My Top 3 Relationship Secrets
Matt and I are college sweethearts. He was a year behind me at school (what can I say? I like em young I guess, lol!) and we started dating in Dec of 1999. Time has certainly flown by, and we’ve been having a great time with some really cool life experiences so it doesn’t feel like we’re we’re almost 20 years deep into our relationship which is really cool!
So, how have we done it, you ask? What’s our secret? I think 20 years pretty much makes me an expert on the subject so allow me to share my top 3 dating, marriage, love advice with you and what we've found has worked well for us...
1. Make Yourself Happy
I know this is an interesting thought to say the least because we've heard the opposite in our society but hear me out. Nobody knows you better than you, right? So, why would your happiness rely on your partner when they're not in your head and they don’t know what your true needs are moment to moment? Only you know the answer to that. I remember reading about this concept in a book years ago and thought, “Wow, that’s amazing and so true!”
Matt and I have had many conversations about loving and making yourself happy first then we can look to each other. We agreed that he should make himself happy and I should make myself happy. If individually we are happy then together we will have a healthy, happy relationship too! Guess what it worked! Does that make sense? At first, this concept seemed a little foreign to me but once we gave it some thought, it made perfect sense to us both.
They say that you can't love someone else if you don't love yourself first. To me, this concept of making yourself happy is the same. If something is making you unhappy, it is YOUR responsibility to correct that, not your partner's. Not to mention that it takes huge pressure off each other in that department.
2. Communicate Like Crazy
Matt and I never shut up. LOL! We legit talk about every aspect of our relationship (sex, money, kids, family, etc) and our feelings about things all the time. I think a common mistake people make is going outside of their relationship to tell friend and family when they're arguing with their partners. I used to be guilty of this when Matt and I started dating and it only resulted in my besties hating Matt for a long time. Thankfully they love him now! Here's the thing though...when you don't communicate with each other and complain to your friends/family about your partner, they're only getting YOUR side of the story and they love you so they're gonna have YOUR back, not his/hers. What do you think happens when you guys make up? Your friends won't like your partner as much and they may even think you're stupid for staying with him/her.
I also used to just bury the little things that annoyed me about Matt until one day I exploded and laid out all the things, going back a couple of weeks, that were pissing me off. Matt was like, "Umm, why wouldn't you talk to me about that two weeks ago when it happened?" Great question, Matt! LOL! I didn't want to be seen as a nag so I just suppressed things. Let me tell ya, that's no way to live! From that day forward, I stopped bottling things up and just talk about them as they happened. Matt certainly helped me become a better communicator in our relationship and it's something that has helped create a strong bond between us.
At the end of the day, your partner should be your best friend and the person you confide in so, above anyone else, communicate with them the most.
3. Be Smart About Your Finances
It’s been reported that finances is one of the top causes of divorce. Don’t let this be you! Have a healthy dialogue about finances, your financial goals, spending, what you’d like to do with your money in the future, how to save it, how you want to invest it, etc.
If you’re in the entertainment industry like us, you know that your household income fluctuates from year to year, so be mindful of that, save accordingly, and don’t be one of those couples that constantly fights about money. And, OMG, don't waste your time fighting over who has more money than who or who's making more money! Keep in mind that you're a team. Your success is his/her success, and his/her success is your success.
It can be hard for men in particular as they've traditionally been seen as the providers for their families, however don’t fall into this trap. It's 2018 y'all and plenty of women can and often times do you make more money than their husbands. Help your husband get over that ego-driven thought that he should be the provider in the family and reassure him that as long as your financially stable, you’re good to go! There are years that I make more money than Matt, and other years where he makes more than me. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter because we're both actively contributing to OUR team.
What do you think? Is this good advice or am I off my rocker?! I know every couple is different but these are just some of the things that have kept us going strong for almost 20 years so I wanted to share.
We all want to love and be loved so I hope these three tools help you just as much as they've helped me! What's your best piece of relationship advice?
Lots of love,
PS. For your viewing pleasure...there's a lesson to be learned here...