How To Maintain A Healthy Relationship
Kyle and I have been together 10 years this coming April. Throughout those 10 years we have tackled a lot together. There have been probably too many arguments. Yet even when we were newly dating, we were never the couple to break up and get back together a thousand times. After each knock-down, drag-out fight we always end up somehow stronger than before. We have now been married almost 4 years. Our marriage has followed the path of our dating. Full of disagreements and screaming fests, but not once has the thought of giving up crossed our minds. Knowing how to maintain a healthy relationship is not as easy as I thought.
No relationship is perfect, though it may seem that way on Instagram. Ours is no different. The smiling faces I post to my feed don’t tell the tale of the painful blowup we had the night before. Yet we always manage to make it to other side holding onto the only thing we need, each other.
I wanted to share some of the things we have learned in the past 10 years to help us maintain a (somewhat) healthy relationship. I am no relationship expert, and definitely don’t pretend to be. In fact, the majority of these tips came from our marriage therapist, so I can promise you they work.
Go To Bed Angry
This might sound absolutely bizarre, but it’s so true for us! I was at a friend’s bridal shower once and my best friend wrote this under “advice for the bride”. All the advice was read aloud and everyone laughed at this one. The more I thought about it the more it rang true.
When Kyle and I argue, the more we try to resolve the issue, the more it feels like we’re beating a dead horse. Sometimes you’re just never going to see eye to eye. The presence of anger and frustration of the moment does neither person any good. Simply tabling the issue and going to bed, still mad at each other, is at times the only viable option. Unless it’s a massive issue, the majority of the time we wake up the next day with a calmness that allows us to see each other’s point of view. Upon opening our eyes, one of us will immediately apologize so we can start the new day fresh, without the weight of the fight the night before.
This is a big one for us. I can’t tell you how many times the both of us have said “Umm you’re welcome?!” to each other in the bitchiest of tones. Kyle and I have both learned that we need to appreciate each other’s roles. We all play roles in a relationship. From emotional support to daily tasks we all have different jobs we take on in any partnership.
It’s so important to show appreciation to your partner for even the smallest things. Since Kyle travels so much during the week, I have taken on the role of maintaining the house so we don’t have to clean on the weekends. I’m not gonna lie, it sucks to be the only one cleaning. Yet I’m currently without a steady job so I don’t mind taking on this role. The best part and what keeps me doing it is how appreciative Kyle is. He never comes home without saying how great the house looks, when it was a disaster before he left. I can tell he truly appreciates it and that alone makes it worth my time.
Spend Time Apart
This one is easy for us due to Kyle’s travel. Before his traveling started we basically spent every moment together aside from the 9-5 workday. We fought more, we became annoyed with each other extremely easy, and something was just not working. The majority of our friends are couples so although we went out a lot, it was always together. After he started traveling I realized the many benefits of spending time apart. Don’t get me wrong, I wish he didn’t travel as much as he does. Yet the time we spend together now means so much more.
For relationships that don’t include traveling sales, creating and maintaining your own separate interests and activities is extremely important. Even if it’s just a girl’s night out, it’s important to take a break from your relationship. One of the many things our therapist taught us was that being each other’s “everything” was not healthy. It might sound great in a John Legend song, but in reality it is only hurting your relationship.
Relationships are constant work. Anyone who says otherwise is not a part of a healthy relationship or is straight up lying to you. I hope some of these things I have learned throughout years of trial and error, along with pricey therapy sessions, will help grow your relationship as they have grown mine. I will be sharing more about our marriage counseling and things we have learned in coming blog posts so stay tuned!