For most of you who are married or in a relationship for a long time, maybe 25 years or more, you know about some things in your marriage that may have been unhealthy. Before too long you figured out how to change it.
I think people who are starting a first serious relationship or are in one for a
while should know these secrets, don’t you?
I refer to “he” throughout this post, but It’s fairer to say he or she, do you know what I mean?
1.It’s okay to agree to disagree on some things, but not everything. In other words, don’t just go along with everything your partner wants to do and never ask to do something that you want to do! Sometimes we are afraid to disagree because our partner gets angry. Or he won’t consider doing anything you want to do. That’s a red flag. Just because you are devoted to each other, does not mean you lose your individuality. Speak up and if it doesn’t go well try to explain that you think you are allowed to have your opinions. As a couple, it would be nice if both of you did things each other wants to do. At the very worst, this will cause you or your partner to step out into unknown territory. It’s healthy to be willing to experience something new. At least, your partner will have the chance to decide whether they like the activity. You never know, one of you could end up enjoying the very thing you didn’t think you would like. Maybe the event would be more enjoyable if you do it a slightly different way.
2.It’s healthy to have outside interests individually. I’m not talking about other lovers! You should not give up your goals or hobby’s just because you are in a relationship. It might take extra effort on your part to squeeze in time for yourself, especially with young children. But you need to do it. What if you always wanted to take an art class and your significant other is leaving you home with the kids. Meanwhile, he’s enjoying his hobby. It’s only fair that they watch the children for the same amount of time for you! 3.There needs to be a plan for handling money. The best way to handle money is together and with boundaries enforced for both of you. In other words, one person should not be able to go out and spend money frivolously while the other is clipping coupons. This happens more than you think. After all, this type of controlling behavior will cause resentment later. Maybe you could calmly approach your partner and tell them you want to try to have a better relationship with them, and that can only happen if you both get the same things. The checkbook or bank account should never be available only to one of you. Some couples do well with their separate accounts and they both put money into another account to cover their fair share of the bills. If you truly love one another, you will not make the partner who may earn half of what you make, pay half the bills. Decide together what your willing to live with to avoid bitterness. 4.It’s ok if your relationship is different than your friend’s relationships. Learn what makes you happy in your relationship and do that. First of all, some people, even though we love them, stretch the truth a little. Others may be degrading and insulting to each other. They may think it’s normal because that’s how their parents handled their marriage. It’s best to work with all the denominators in your relationship and come up with ways to keep each other happy. Once you see that you can create a happy relationship together without trying to be like someone else, you will feel closer to each other. Sometimes, those people who look like they have it all together, aren’t getting along as well as you might think.
5.Complimenting each other about looks, intelligence, good character, and anything that’s great can be the mortar that keeps you together. If you don’t do this one of you might start wondering if the other even notices them. It’s scary to think you are possibly being taken for granted and not treated fairly. It’s better to find something to make the other feel confident about. There’s not a lot of people out there that will do this for you so make sure you cover the bases at home. Speak up before you commit to each other or get married. If there is no effort on the other’s part to change something that’s unfair you should seriously believe that it will never change. Do you want that for the rest of your life?
6.No relationship is ever going to be perfect. In fact, it probably won’t be sunny and dreamy most of the time, and that is normal. It’s ok. No one is perfect. The world is throwing things at us every day, our stress levels change and are usually at different times than our partner, and sometimes you both will be just down right exhausted from your day. Being in a relationship is not really about a dreamy romantic life, it is about having a wonderful opportunity to go through life, and all the good and bad it has to offer, together. Indulge in the fact that you aren’t alone! Be happy that together you can encourage and be available for each other.
7. Don’t break up while the kids are young. If you have young children, it’s going to be a challenge to find time to talk or feel like a couple. The stress will cause you to think irrationally. Your expectations need to be on raising your kids and not having a perfect marriage. Why? Being around young children and babies at the end of a work day can bring the worst out in a person. It’s tough to be fun and friendly all the time. You’re tired, overworked, and might be worried about a few other things all at the same time. Having children will bring you the best times in your life, but most likely you will have some awful days too. The last thing you need is to start nitpicking at each others behavior unless it’s constantly out of control. It will help to arrange dates without the kids, early bed times, and share the responsibilities.
8. Pick your battles. Sometimes in your relationship, you will have to step up when the other one is not doing their part. The other could be going through a tough time, not able to handle certain emotions, or they just don’t see things the way you do. Of course, if there is abuse, addiction, or a serious lack of respect, I wouldn’t wait too long to let it be known that the habit is a boundary you will not allow them to cross without a major problem. There might be times where you need to overlook bad habits that aren’t the end of the world. For example, (squeezing the toothpaste wrong, not hanging up clothing or not picking up entirely after oneself).
Maybe keeping a list of your imperfections will help you to overlook theirs. Sometimes we forget about looking at ourselves too. Things change over time too. A job might require more time but be of benefit to both so the other should help one around the house. You might need to do extra while your partner finishes school, and hopefully, they can do the same for you. It’s a constant game of give and take and I can almost guarantee that any marriage has it. It’s not worth breaking up over unless it is a big enough deal that is severely affecting the family. If you leave and remarry, you will probably face more annoying little habits that require you look the other way. Of course, you should limit those bad habits since you know it annoys each other. Try not take advantage of good graces. Don’t be a doormat either.