Reflections in Coupledom: A Year Apart & What I Learned
I have a confession...My husband and I have recently reunited after a long time apart. Almost a year to be exact. Even though, I am mostly an open book, this post isn't about that. However, during our time apart, I've learned a few things that I would love to share with you:
1. The Grass Is Greener - Indeed, it is greener -- where you water it, nurture it, fertilize it and tend to it. That is to say, if you have a desire and a necessity to focus on the relationship you are currently in, it will flourish. Another way to express this is, whatever you put your energy into, is the very thing that will thrive. When you invest energy in your current partner and don't turn elsewhere to fill a void in your relationship, you will reap the rewards of your investment.
2. Communication is Key - In my mind, I have preconceived notions about what people should do regardless of their relationship to me. I expect my friends to treat me a certain way. I expect my man to know how I'll feel about something, and act accordingly. Other people also have preconceived ideas about what works for them and what doesn't. However, when the parties in a relationship don't actually explicitly state and share their notions and ideas unless either one of you is a mind reader, understanding is lost and frustration sets in. Communication is everything. It lends itself to better understanding, which creates a cohesiveness between couples that alleviates the kind of disappointment that can erode and chip away at a couple's success. Even if you are upset with each other, communication should be the cornerstone of any loving, positive and forward-moving relationship. Bonus: Calm and respectful communication is ideal because it's really hard to communicate with someone growling at you or disrespecting you. As long as you are still speaking to each other, it's a move in the right direction.
3. Focus on Your Own Relationship - Emphasis on your own. This is similar to what I wrote about here. A lot of relationships aren't what they are perceived or portrayed to be. You would do best not to compare yourself because you have no idea what's really good between two people. In fact, it may not even be that good at all. Worry about your own man or woman and how you can grow and improve your relationship by your own standards.
4. Get on the Same Page - It's so important to be on the same page with your partner and have a clear understanding of what you want out of life as individuals as well as a unit. Especially, when you have children. Children can suss out the division in the ranks and will use it to drive a wedge between two people. Parenting is another area where it's essential to be on the same page. My husband and I are a team when it comes to my son and neither one of us aligns ourselves with him against the other even during the separation.
5. Protect Your Relationship, Honor Your Significant Other - Be selective and cognizant about who you decide to divulge details of your relationship to. Everyone isn't in support of you being happily coupled off and more people than you realize eagerly wait for a fissure in your relationship, that coupled with their encouragement, would help to end everything. It's ok to be upset at your spouse but it's still important to respect them and be conscious of the way you speak about him/her to others. How you treat your him/her sets a tone and message to those around you and people will certainly follow your lead. Never, ever allow anyone to bash your sweetheart.
6. Be Leary About Who Advises You - To piggyback off of #5, be extremely selective about who you open up about the troubled waters in your relationship. Especially someone who is not in your situation. People love to talk about what they wouldn't put up with, couldn't deal with and absolutely can't be a part of, if they were in some hypothetical relationship but at the end of the day, the reality of what they would actually do is very different from what they claimed they would do. Most importantly, not everyone around you wishes you well. They may have had a string of bad relationships and want you to be quick to throw your relationship away so they can have company.
6. Show Appreciation - Love on your spouse, adore your spouse, praise your spouse. We can always find something to criticize about our significant other and more often than not, this is what our family and friends hear. However, how often do we genuinely shower our significant other with kind words and gratitude? I have learned in my own marriage, it goes such a long way to let my man know how amazing he is to me. Even if I have a criticism, it's better received, when I first acknowledge what was done right.
I do not purport to be a relationship expert, but these are a few things that have improved my own relationship and I've observed work for other successful couples. I watched 'Black Love' on the Own channel. It was a documentary about married couples who have been married anywhere from 1 year to 68 years and it was so touching. I found myself laughing at some points and crying at others. It deeply moved me especially given what I had gone through and really motivated me to not only not take my husband for granted but to be as committed to putting as much work into my marriage as I do with anything else I want to thrive in my life.
Are you in a monogamous and committed relationship and want to add to the list? Please do share, either here, FB or IG. I took a month off but now I'm back and eager to continue sharing my life journey with you!