What marriage has taught me about relationships and love (so far)

November 22, 2013 LifeThoughts  One comment

 

My husband, Andrew, and I have been married for about two and a half years, but we have been together for seven years (since I was fifteen) and have lived together for about five.

I will admit that I have a pretty awesome husband and we have a solid relationship. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take work and effort. Which leads me to my first point …

It takes effort.

That’s the understatement of the year, isn’t it?

No matter how strongly you feel towards your spouse/partner/significant other (‘sig oths’ as Schmidt would say, thank you Thought Catalog), life has a really great way of getting in the way. Despite what Nicholas Sparks would have you believe, romance can and will get lost in the hectic hustle and bustle of errands, laundry, kids/pets, and work. Especially if you live together, it is all too easy to fall into the routine of being roommates.

Don’t think that you won’t have to work for it.

That being said, you have to make a conscious effort to connect with your S.O. That means putting down the phone, turning down the music, and pulling your eyes away from the screen. Make eye contact and engage. Caring about what they have going on at work or listening about the crazy video they watched on YouTube. Maybe that’s every morning over coffee, or while making dinner, or maybe it’s weekly at date night.

This also applies to sex. Now, I’m not saying sweatpants are evil or a bad thing (I love mine), but every once in a while shave your legs, brush your teeth, take some Advil for your ‘headache’, put on something cute/sexy and get busy. Shake things up. This can only ever be a good thing. I promise.

The warm and fuzzies will come and go, but commitment stays the same.

Some people mistakenly think that as soon as the butterflies and ability to have a conversation with each other without your heartbeat speeding up means that the relationships isn’t going to work or that they aren’t meant for each other.

These are lies, I tell you! Lies!

In a long-term relationship, the warm and fuzzies will come and go. And that’s okay. Listen, if you were constantly infatuated with each other – you would never get anything else done.

If you feel like it’s been too long since you’ve felt all light-headed and out of breath when you think about your S.O. then work to get them back. How do you do this, you ask?

Focus on the good.

Instead of bitching about how your S.O. never puts their dishes in the dishwasher or how they take forever to get ready and always make you late or how they drive makes you absolutely NUTS (guilty), focus on what you fell in love with in the first place.

Remember the things about your S.O. that made you swoon and gush to your friends about. Remember how you love their hugs, how they are really good with money, how they are hard-working or passionate or loving. Whatever those good things were/are – remember them and focus on them! And crazy thought here – compliment them on it!

And for goodness sakes, stop the constant cycle of tearing each other down. Nothing good comes from constantly nit-picking and making nasty comments about how much weight they’ve gained or how they can never manage to pick up their dirty laundry off the floor. Especially in front of other people and especially, especially on social media.

Now, for those times you do need to vent – that’s what your therapist or your best friend is for. Not your mom or your cubicle-mate or the random guy on the bus. Vent to someone who is on your side, yet objective. Someone whose opinion of your S.O. won’t be affected by your comments. Someone who understands that people are people and that everyone has flaws. And for problems that need to be dealt with …. well, I’ll address that in my next post.

Also, remember that while the rush and excitement of the newness at the start of a relationship is exhilarating, there is something so solid and whole and romantic about the bonds between two people as they grow together and build a life together. There is an intimacy there – in the everyday – that can’t be found in a new relationship. So when you’re feeling that what you share in a relationship that you’ve been in for ‘x’ amount of years is boring and mundane, remember that what you share with your S.O. is even more special than the explosion of feelings you felt at the beginning.

The importance of date night.

Dinner and a movie are our go-to but every once in a while, put in the time and effort to plan something new and unexpected. Go to a new restaurant in a new city. Have a day-time coffee date. Go for a hike. You get it.

Dress up like it’s your first date, hold hands, and snuggle. Be present and aware like you were when you first got together.

   Date night in Royal Oak

Date night in Royal Oak

Actually have a conversation over dinner that’s not about what needs to be done around the house, the kids next sporting event, or how the car really needs an oil-change. Listen, these things are important to talk about and need to be discussed (you two do share a life together, after all), but not for the ENTIRE duration of date night. So what should you do? …

Check in with each other.

Talk instead about how work is going, plans for the future, dreams and goals of yours, how your relationship is going, that movie you watched last night, where you should go for your next vacation, etc.

Speaking of vacation, weekend getaways for two are the perfect way to reconnect and recharge those romantic feelings towards each other. Leave the kids, the dog, and your responsibilities at home.

Every six months or so, talk about how your relationship is going and how it can be improved.

Never stop fighting for each other.

I mean this in every sense of the word – fight. Fight to make them a priority in your mind, your heart, and your schedule. Fight for them in front of your friends, family, co-workers – brag about how awesome they are, how awesome your husband/boyfriend is for fixing the garbage disposal or cooking dinner, how sweet your wife/girlfriend is for packing you your lunch or picking up your favorite brand of soda from the grocery store. Defend them, support them, back them up, root for them.

Fight for the things they want in life. Fight for them to accomplish their goals and pursue their dreams.

Never stop.

I’ve got a lot more to say about this topic than I thought I did, so stay tuned next week for Part II of What marriage has taught me about relationships and love (so far). But for now I will leave you with the most important thing I have learned about relationships/marriage/love…

Love is constant and enduring. Love means that sometimes you are standing next to each other walking in the same direction and sometimes love means standing back-to-back fighting off monsters. Love means that sometimes you are the one who is leading the way, pulling the other person forward. Love means that sometimes you are the one pushing from behind. Love means that when you are weak, your other half will be strong for you. Love means that you are protected and accepted no matter what. Love means that you are in it together – always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Part II and Part III of What marriage has taught me about relationships and love (so far)

Until next time, farewell, and may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.

Featured image (top of post) by Stephanie Decker, BP Studio.

 

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