This Thursday marks, our official, one year of dating. I am sharing the lessons I’ve learned from my experience together through our first year. Now, I know one year in the grand scheme of things is not a long time, but it is a memorable place to mark the the ways the relationship has grown. Here are 5 lessons after one year together.
- You must try everyday
- There are no days off here. You must actively choose to be with one another every day. Not only do you choose that, there are ways to improve the relationship at every step. For us, we try to do monthly check ins. We do this usually at a dinner date, when we are alone, and have time to talk without rushing or being upset. We ask how this last month has been, where we feel we did great, where we can improve. Overall, we discuss the relationship like a living thing, what makes it thrive, what makes it whither, and what role we as individuals play in keeping it alive. If you haven’t already try checking in with your partner; ask where they feel you are doing great and not so great as a partner. The answers might surprise you and spark much needed conversation.
- Similar interests are not everything, but they are important
- I can’t tell you how many times I’v read that having the same values as your partner is more important than what ice cream flavor they prefer, and they are right. I won’t deny that the big things like family, money, and lifestyles matter the most when keeping a relationship together. However, I believe it is underplayed how important it is to have similar interests, because if you can never decide on what to eat for dinner, what movie to watch, or what music to listen to on a road trip, those little things can become big things. I can’t imagine how annoying it would be to be with someone who never wants what you want for dessert, who never wants to go to a concert with you, or who never wants to see that play because they find it boring. You will never be the same person with all the same interests, but I believe you should have more similarities than differences to keep some peace between you.
- Have a life outside the relationship
- In a relationship you should be able to go from me to we, but often it is important to change the mindset and give the “we” a break. This ties into my similar interests point as well; you will never have all the same interests, so for those moments it is important to keep a network of friends, coworkers, and family to do things with without your partner. Make sure there is a world out there for “me” and not just “we.” In fact, you don’t have to wait to find activities your partner doesn’t like, you can choose to have a brunch date or girls’ night with your friends and encourage them to do the same.
- Be a friend before you’re a spouse
- Raise your hand if you have ever listened just long enough to respond with a solution! I will be the first to admit that it can be difficult to be present when listening to your partner. It is easy to half listen about your partner’s problem because we just want to fix it. I am sure guilty of this, I put in my ideas and thoughts about their problem instead of just taking the time for them to pour out their frustration. Be a friend first, let them vent just to vent, and don’t attempt to give advice unless they ask for it. It is important to make them feel hear and acknowledged before we try to solve the problem for them.
- Learn to talk to each other
- Communication is the key to all relationship success; we have all heard that. How do you know what effective communicating is? The truth is, it looks different for everyone. The important thing here is that you express your needs when it comes to communication. For example, I always try to be very punctual, so if my significant other is running late, they know to let me know ahead of time. This is one way to avoid arguing when he picks me up because he showed up 15 minutes later than I expected. The point here is to set expectations for things to communicate about. Start recognizing what things make you lose your shit and express them to your partner. Picking up on these communication points will help avoid the “Why didn’t you tell me that was today?” “How did you forget we had that this weekend?” Be honest, express your communication needs, and aim to follow through with their needs as well.
What things keep your relationship alive? Are you doing this or going to try this? Let me know!