Monday, 7 January 2013

Making Relationships Work.

As I have grown up I have always seen those articles of the likes saying 'Best ways to keeping a relationship successful' or 'How to keep your marriage alive' and, my least favourite, 'Top 10 tips to being together'. I used to roll my eyes and turn the page thinking 'what the heck do they know?

It was not until last week when I was reading one of those types of articles that I actually found myself not rolling my eyes and kind of agreeing with the editor.

Since being with Simon and seeing our relationship develop I now totally agree with what those articles read! Funny how things come full circle? Looking back now it was just that I never related to them.

If there is one thing I have learnt in the year or so I have been with Simon is this. Relationships with your respective other is constant work. I have had very loving relationships with ex boyfriends in the past but with Simon I see a definite future. It isn't casual. It's the first relationship with a man I have taken very seriously. It's a relationship that I really want to work.

But that doesn't mean it's easier. Below is a list of some of the things I have learnt, had to work harder at and realise some home truths about myself.

1) He can't be perfect - I will admit that I get frustrated easily. I am a type A, overly organised and routine person. I don't like someone 'ruining' my ideas, plans and getting in my way. Then I met Simon and realised he wasn't like me. He tends to go with the flow more and is a little more relaxed about things. In the earlier part of our relationship I found I got frustrated with him because he wouldn't do things right away. In fact I soon realised I was getting annoyed because he wasn't doing things my way or as well as I think things should be done. This can destroy a relationship and I have since learnt this- Simon is perfect for me but he can't be perfect all the time. I have needed to 'let go' more than I like to admit. 

2) Don't leave things to fester - Over the last year there were times where things would niggle me in our relationship and I would keep my mouth shut. I didn't want to tell him that what he was doing was irritating me as I didn't want to hurt him. Yet, the longer I left it the more I would either snap at Simon or be quite cold towards him. As soon as I got it off of my conscience so to speak we were so much better. It's just better communication! And in the long run it has helped Simon be more open and honest with me but it has been a learning curve!

3) Arguing is not necessarily a bad thing - When I was younger and saw my parents having an argument I always thought that it was a sign they would break up. I held onto that notion all throughout my childhood and teenage years. However, since having relationships I have learnt that it's actually worse to be silent with each other. Otherwise resentment builds up! I think it's this that kills a relationship, not an honest disagreement or difference of opinion. 

4) Having acceptance - This is one of the elements of having a relationship that I find easiest. I just accept that there are some things Simon and I won't agree on. For example our taste in films, holiday destinations or our political parties. As a couple we have just learnt to accept that there are some things we differ on. 

5) Making time - With my job in particular it is so easy to get caught up and do the extra shift or so! Simon and I are currently trying to save for a house and it is so tempting to just think money, save, money, save! We can go days without seeing each other as we both have lives outside of our relationship too. A couple of times a month Simon and I make a habit of having 'day dates' and 'date nights' or we spend an evening cooking a new dish to eat. It's this way we don't get stuck into a routine of just seeing each other after work which gets boring!

On a date night.

6) Admitting when you're in the wrong/ Making up - *gulps* this is what I have the hardest time doing. I hate admitting I am wrong and I can hold grudges against people so easily. I know this can be toxic and believe me I am working on it. What we try to do is try and make light of the situation, talk about it (but not for too long), have a hug and move on. But, it does take effort on both parts! In fact, quite often Simon and I laugh at how ridiculous we were being in the first place.

7) Being intimate - I think this goes without saying and for the public nature of the blog I won't go into any more details. However, I will say that I think this is one of the things that can deteriorate quickly if couples don't make the effort to be intimate and sexual with each other on a regular basis. 

Valentines 2012

8) It's the little things that count - This is the one I like the best and the reason why is because I am so lucky that Simon is SO GOOD at it. It's the most considerate thing I have learnt from him and because of that it's a good reminder for me too! When you first start dating someone you both go out of your way to be romantic and have little surprises for each other. It's so easy to get caught up in it but it can also drop so easily the more comfortable you become with each other. We leave each other little notes, hold hands, Simon every now and then surprises me with flowers or I call him just to say 'I love you'. I think it's so important to maintain some of it all the way through your relationship as a way of showing you care. 
A new beef dish we have cooked together.

I really don't want this post to sound like I am preaching because Simon and I have to continually work at our relationship. I cannot speak for other people. We both accept we have to maintain standards in order to make each other happy. I am the happiest I have been in a  very long time just because of him but that doesn't make our relationship perfect by a long shot. This is why I think relationships can be such hard work because if your're not both on the same page then things will slip. So maybe those articles do have a point after all. 

Does anyone agree/have anything extra to add?


Starlight said...

Patience! Patience is very important, especially when you move in together. :) And I strongly suggest that you live together before you buy a house, I don't want to be negative, but I know a lot of people who broke up after moving in together because they found out that they just can't be together. You can be with someone for years but living with someone is something totally different.

Hey Monkey Butt said...

Ugh... I'm so bad at working at these things.. I just kinda let it flow and I know I shouldn't. Happy New Year

Alex(andra) said...

Completely agree!! One thing that's really helped us is always saying thank you. Even for the little things, like doing the dishwasher, taking the trash out... it's good to hear.

Holly said...

I really like this advice, and agree with it. :) Also, you're very cute together! :P

Kristen said...

I agree with all points! Especially what you said about it being okay to argue. My two kids will often say "I heard you and Daddy bickering". I think it's important to add that when children enter the relationship it's important to be aware how you around your husband/partner as I have learnt your kids can be SO impressionable!!!!

Laura Anne said...

I agree with you on all points. I think it's important when kids are involved that they see you working through things - if all your arguments are kept in the dark, they'll probably struggle in their own relationships in later life.

Patience, willingness to support one another in their interests and knowing what the 'deal breakers' are going to be before it gets too intense are important. In my last relationship I compromised way too much and ended up losing myself. Something I'm aiming not to repeat if I ever enter a relationship again. :)

Callie Nicole said...

These are great tips, Rebecca! I totally agree that arguing isn't always a bad thing - it's something I realized early on in our marriage, and it makes those arguments much less scary when you realize it's normal, and actually worse to hold everything in!

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