Fifteen years, it’s a pretty long time. I’ve been with my husband since I was 19 years old. Just a baby, practically.
Our relationship hasn’t always been perfect, but it’s been perfect anyway.
If you want an enjoyable and loving relationship, here are 7.5 things that will help you:
1. Turn off the car radio.
Having good conversations keeps the connection alive.
Good conversations help you get to know each other — what you’re reading, what you’re talking about, what you think.
Silence in the car encourages thoughtful conversation, so turn off the car radio and chat. If you have nothing to say, get comfortable being silent together.
2. Make deals with each other.
You’re not always going to want to watch the same movies, or agree on the same restaurant, or do the same thing on Saturday afternoon.
Make deals with each other. Don’t immediately resort to doing your things separately—do them together—but make deals so that you each get what you want.
3. Take care of something together.
A plant, a fish, a cat, a dog. Love something together, outside of yourselves.
Care about something, and coordinate care for something, together. Be responsible, together. Think of this as one of those team-building exercises you’d do at work.
4. Listen to what they say when they’re angry.
And listen to what you say when you’re angry.
I know people say things “in the heat of the moment” that they “didn’t mean.”
But many times, we do mean what we say when we’re angry. Anger often brings out truth, it unburies buried feelings.
Listen to your partner’s words, as often as you can. You’ll either learn something about yourself or them.
5. Say ‘I love you’ every time you part.
Say ‘I love you’ often. It reinforces, in you and them, that they are important, loved, and cherished.
People like to hear that they are loved. Some days it will feel robotic and plain, others, it will be exactly the words you needed to hear or say.
Plus, if you get into the habit of saying ‘I love you’ every time you hang up the phone or leave the house, and you have a fight, not saying ‘I love you’ will feel awkward and unnecessarily mean. It encourages making up so you don’t have to skip normal habits.
6. Thank each other often.
Say ‘thank you’ if your partner does the dishes, or makes the bed, or buys the deodorant that you put on the grocery list.
You’ll never run out of ‘thank yous’ so there’s no reason to use them sparingly. Say ‘thank you’ and ‘good job’ and be genuine about it.
Your partner deserves to hear your gratitude and appreciation, spoken out loud.
7. Vent, appropriately.
It’s not appropriate to call your partner names like “selfish” or “rude” or “mean” or worse, to other people. If they are those things, please re-evaluate your relationship.
Otherwise, when you need to vent about your partner, do so appropriately. Talk about the miscommunication or misunderstanding, talk about your own frustration with getting your message across, don’t villainize your partner.
This serves two purposes: it keeps you from stacking your anger against your partner, and it keeps you from tainting their reputation to others — something that usually can’t be undone.
.5. Some people need to be dropped.
Friends, family, partners…
Choose wisely for a happy and successful relationship.