When I met my husband 21 years ago at a Starbucks in the city, I never imagined that we would be together for soo long, let alone get married and have a family. We were both college students who worked at Starbucks for job experience and free-flowing coffee. We had opposite personalities, had different majors, and weren’t each other’s type. Fast forward twenty years, and our contrasting personalities is one of things I love most about us. Our relationship is a constant work in progress; our shared commitment and dedication to each other and our family is a testament to the daily work we put into our relationship.
In honor of the last twenty years, I want to share the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
- Communicate about all the hard stuff frequently: marriage, children, religion, finances, and sex. If you can’t compromise or are not aligned on the hard stuff, you won’t be aligned on the easier stuff.
- Disagreements are healthy.
- Agree to disagree. It’s okay. You won’t agree 100% of the time.
- Make time for dates, trips and fun stuff before kids.
- Make time for dates, trips, and fun stuff after kids and with your kids.
- Make time for you. Play your video game. Get a mani-pedi. Go shopping alone.
- Keep your own friends and keep friend dates.
- Divide household chores equally. It’s neither person’s sole chore. It’s everyone’s chore.
- Nagging is annoying in any relationship. If you have to nag, see #1 and #12.
- Take lots of photos together. You’ll always treasure that you had them, because it’s easy to not do them the longer you’re together.
- Find an activity that you both enjoy and can do together. Do it often.
- If/when you become parents to animals or children, divide the parent load equally. Like #8, it’s not one parent’s job to raise the children, it’s both parents’ jobs.
- Sometimes, it’s nice to sit in a room together and do two different activities silently.
- Know that if/when you marry that person, you marry the family too.
- Small gestures matter. It’s not always about a bouquet of flowers or jewelry. Sometimes it’s cleaning the house before your partner comes home from work.
- Mind your manners with each other.
- Laugh a little every day, even if it’s at your own expense.
- Remember that how you treat each other in front of your children impacts how they will treat others.
- Stay healthy in mind and body. Get your annual physicals, teeth cleaning, etc. Seek therapy if you need it. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of your loved ones.
- Nurture the relationship every day.
HOW IT’S GOING: 2021
Life is not always pretty or fun. Sometimes, it’s downright exhausting, just like this past year. But I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else. Cheers to our first twenty years!