Me and my husband have been together nearly twelve years. We experienced high school together, our first time moving out, paying bills, getting married, buying a house, having a child and all of the other firsts you can experience. Throughout this time we have changed and grown not only as individuals but also as a couple. He has put up with things from me and I have put up with things from him. But we have never tried to change one another. He is who he is with his own set of morals, and thoughts and feelings and I am me with mine.
Most of the time people like to judge their relationship on things they have in common. I will tell you from personal experience that commonalities aren’t as important as they are made out to be. For some reason, society feels that you need to find someone who likes the same things you do and is similar in every way and I think this causes unnecessary dependency issues. It also causes people to feel like they are doing something wrong if they don’t like the same things their partner likes, which can lead to self-esteem issues.
The first thing I would like to advise is to always check with the big stuff first. The deal breaker stuff. The things you know you want for yourself and your life that you won’t give up. For example, if you know you want children 100% for a fact, no chance you would compromise, then you need to make sure the person you’re investing in wants children too. It’s something that needs to come first before you dedicate yourself to someone and then have to decide whether to erase a piece of yourself to be with that person. Marriage is a big issue with some people, religion is a big issue.
Discuss your financial situation. I didn’t have to do this since we were together already when this became a factor but it has been an issue for people I know. Make sure you are both aware of the other’s finances. And I’m not saying you need to know their bank balance, but you should know if they’ve filed bankruptcy or had their wages garnished for some reason because those type of things will affect you and your financial standing if you continue on.
Discuss your strengths and weaknesses. One of the things that make my marriage so strong is that he is strong where I am weak and vise-verse. I never have to carry a load that is too heavy. When I need him, he is there. We can comfortably call on each other to share in whatever we are going through and be whatever the other person needs. This has especially helped in parenting. When consistency needs to be had and I am down for the count, he swoops in and makes it happen.
Discuss your likes and dislikes. Discuss your hobbies and what a normal week looks like for you. Realise that the differences mean more. If you are both into everything the same, then you don’t get to broaden your mind and your experiences by seeing it from your partners’ view. Being able to see things my husband’s way has allowed me to be a more open minded person in general, whether I agree or not. For instance, my husband loves cars, and I have grown to appreciate going to car shows and races and seeing him fix things. Doesn’t mean I have to love cars too, but I do enjoy being part of it with him. He never liked classical music. One day I introduced him to acapella and now he loves it. It’s something that we can listen to together.
There are still things we don’t like and we handle that by giving the other person the space to do it independently. For example, he likes to watch shows I don’t like, so when he watches those shows, I go in the other room and crochet or watch something I want to watch. We don’t have to do everything together and I think that is a huge problem for most people.
Parenting style is a HUGE thing if you plan on having kids. It wasn’t something I realised was a big deal until our opinions differed on something. That was a big fight. You always want to protect your children and if someone doesn’t agree with something you’re doing, you take it personally, even when you shouldn’t. It’s definitely something that should be discussed before you go having children.
Knowing a person’s past can tell you a lot about their behaviours and coping mechanisms. If you know that your partner used to get hit by their parents, then you can understand why they may flinch when you go to touch them, or if your partner was bullied in school it could explain why they get so defensive about any criticism. With me, I had some mental issues with chemical imbalances that caused erratic and irrational behaviour and he had to learn not to take it personally, and I had to learn to tell him how I was feeling before I got out of hand. And we are still learning about things every day, but it’s nice to be able to understand why someone does or reacts to something the way they do instead of having to guess. Guessing is bad.
Insecurity on either end will eventually kill the relationship. Your life partner is supposed to be your safe place, your home base and if you are constantly worried about where they are, what they are doing or having to constantly be in everything they are doing it will not work. My husband can go do whatever he likes to go do if there is time, and I don’t sit and home and worry about who he is with. I have never felt unsafe with him. I have never worried about how am I going to raise these kids by myself, because I know he will always be here. But cheating isn’t the only insecurity people have. The point is you have to be willing and able to give 100% trust to the person you are with. You have to be able to know that that person is your safe place, and not stress out like you’re in limbo. Constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of enjoying each other will eventually cause the other shoe to drop. You need to know you are good enough and deserve to be happy. If you don’t then you will constantly be projecting that on your partner and pushing them away. If they tell you-you are beautiful, don’t let insecurity take over, trust that they believe you are beautiful and believe it yourself!
You also never want to cause your partner to feel insecure. If both people feel safe, then you can be free to just enjoy each other and love each other with all that you have. ❤
You are an independent individual first. You cannot add a person to your life to fix you or fill a void. Those are things you have to discover within. Your partner is also an independent individual. The reason I am saying this is I want it to be understood that one of our greatest strengths is the ability to operate separately from each other. I think a lot of people have serious dependency issues and end up in a really bad position if the relationship goes bad. You have to have your own hobbies, and be your own person so that you can grow together, but also so that you aren’t left a shell of someone else if something bad were to happen. I’m not saying you need a contingency plan because you should feel safe and not need one, but independence is so important in any relationship. Being able to have your own things to do and your own people to talk to when your partner is busy will save you from a lot of resentment in the long run.
We try to keep things 50/50. It doesn’t always work out that way, but we make an effort. The main thing is if you see your partner struggling, help them! Be a sounding board if they need it, be angry if they need you to be angry with them, make them laugh if that’s what they need but above all else always be there 100%. If you’re not in 100%, then you’re out.
Never settle. I am not saying it’s going to be butterflies and rainbows every time you see them but they should definitely make you want to be a better version of yourself. This means not compromising you to be with someone. If someone is physically/mentally/emotionally hurting you, then you should
probably pursue other options. People get depressed, people get stuck, people get unmotivated and no one should be faulted for that. You should be the support system when they need support and if you don’t think you can, then you can’t. If you can’t imagine taking care of someone when they are seriously ill, mentally or physically then you should never stay with them.
Arguments and disagreements are normal. You’re never going to see eye-to-eye on everything, and each person will want things to go their way. The idea is that you are practising these things in a healthy manner and that these arguments are
solving a problem or coming up with a solution I should say. If this means you have to seek a professional counsellor to help you communicate effectively, then do it! It is not a bad thing to ask for help, as a matter of a fact being able to identify that a problem is bigger than you is a huge, wonderful thing.
Lastly, this isn’t all of the facts, and some of these things will not work for you. Do what you feel in your heart is best for you. Make sure you feel safe where you are. Let those unfounded insecurities go and let yourself love with everything you have. Compromise. Talk about the important stuff. Check in with yourself periodically and see where you are.
I hope you enjoyed this! Please leave me some feedback below, or share, reblog, pin, save until your heart’s content! I would also love to hear something you and your partner do to keep your relationship healthy!
ALSO: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS BEING ABUSED, PLEASE GET HELP!!
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-799-7233 OR http://www.thehotline.org
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255 OR http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org