It’s official: wedding season is in full swing! Last weekend, I spent Saturday at a bridal shower and Sunday at a wedding. Weddings are very emotional for me because I can’t help but think back to David’s and my wedding and reflect on our relationship. I cry at every wedding I attend. I can’t help it!
David and I got married in the fall of 2015, so we are still technically newlyweds. Did you know that couples are considered newlyweds for up to FOUR YEARS after they’re married? That seems a little long to me, but then again David and I have been together since 2009. We recently celebrated our 8-year dating anniversary back in April!
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Our relationship has changed a lot over the years. We met the summer after I graduated high school but didn’t start dating until two years later. We went through a lot of “firsts” together. Today, our relationship is stronger than ever. I love wedding season because it gives me a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come.
Speaking of David, he is writing with me today!
Amanda: I wish you all could see the silliness that is already happening over here in our living room! Maybe we should have done this in a video format.
David: No thanks. It’s a little soon for a video of me.
Amanda: David and I have gotten a lot of comments over the years about how we are a “model couple,” but it hasn’t always been that way. Our relationship has taken a lot (I mean A LOT) of hard work to get us to the point we are at. Today David and I are going to talk about the six most important lessons we have learned to have a rock-solid relationship.
Amanda: A relationship lessons list would be incomplete without prioritizing communication. Communicating did not always come easy for us. It was simple for me to assume that David should know how I felt at all times. David used to try to handle things on his own without needing to communicate with me. Then we’d find ourselves at an impasse. It took many conversations through the years to learn how to communicate effectively. I needed more validation. David needed help in learning how to express his thoughts and feelings effectively. When you’re willing to set aside your pride and use communication issues as a learning experience, you will argue less frequently and grow closer.Why waste time hoping your partner will figure it out on his or her own?
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2. Support Each Other
David: Both of us have needed support from one another over the course of our relationship. Often times, thankfully, I have needed Amanda most when she was the most stable and vice versa, but sometimes we have both been struggling together. During all of these trials, I’ve found the best thing to do for each other is to constantly give and support whenever possible. Surely no one is perfect, and I know I’ve missed a beat (or two) over the course of our relationship where I could have supported Amanda more. But it’s a fact that every day, I make a point to be there for her as much as I can.
3. Grow Together, Not Apart
Amanda: After eight years together, it’s expected that we’re going to grow and change. To expect anything otherwise would be unrealistic! For example, when I went to pursue my Master’s degree nine hours from home, David chose to move with me from Michigan to New York. He uprooted his life to grow with me rather than to allow us to grow apart. There will be many times in the course of a relationship where opportunities for growth present themselves. In this case, attitude is everything. As we both grow individually, we choose to grow as a couple. We continue to learn about each other and find new shared interests!
David: Amanda and I sometimes have very different opinions on matters which gives us an opportunity to make compromises. Learning to compromise is a very essential part of a healthy relationship and we make compromises nearly every day. Whether it be deciding what we do over the weekend, or how we choose to spend money, there are always circumstances that call for a little give or take. Amanda and I have found a balance after much trial and error in learning where we can give a little because we know it will make each others day easier, or even just a little more jolly.
5. Make Decisions Together
Amanda: Speaking of compromising, making decisions together is an essential part of a strong relationship. When we got married, David was very involved in all the decision-making, even though as a bride I sometimes wanted to run the show! We run smaller decisions by each other too. Saying “would you mind if I went out with so-and-so after work?” is not uncommon in our household. This isn’t a matter or permission as much as it’s about respecting one another. Choosing to involve your partner in making decisions is courteous at a minimum, and life-altering at the most. Therefore, it is both thoughtful and wise to make decisions together.
6. Prioritize “Us” Time
David: In my daily hustle and bustle, I can get caught up in work, making plans with family and friends, and trying to keep a tidy home. But there’s one thing Amanda and I always are sure to do: make “us” time. Since we started living together, we have grown to set aside evenings or full days on the weekend to just do us. It’s something I look forward to, especially if it has been a few days since we have simply enjoyed each other’s company. Really though, how do you expect to really know your partner if you don’t talk, play, and laugh with them?! Date nights, video game evenings, and weekend kayaking adventures are what keep us connected. Our relationship would be nothing without all the good times!
What important lessons have you learned in your relationship? Where do you struggle? Let me know in the comments!