If you read my Visiting The Scottish Highlands post from Monday, then you know my fiancé and I celebrated our second engagement anniversary! So to jump off of that and keep the sappy theme going this week, I have this post for you. My fiancé and I have been together almost 8 years now, and though we (finally) have a wedding date set, it won’t be for another year and a half. But we’ve both learned a lot over the years about maintaining a long-term relationship, and heck – even just dating in general. So I’m going to pass on some knowledge so you can keep those relationships going strong.
To give you some background about us, we met in high school. Being the band nerds we are, we actually met during band camp over the summer.
** Que those “This one time at band camp…..” jokes that I’ve heard a million times! **
Back then I was a fairly outgoing person, so when I saw this cute upperclassman all by himself across the band room I obviously needed to go and say hi. To this day, Ethan has no memory of this whatsoever, much to my dismay! But long story short, he was rude as heck so I left his grumpy self all alone.
Fast forward a week and my friend at the time wanted to go see a movie over the weekend, but our parents weren’t able to take us for whatever reason. Those were the days right? When you had to rely on your parents to chauffeur you around? So we hatched a plan. Ask the upperclassman guy to come, then we’d be able to get picked up/dropped off because he had a car. So I used my Myspace stalking skills, acquired his cell number and the rest is history. Typical awkward high school romance am I right?
So now here we are, almost 8 years later. Engaged, date set, and tolerating one another pretty well. We make a joke with each other sometimes by saying “I tolerate you.” Instead of “I love you”. Cracks me up every time.
So what are our secrets? Well…
This is one of those “well, duh” points, but important to say anyway. Communicating means a lot of things. By genuinely communicating with one another – arguments and all – you stay open and honest with one another. If I have a problem, I tell him and vice versa. I am also just honest if he looks over and asks, “what are you thinking about?”. Even if the answer is something stupid like “That cat video I watched earlier”.
And we argue. I’m not talking yelling matches or anything, I’m talking about having a talk with each other about something we don’t agree on or we’re trying to work out an random issue. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s important to actually work it out rather than ignore the problem. Honestly, it’s impossible to agree with one another 100% of the time, so you should be disagreeing about something from time to time.
2) Keep “Dating”
After so many years together, we’re no longer head over heels in love all the time like we used to be in high school. We don’t have to impress one another all the time. We don’t need to be around each other 24/7. We get in our daily routines, and because we know the other person is going to be there if we need them, we don’t necessarily prioritize making the time for them. And that’s fine. But at some point, you’ll both feel ignored. So you have to make an actual effort to slip them some compliments, do nice things for each other, dress up just for them, make romantic gestures, etc. Don’t take one another for granted.
I’ll sometimes leave cute notes around the house, and he’ll surprise me with food. It’s the way to my heart guys what can I say? But doing those little things that mean “I love you” really makes a huge difference! With our crazy schedule and work hours (I have day work hours, while he’s back on restaurant time) I started “scheduling” weekly dates. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a meal/activity together without distractions (phone, tv, etc.), and at least once a week. Most of the time we end up cooking dinner together and just talk about how our days are going. Or we have a Netflix + pizza night.
3) Give Each Other Space
Just because we’re a couple doesn’t mean we have to do everything together all the time. He has his hobbies and I have mine. Sometimes I need time to decompress at the end of a long or stressful week, or he needs time to just do nothing after a busy shift at work. And that’s ok! Just because we need space doesn’t mean we don’t care for one another. We just don’t need to smother each other in love 24/7!
4) Say “I love you”
I never let him leave the house without throwing an “I love you” in his direction, regardless of if we’re arguing or not. Same before we go to sleep. And if either of us randomly gets in a lovey-dovey mood, we let the other know and proceed to shower them in hugs and kind words. As I mentioned before, we get caught up in our daily lives and we sometimes forget to actually tell the other person that we love them throughout our day. We obviously do whether we actually say it or not, but we make sure to make that extra effort to say it or send them a text while they’re at work.
5) Support One Another
We all occasionally have those days we are feeling down, so why wouldn’t couples be any different? See point #3 about giving each other space, but it’s also important to realize when they don’t need that space. Support your s/o during life changes, decisions and stressful times. Or see point #1 about communicating if you don’t agree. Don’t just do nothing at all. Support them with their hobbies – go be a cheerleader every now and them, or listen to them when they go off on a tangent about some obscure detail of their hobby. If it makes the other person happy to talk about something they enjoy doing, make that effort to listen.
I know it sounds like a lot all at once! But honestly, most of this comes automatically. While we both have to remind ourselves to do those little things, we’re really good at talking to each other when we have a problem. Which makes things incredible easy for us!
So are you married or in a long-term relationship? What would you add to the list?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!