Seems like a lot of people I know are entering into relationships lately, which is an amazing journey full of twists and turns and adventures. I don’t pretend to know *everything* (or much at all for that matter) about relationships (though, I have an *amazing* marriage), but I have learned a lot and I thought, in light of awesome events, I’d share some of the things I learned the hard way, and some things we did that worked for us. Just take this as a grain of salt, everyone has different personalities and different ways of relating, but some things (like being real and honest) are universal.
(note, this is coming from a conservative/homeschooled viewpoint, others may or may not have some of the same issues or inhibitions)
- – Take it easy and let the relationship flow naturally (no need to speed it up)
- – Talk about *everything*. I mean everything, including finances, what you want in life, what your view of a marriage relationship is, and sex (though, I wouldn’t start off with that right off the bat, conversation deepness comes with relationship deepness)
- – Talk *alone*, go on a walk, make sure you have privacy to talk about important things, with no one eavesdropping or peering over your shoulder. You’re potentially going to spend your life with this person, don’t shy away from finding out who they are outside of their families (I’m more real with my husband than I am when I’m with family, it’s just how it is).
- – Don’t be afraid to become “emotionally involved” or “emotionally attached”. Dude, you’re human, you’re made with feelings, let yourself feel. Denying them brings about a ton more pain and confusion than it’s worth. Don’t ask me how I know.
- – Be real. Be yourself. Be transparent – wearing a mask the whole time is just asking for trouble (or at least confusion) down the road.
- – If you’re worrying about being “prepared” enough or “ready” to get married, you’re probably as ready as you’ll ever be (and it’s a good indicator that you are actually ready – kinda like worrying about being crazy, usually a good sign that you’re not).
- – Don’t be afraid to say no.
- – Don’t be afraid to say yes.
- – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, but realize that the ultimate decision is between you and your partner and no one else has any final say.
- – Sometimes good relationships need to be fought for, don’t be afraid to fight for each other.
- – Relationships don’t always look like the “ideal”, so don’t try to force your relationship into the “ideal” model, it won’t work (also, learned the hard way).
- – Actually, there is no real “ideal” because every relationship is unique.
- – Relationships aren’t always easy, fights and disagreements aren’t always bad, and actually can be healthy.
- – Be willing to compromise, know which things are important and which things aren’t. Relationships work both ways, you need to be willing to be flexible, no need to make issues out of non-issues.
- – People change and grow, make room for that, each of you reserve the right to come back and change your opinion on things (and this is really fun when you’re learning and growing together and talking about things)
- – Do fun things! Relax, go to a movie, or dinner, or a beach, cuddle on the couch and watch TV, make time for just relaxing and enjoying being together.