This year marks ten years since me and my hubby met and became a couple and I thought it’s about time for me to start writing about couple life. Because while we may not be your regular perfect instagram couple ( I don’t think we have an up to date photo together-without-kids to be honest, not to mention a romantic one holding hands and looking all cute) we are a pretty happy marriage of over 7 years, with three kids, two cats and a whole lot of crazy going on!
So today I figured I’d share with you the 10 things I learned over the years that I think are essential to a happy relationship :
- Don’t expect your partner to make you happy – this is so important, but yet we don’t hear it often enough. You can’t expect another mortal being to be in charge of YOUR happiness . Your wellbeing and life satisfaction can’t depend on your partner. They can and will be in relation to him/her, but you need other activities, passions & interests too!
- Pick well because you can’t change a person. It might be a cliche but if you go in to a relationship with someone who’s never joking and never happy, always finding something to be upset about and usually in a bad mood- well then that will be your life. People can work on themselves but the overall mood and temperament usually stays the same. So pick well.
- Stay intimate. Your physical connection is the glue to your relationship, so sometimes it’s worth to overcome the tiredness and cuddle more! ( this is the tip for the tired mom of young kids.. I think we all know that sleep always wins but hey, you need to choose your couple connection over sleep from time to time!)
- Sometimes it’s good to let it go, stop discussing and go to sleep – Funny how most arguments happen in the evening once the kids are asleep – but it’s also the time when we are so tired we sometimes lose our rationality and become overwhelmed with emotions. From my experience, in the morning problems usually look much smaller and less important, and you might not even remember what you were so upset about the night before. So next time you feel like fighting late at night, just let it go and go to sleep – and maybe in the morning you will be less upset, or maybe your partner will understand you better after a nights rest!
- Do explain your point of view and listen carefully to his/hers. Always try finding a common ground, since you’re a team now, and you’re working together towards your goals and not against each other! So yes do explain how you feel and, do listen carefully to your partner. Listen how they change and show them how you change. Ask each questions even if you already asked those questions years before. People evolve and it’s important to check in with your partner and see who he/she becomes the new version of themselves. That way you can evolve and grow together- and not apart from each other.
- Say thank you everyday : thank you for making my coffee, thank you for thinking of that thing I forgot, thank you for putting kids to sleep etc. Even if it’s a normal responsibility of his, or a part of your family responsibilities, even if it’s something that your spouse does everyday – say thank you. Everyone likes to feel appreciated – and most likely your partner will show the appreciation back. And if he won’t, ask him to do so!
- Don’t make them guess. If you want something, just say it, ask for it, plan it, explain it. Your partner is not a magician to read your thoughts, but most likely a regular person who can be mistaken, who has his own likes and dislikes and who would happily make things for you – as long as you will verbalize your needs!
- Joke and laugh. When you’re tired and on the edge, joke. Laugh is the best remedy for almost anything. If you want to say a nasty comment or be ironic and sarcastic, better make a joke and forget about the nasty part.
- Have plans together outside of family/life-with-kids-plans. Even if they’re long term. This is a difficult one for couples with young kids as sometimes it feels as everything revolves around those little creatures! Just remember that at the beginning it was only the two of you, and most likely at some point it will be just the two of you again. So make sure you still have things that include only you two going on!
- Give each other freedom to be yourselves and make mistakes. This is probably the most difficult balance of all. Because as a couple that is also a family with kids, we are so focused on the neverending to-do lists and on how-things-should-be-done that sometimes we see our partners marley as people who should do things in a certain way. We might feel the need to tell them how they should care for kids, how they should deal with problems and how they should be helping us. But when you really accept each other’s quirks, ways and limitations you can only grow better together ( and avoid unnecessary fights ).
Now, I may not have some miraculous tips here, but if ever you wondered how people stay happily married with young kids, this might be the answer! Oh, and probably a grain of luck might have something to do with it too 🙂