It seems like just yesterday that I met my husband. We were high school sweethearts and though it took me a little while to warm up to him, we caught up pretty quickly! This month marks seven wonderful years of marriage, and we’ve been in a relationship in some form or another for 15 years total. That’s half our lives!
I won’t say it’s always been easy. There were times we couldn’t stand the sight of each other. Huge fights and disagreements in which we could not come to any form of consensus and just had to agree to disagree in the end.
We’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. I spent tons of money before realizing how much debt we accumulated. I passed on these bad habits to him as well. We’ve been trying to start a family for about 3 years now with no success. It’s been hard on us but we try and stay strong and just keep hoping for better luck next time! Wish us luck! 🙂
Overall, I’d say that we’ve been satisfied and happy with our relationship. We’ve put in the hard work required to make a relationship work. He’s supported me through school. I’ve supported him while he tried out a few career changes that didn’t pan out. We’ve supported each other through emotional turmoil and rejoiced in the memories of our past triumphs and adventures.
We’ve done plenty of big and fun things. Taken amazing vacations, bought a new house and made it our home, and recently became an aunt and uncle. And I’m sure there are plenty more adventures to come!
What are our secrets for success? How have we managed to get through the worst of it and develop healthy habits to keep us going in the future?
Always Start with Friendship
We started out as friends. We had a period of time when we graduated high school that we gave each other some space and agreed to see other people when I left and he stayed in our home town, since we were both each others first serious relationship. We stayed close friends and talked often as well as visited with each other. We both tried dating other people, but finally realized we were meant to be with each other.
Practice Makes Perfect
This may be somewhat controversial, but I always knew you needed practice and time to make sure you were truly compatible before you got married. I knew I wanted to live with my significant other for at least a year before agreeing to marry them. The first year of living together on our own was hell. We fought. All. The. Time. It took what seemed like forever to get in sync with each others’ quirks and expectations. And it seemed the only way to settle anything was through yelling.
We finally settled down, but there are still things that come up that surprise us. We have finally worked out ways to argue a little more productively. We take a bit of space after all the yelling then try to talk about what we are really upset about and what we are feeling in the moment so it doesn’t become an “I hate you and you always….” argument.
Take a Break
You need to grow apart to grow together. The hubs and I are somewhat opposites. He likes to do everything with friends. Dinner, activities, vacations, you name it. I’d rather spend the time away from work unwinding at home most of the time with just the two of us. So on those days I just can’t face the world, he goes out without me. He gets to have fun away and I get to have fun at home (writing to you!).
You also need time away from the world together. Take a break, even if it’s just a staycation. Do things that are new for both of you. Go somewhere you’ve never been, even if it’s just to the park or a different restaurant. Try new activities, foods, topics of conversation. Don’t let yourselves get into a rut in which it’s always the same old, same old and you have nothing to say to each other.
Above All, Work Hard
Maintaining a relationship for any period of time takes work. Love is not enough to make it work. You have to want it. To never give up when it gets hard, because it will get hard at some point. You have to see the other person as human. They will mess up. They aren’t psychic and don’t know what you need in every moment. You have to tell them what you need, what you can’t deal with and work through it all together. If you can get over those hurdles and learn how to communicate with each other, you will build an extremely solid base for your relationship that will be hard to shake!
I’m so excited for what the next seven years, 15 years, lifetime will bring for my marriage. The love we have has only grown and deepened. I can’t even begin to imagine how it will be as we grow and build a family. What are your secrets to a successful relationship?