I’m going to get real with you all – being in a lifetime relationship can be really hard. You as an individual posses a lot of feelings and emotions that can conflict with those around you, and you may just want to be on your own sometimes. Other times, it’s hard to see eye-to-eye and make it work, plus the added stress of life doesn’t make mending or supporting a relationship any easier. So the question is – how do we all stay in love with our life partners and soulmates forever when every little ounce of our lives pushes against that?
Our first six months of marriage have been the best times and the worst times of our relationship. Not that we have fought worse or had terrible troubles, but life has been extra stressful adjusting to a permanent life together, trying to purchase a home, and handling the various issues of life like new jobs, surgeries and life. Having all of these little things coming at you at once causes so much strain on you as an individual and it gets really hard to fill your personal “cup” enough to give to your relationship cup. As someone who loves this man unconditionally, I have employed many tactics to keep filling my cup when I feel the pressure caving around me and causing strain on my love for my husband, and having him be equally as supportive plays a huge role in our success as a power couple in today’s divorcing society.
Every so often, it’s normal as a couple to feel like your relationship was never the same as it used to be, and it’s not. Your life changes every day, and you each change as individuals, so it’s incredibly important that you be your authentic selves and just remember what you love about each other – and watching our wedding video is something that grounds me every time. It reminds me about the butterflies I felt in my stomach that day, the moment I was first called his wife and the dreams we had (and still have) for our lives together. Remembering where you started gives you a refresh button to find that happiness all over again. Just because you’re stuck in a rut now doesn’t mean you can’t change anything for the future.
Dates can sometimes be one-sided when your married, doing something the other wants to do more than yourself. It’s important that this doesn’t become a habit and you seek to enforce dates that you each enjoy together equally. Togetherness and happiness are important to feeling authentic like the love you have between each other. When I’m stressed, it’s usually about money so my husband knows that going to the mall to get out of the house will just cause more stress on me even though it’s an activity I love because I’m just going to be upset at all the stuff I want but can’t buy. Finding activities that are low cost or free that we both enjoy is just one example of creating a date night that will make us both happy while relieving the stress and not clouting my opinion of the date because of added stress.
We get so caught up in the every day annoyances of life – you didn’t take out the trash, traffic sucks coming home from work, the dog tore up the couch… And yet, we never step back to appreciate the little things. Constantly reminding yourself to reflect on the good things in life make them feel more special than they are. We opted to skip Valentine’s Day celebrations this year in anticipation of closing on our house, and I got caught up in the stress of the day after dealing with multiple conflicts about the house so I didn’t take a moment to appreciate my husband as much as I should have. When he bought me flowers and chocolates that evening, it took me a minute to stop my craziness to reflect about how kind and generous the act was. Whether it’s cleaning up some dishes, volunteering to walk the dog every morning or putting clothes in the washer while I’m at work, these are the things I have learned to appreciate and praise more because it shows that he cares and helps to refill both our cups.
If you don’t feel mentally good to care for yourself, there’s no way that you can properly care for your relationship. You have to give yourself time to refocus when you’re stressed, and you have to be able to communicate that to your partner. I make telling my husband when I am too stressed or overwhelmed a priority when it happens. Often times (which is something I love unconditionally about him), the next words out of his mouth are “how can I help?” and this kind of support is important for me to remember – he is my number one cheerleader and partner in everything. Sometimes he can help and sometimes he can’t, but it’s the thought that matters. When I need time, I tell him and he does his best to make me as stress-free as possible. When you support each other for individual mental health positivity by respecting what the other person needs, you can better support each other through almost anything. He knows that if I’m in bed by 7 p.m. or laying on the couch, it’s probably just me refilling my cup.
When your cup is full (or almost, because let’s be real, who’s cup is really 100% full?), make sure you give back to your supportive partner with something caring that he loves. It doesn’t have to be material or require you to spend money, but know your person’s love language to better fill their relationship cup. My husband and I did the love language quiz after reading The Five Love Languages book, and knowing that he felt most loved through affection and praise helped me to better understand what our give-and-take is in the relationship. He likes our time together, so by him giving me my time to relax, I can give him my time now to help fill his cup, and then praising him for the support he gave me in a time where I couldn’t give it back.