Consider me a newlywed with a classic story. Met my husband in college, moved in together, got married. Despite everyone claiming we were “too young,” we took the leap and haven’t regretted it since. There were other things to marriage, however, I wasn’t fully prepared to handle and had to figure out on the way. Things such as family, in-laws, career changes, and the basic responsibilities needed to be an adult.
Like any couple, we had our ups-and-downs, but through it all, we stayed in constant support of one another. For those of you out there trying to figure each other out, here’s some observational tips that may seem obvious, but as someone married, are often forgotten.
1. Communication is key.
We’ve all heard this one before, and somehow we forget to use it. I found myself trying to “let go” of a situation in order to keep the peace, if you will. Holding it in always backfires in the long run. Confronting an issue at hand, in a respectful way, is the only way to maintain a relationship.
Do: Express how you’re feeling, whether it’s good or bad. Compliment with an emotion when your partner goes out of their way to express their love. Allow space for your partner to process their thoughts, keep the conversation concise and to the point. Listen and validate how they feel. Say, “Thank you.”
Don’t: Become defensive, the other person’s emotion may be centralized around something else. Argue in the presence of others, keep the critique for pillow talk. Bring up past events, move past something that was previously discussed.
2. Support both of your needs.
Compromise doesn’t mean giving up what you love, it’s about learning to love what your partner does. You won’t always like the same things. There will always be the little things that bother you. That’s what makes being with someone else interesting.
Do: Express interest in what your partner is interested in. Ask questions, learn more. Share what you love and accept that they may not have the same appreciate as you do. Rotate between shared activities and communicate what you appeals to you most about what they like.
Don’t: Act disinterested, looking at your phone or off into the distant when someone is trying to explain something to you. Mock what the other person finds entertaining, even if you’re only “teasing.” Be jealous if sometimes, their hobbies aren’t involving you completely.
3. Take care of yourself.
We get wrapped up in the ones we love. We support their career goals, life goals, and provide emotional reassurance. In all of this, we can get stuck in thinking that this is not just for them, it’s for the both of us. Supporting your partner and their life goals is important, but it’s also important to not lose your aspirations along the way, otherwise you’ll end up bitter and resentful that you never got the chance to achieve your dream.
Do: Focus on your health, both mentally and physically. Talk to your partner about your dreams, working with them. Schedule a time to work on yourself, especially when they’re away, this is precious you time. Treat yourself when needed.
Don’t: Be afraid of being alone. Make excuses to avoid going for your dream, there will always be something. Rely on your partner to solve your problems, they can’t fix you, but they can work with you to figure out what steps you need to take. Let anyone let you feel like you deserve to be where you’re at, you can always do better.
Joining yourself in a binding union with someone else is exciting, scary, unfamiliar, and fun. The most important thing is that you enjoy every moment you have together, between the mundane to the adventurous. Remember why you fell in love and how you fell in love. Together, you are a one person. Love is an evolving concept that needs constant nurture.