This coming week is my fiance, Scott, and my 8 year anniversary! 8 years! That’s so insane, it’s been almost a decade since we met and fell in love and I can’t wait for the next hundred years together.
So, in honor of our anniversary I thought I would write some tips on love and relationships this month. I’m not going to say our relationship is perfect, because it’s not however I think we do pretty damn well and I think it’s amazing that even after all this time, I still actually like the guy and hate hate hate being apart from him.
One of the most important things I can say about having a successful relationship is that you need to talk. I wrote last year in my Weekly Tips: Relationships post about talking as well. Here is a summarized version of what I wrote:
When I talk to friends or family or read on blogs/twitter about people complaining or asking for advice on their relationship, I get very frustrated. So many times I read/get told about how they don’t like x or y that their significant other does. And they always tell me they haven’t talked to their partner about their problem. Seriously, if you don’t feel comfortable bringing up a discussion about anything and everything with your partner there’s a problem. I tell my fiance everything. If I’m annoyed by something he’s doing, he knows it. If there’s something I think we need to fix in our relationship, I tell him. If he’s not paying enough attention to me, I tell him. If I don’t feel like kissing or cuddling, he knows. If I want more of something from him, I tell him.
You need to talk about the good and the bad, the doubt and the love, the ugly and the beautiful.
2- Find someone who understands.
I’ve known a lot of people who are in relationships where their significant other doesn’t understand something about them. Most specifically, depression, anxiety, OCD or other mental illnesses. They aren’t supportive or loving or they think it’s all “in your head” and so not only do you not talk (see tip #1), but having the most important person in your life not understand something so deeply a part of who you are can be tough. And probably something to avoid, in my opinion.
3- You don’t always have to be two peas in a pod.
It’s fantastic to be in a relationship with someone that you have similar interest to. Honestly, to a point it’s essential but that doesn’t mean you always both have to like the exact same things all the time. My fiance, Scott, is a huge gamer and I like games but I don’t feel like playing as often as he does. And that’s okay. It’s also okay that he’s not as in to blogging as I am. We spend a lot of nights sitting at our respective computers doing what we enjoy but still being together and talking.
4- Discuss the important things
Religion, politics, kids. Even if you don’t realize it right now, there are beliefs and dreams and goals you have that are ‘deal breakers’. You should discuss these important topics with your significant other, you don’t want to end up in a situation of being pregnant and finding out you have completely different ideals and morals. If you feel like you can’t talk about these things, you’re afraid of the reaction if you bring something up, that’s not a great sign either.
5- Go out every week.
My fiance and I spend a lot of time together. We’re currently expecting our first child so we’ve had each others attention for the past 8 years. But we still make time to go out on little coffee dates weekly and we will keep doing so even after we have kids. Even though we spend every day together, it’s nice to have some time set aside that we know is just for us being together and enjoying each other without having to worry about anything else.
6- Be independent.
Love is great but let yourself be independent. Don’t be in a relationship that you have to run everything by the other person, you don’t want to have to check in constantly or do things a certain way just because your other half wants it done that way. Compromise to a point, but still let yourself be your own person, have your own life and don’t let your other half change you to a worse you.
7- Be patient and don’t hold grudges.
There will be times when you fight or argue or just plain don’t like each other. I’ll admit that I’m notorious for telling my fiance that I love him but that I don’t like him right at that moment and that’s perfectly fine. Thankfully, he’s learned to be patient and I never hold grudges so even when we do argue (very very often) or are annoyed with each other, it’s over in a few hours or the next morning. Don’t hold a grudge with your significant other and pay attention to what they are feeling during an argument or rough patch too and be patient with their attitude and/or need for space.
8- Be spontaneous.
In the romance department. Buy each other little gifts, flowers or chocolate for no reason at all. Make your other half breakfast in bed (even if it’s just cereal and coffee!), give them a hug randomly or randomly tell them you love them for no reason at all. Let them know you’re thinking about them at the most random times of the day and that you appreciate them.
9-Have a marriage centered relationship.
Now, most of the things I’ve read about marriage centered relationships are from religious articles and sources but there’s no reason you have to be religious or Christian to have a marriage centered relationship. This is kind of a controversial topic I think but in my opinion it’s really important. Most people, after having kids tend to shift their focus to their children instead of their partner, which is great…until you get lost and your relationship with your partner suffers. If you have a rocky relationship with your partner and father/mother of your children, they will know and their lives will suffer too. Give yourself time to go on weekly dates, be spontaneous and patient and remember you love each other.
10- A good relationship can handle any distance.
I’m going to be honest, any sort of distance for any length of time is a total bitch. It’s hard and testing and sad. My fiance and I were long distance (500+miles) for over 6 years and it was the worst. But, not only did we survive…we are a better couple because of it. You learn so much about a person and discuss topics you might not in person when all you can do is actually ya know…talk.
Try working on a project together…paint a room, write a book(or short story), build a bookshelf. How did it go? Were you frustrated with each other or did you have fun and enjoy it? You should enjoy it. This brings us back to talking and patience. If you enjoy collaborating and working on the little things with each other, it will be easier to work on your relationship and feel supported by your partner in your own ventures.
12- Adventures can spice things up.
If you’re bored in your personal daily life, you might end up bored in your relationship and that’s never a fun place to be! We all get bored, even if your relationship is solid and you work on it but daily routines can become boring. A change of scenery and a break of the mundane can liven up your life and your relationship. Take a weekend and hop in the car, drive in one direction for a few hours and see where you two end up. Find a new store to wander in, a new park to check out, go on a picnic if you haven’t in a while or go ice skating on a whim. Switch it up.
13- Be silly.
Yes, we all need to grow up at some point but we don’t always have to act like grown ups. Be as silly as you want to be with your other half, because they won’t judge you and it’s fun. Tickle each other, wrestle, make jokes and make funny faces for no reason. Don’t be afraid to let yourself go and just enjoy.
14- Respect and family.
Family is one of the most important things in life, so don’t rock the boat with your partner’s family! How they feel about you can and will impact your relationship. Be a good person, be respective and try to make relationships with their parents and siblings.
My most important and repeated tip. Just talk.
There are so many ways to have a great relationship but even if you feel like soul mates, it takes work. It will always take work and more importantly…you need to want to take the time and energy to do the work involved. Don’t become complacent, or bored. You need to want to love and enjoy your partner for life. I hope these tips help you in your current and future relationships!
I’d like to thank my awesome fiance, Scott, for helping me out with this list of tips!