They say a relationship is work – and it is. We have been gloriously living an extended honeymoon period for the past year a half, but we know that time breeds familiarity. And with familiarity often comes taking things for granted. We have made it a point to begin habits that will hopefully help us avoid this fate.
Here is our plan to keep things strong:
1- Unplug! With the creation of the blog we’ve realized putting everything down is more difficult, but we still recommend and make it a point to unplug at least once a week. Since we normally take photographs of restaurants and dinner these days, we’ve found that our rooftop and a bottle of wine have created a great opportunity to leave the blog downstairs and just hang out together.
2- We all seem to have weekly TV shows that we can’t miss, and you shouldn’t have to. However, when you’re just sitting around and you could be talking about your day or doing other things make it a point to turn the TV off. After a long day at work, relaxing and sharing what you did is more valuable than watching reruns that you’ve seen 10 times.
3- One that we should all be doing already is complimenting the other person. Respect the little things that someone does to look good. Even if your significant other has worn a sweater a dozen times, there is no harm in letting them know you like it. Make sure you sincerely mean what you’re saying, too.
4- For some of us going out to dinner isn’t always the easiest thing, and might include babysitters which just adds to the overall price. Even with possible obstacles – plan more dates together. We all need some time out on the town, dinner or even a day shopping are all options to consider. And if getting out of the house is hard, set the table and have a dining-in night, which we look forward to as much as going out.
5- Always, and I mean always, work on improving communication. I would be willing to bet that just about every relationship that doesn’t work out points to a lack of communication. Don’t feel the urge to express every little thing that is on your mind, or stress the appropriate way to clean the dishes. Focus more on telling the person what is going on in your life – things stressing you out at work or ideas you have for the weekend. Make sure you’re listening just as much as you’re talking.
6- Be honest to both yourself and your partner. Similar to #5 you don’t have to voice your opinion about everything, but avoid saying “I don’t care” or “I don’t know” when you actually have an opinion. Being honest also means avoiding the little white lies when possible. There are obviously times when it’s OK, but keep yourself honest about everything. There is no point in making your partner second guess you.
7- Something Al and I’ve worked on lately is accepting our flaws, especially when they are things the other one does well. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help. You’re supposed to be a team and trust that the other person will want to help with any shortcomings you might have. The best part is when they can help you learn something new.
8- Sometimes with all the modern technology out there we forget the simpler times. I still can’t believe that these days it’s socially acceptable to ask people out on a date through a text message; what is worse is that I’ve done it myself in the past. One thing you should do for your partner to mix it up is to leave them handwritten notes. You can ask them out on a date or just tell them something that will turn their day around. Remember even after years of dating or marriage there is always a reason to make them know you care about them. Simple, yet extremely rewarding.
These are only 8 recommendations we have for things every couple should do more, but we are certainly interested to know if there are other things we should be trying out ourselves…