I cannot believe that it is May already. The year is nearly halfway gone, and as usual, time flies when you are having fun. May is my anniversary month, and it always makes me think a lot about relationships. I met my husband when I was fourteen years old. I fell for him instantly, and he, for me. We dated throughout high school and into college, and married when we were nineteen. We will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks, and I have no idea where the time has gone. I still feel like that fresh faced child bride with utter optimism and complete faith in love. I am shocked to see a wrinkle or strand of gray hair when I peer into the mirror! Many of my clients are drawn to me for relationship help. I used to wonder why, as I have not dated in practically ever, and felt like I did not have a lot to offer. My sister pointed out that I must have some good relationship advice, considering that I have been married for a long time! After pondering that, I have considered five things that married people seem to know.
- Love more than you battle. I know this seems simple enough, and it is. However, I constantly see people battling each other on small stuff, losing sight of the big picture. Will you really care in five years if he wears that ugly shirt to your family reunion? Probably not. But you will care that he came and gave horsie rides to a herd of shrieking kids for three hours, because he loves you. Choose your battles wisely, and offer more love and affection than reprimands.
2- Equality is a thorn in the side of love. Sure, everyone one dreams of the perfect balance of chores and responsibilities. That would be great. But is it worth your relationship to make it happen? You may say, “I love you,” more than he does. He may take out the trash more than you do. That doesn’t mean that you are lazy or he loves you less. Avoid keeping score or becoming the martyr. It isn’t loving, and it negates everyone’s efforts.
3- Be your own best friend. It is not your spouse’s job to ensure your every happiness and joy. It is yours. They should support that, and they may some coaching to learn how, but it is up to you to make sure that you feel like your best self. Do your own work, and love yourself. When you can do that, you are so easy to love.
4- Do not expect to marry a mind reader. Not going to happen. If you need something that you are not getting, speak up! Do not give in to the urge to stew and resent the person you love most on the planet because they are not giving you something that you did not ask for. See how silly that sounds? Use your voice, and request more compliments, affection, romance, etc.
5- An attitude of gratitude will get you far. Your spouse is not the only one who has bad days, gets grumpy, looks like a train hit him in the morning, etc. You do too, and he tolerates and adores you anyway. There is plenty of give and take in a solid relationship, and you both deserve a little gratitude for being a willing party.
Happy May, everyone. May this be a year full of love, joy and growth for all us, both in relationships and in life.