught up at work I ask him politely if he would help me out and load them for me. If I had yelled at him or told him to do it that’s not fun or nice for anybody. Have you seen that movie The Breakup? Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn? Depressing, right? I always think of that line “I want you to want to do the dishes!” C’mon, nobody wants to do the dishes. I think the point Aniston’s character was trying to make was she needed help. She always did the dishes in the relationship and that’s not fair. It’s also not fair to tell someone to do the dishes. Remember, you are a team! You’re doing this thing called life together and let’s show some grace, be respectful and polite and help each other out. This also ties into tip #1, communication. Again, don’t assume and don’t have expectations, just communicate and ask, don’t tell.
- Never Stop Dating Your Partner I never fully understood this until we got married. When you’re with someone for a significant amount of time it is so easy to get comfortable. You live together, you see each other all of the time, you do everything together. It is so important to schedule date nights. Drew and I try to have date night once a week. Our lives get so busy and hectic and sometimes we skip a couple of date nights, but we appreciate it when we have it. Date night gives us something to look forward to, to mix up our regular weekly schedule. It’s something fun to do! Get out of the house, go out and do something fun. Even if it’s dinner at your regular spot, or drinks at your favorite bar, or picnicking at a park – just do it. Make the effort. Don’t stop falling in love with each other because you’re already in love – keep the fire burning. Get creative and have fun with it.
- Be Yourself I asked Drew if he had anything to pitch in for this blog topic and he said “to be yourself”. This one is so true. If you don’t feel like you can be yourself with someone you’re dating, that person is not the one for you. Be okay with being your true self with someone while you are dating and just know that if it doesn’t work out, there is a better fit for you out there. I think this also goes along with the fact that dating should be easy. If it’s too hard or you find yourselves playing games – just cut your ties now and move on. If it’s not easy in the beginning it’s never going to be easy.
- Take Time for Yourself This one is something that I know a lot of women struggle with – myself included. It is so important to make yourself a priority. It’s healthy for you and your relationship to take time apart. Take a trip with friends, or dinner with the girls, or whatever it is you’d like to do. You don’t always have to do everything together and you probably shouldn’t. Give yourselves the space you need to appreciate your relationship. When I take a weekend with my girl friends, I come home missing Drew terribly. It’s nice to be reminded of how much you love someone when you spend time apart.
I hope these tips are helpful! At the end of the day, you know what is best for you and what is best for your relationship. Stay true to yourself and trust your instincts.
>>> Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary to my incredible husband, I love you babe.