Here are my humble thoughts on growing a loving relationship. I know some of my notes may seem controversial but they are my truths. I believe relationships have to be nurtured. Each relationship is different and has to be handled differently. The thoughts, comments, and beliefs located within this post work beautifully for my relationship. I hope some of them are universal.
1: Distance is OK in a relationship
This was a hard one for me when my fiancé moved back from Great Britain after winning the Rhodes Scholarship and studying at Oxford and then working for Google. I wanted to be with him all the time. I never wanted him out of my sight. I missed him so much because of all the time he spent out of the country and away from me. When we moved to DC together, I still wanted to live under him. He was super kind and understanding of my needs/wants. As time went on, however, I realized that I was far too obsessed with him and not in a good way. I needed to learn to love him from the other side of the couch, and then from the kitchen, and then from the other side of the apartment… eventually I worked up to realizing that I could love him just the same whether he was in the house or not. At the time, I thought I needed to show him how much I loved him or maybe he would forget. I’ve learned since that a little distance makes the heart grow fonder. Now, I’m excited when he goes out and hangs with his friends, when he goes and spends hours in a museum, when he takes a walk around the neighborhood, and when he is absorbed in his computer on the couch. I understand now that our relationship is strong whether we are right next to each other or not. And really, when he has time to do his thing and I have time to do my thing we always come back with great stories for one another and we appreciate our time together even more.
2: Put Downs are a No Go
There is no reason in the world for my fiancé and I to put each other down. He is my sun and I am his moon. No one in the world is going to love him or honor him the way I will and should as his partner, and vice versa. We both make sure that we work on respecting one another. At certain points in this relationship, we definitely unintentionally disrespect each other. This happens when we misinterpret each other’s actions or we handle a situation differently than the other person might. In these moments, it can be hard to see where we as individuals messed up because to us it may seem like a normal reaction. However, when the other person tells us that their feelings are hurt then pride goes out the window and we try to make it right. We are definitely better at this now than ever before.
3: Trust, Trust and Trust some more
Trust is earned and built. I trust him totally and I know he trusts me the same.
4: Don’t take your partner for granted
At times, I feel my fiancé does too much! He bends over backwards for me all the time and I don’t always think I deserve that type of love or care. We share with each other what we appreciate about each other, every day. We don’t let a day pass by without saying, “thank you” for this or for that. We don’t even think about saying thank you any more it’s just a natural part of our relationship. We don’t take each other for granted.
5: There is no need to rush
I’m glad to say that I am learning not to rush the milestones. I must be on my fiancé’s schedule because he is the head of our household. I can make a request (and be very annoying about it) but the final decision is left to him. This was hard for me to learn because for some reason I was associating my pride with his decision making and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to tell me what to do or what not to do. This was wrong! I grew up. I realized that he picked me and I picked him and in that picking I made a choice to respect and honor him. My pride gets in the way at times, but I’m happy to say that my prideful moments don’t last long any more. Giving in to his choices doesn’t make me weak it actually makes me stronger! I am learning to submit, in the biblical sense, and I’m very happy about this.
6: Talk about EVERYTHING
My fiancé says that I treat him like my girlfriend sometimes… oops I really do. I tell him far too much about girl stuff but he’s my baby and that’s what I do. But really, we talk about everything no matter how difficult. That’s the only way we know how to be. We are crafting this relationship each day with trust and honesty.
7: Inspire each other
I absolutely wouldn’t be who I am without my fiancé. I would be a cool chick but I wouldn’t be this intelligent (he pushes me to think and debate), I wouldn’t be loving (he forces me to love even when I’m fearful), I wouldn’t be this honest with myself or others (he nudges me to trust myself and my strengths), I wouldn’t be this driven (he guides me toward the goals in my soul), I wouldn’t be this soulful (he teaches me to live in prayer), etc. I could go on and on but I’ll just say without my fiancé I simply wouldn’t be this kind of Stephanie.
8: Partners fight, that’s ok
Yes we fight, but we don’t fight each other. We fight about ideas and opinions. We don’t attack character. I’m sure we will have disagreements forever, but the way we handle them says so much about where we are in our love, in our respect for our selves, in our respect for each other and in our respect for this relationship.
9: Pick battles but don’t start wars
YES, we both pick our battles, now. There is no reason to always fuss about the goings on of the day. There are things that irk me and there are things that irk him. Picking and choosing is a choice we make in this relationship. I think the real goal is making it so the other person doesn’t know they irked us. I want my fiancé to think he is always right. I want him to walk into our home feeling like this is his kingdom and he doesn’t have to fight anyone here because this is his sanctuary. I know that he wants me to feel safe, supported and taken care of in our home too… and I do. Picking battles doesn’t make you weak it makes you a loving partner.
10: Feel Better and Be Better Together
My fiancé and I have been together since we were 19 going on 20. I can’t imagine my life without him and I wouldn’t want to. My life is stupendously better with him in it.
11: Be comfortable in silence
I actually enjoy just sitting in a room with my fiancé or walking up the street hand-in-hand. We don’t have to say a word and it is just as wonderful as having an all night discussion about a book, a play or some news article. With him every moment, in silence or in sound, is breathtakingly marvelous.
All the comments above prove our flexibility.