hello my friends! This is going to be a very personal post. Last year on May 26, I married my best friend and we've definitely learned a lot in our 4 years of being together and our year of marriage. To give you a little context, Kyle and I met in grade 9, became very close in grade 11, and became a couple at the end of grade 12 (if you want to hear more about how we got together, you can read about it here). We got married last year about 3 years after graduating high school, so Kyle had just turned 21 and I was still 20 at the time.
Nothing is "perfect" and it's easy to have subconscious expectations going into any relationship - especially one that is going to last a lifetime.
I think that it's much easier for us to have these expectations of how we want our partner to act, than it is for us to think about how we can BE a good partner to them. This is a really important mindset shift that will change the base of your relationship.
Here are some of the things Kyle and I have learned over this last year about being our best selves - together.
And some wedding photos, because any excuse to relive them, right?
1. We are separate people coming together
It becomes very easy to be distracted by our own lives - we are each the main character of our own stories after all. But it's so important to remember that you are SEPARATE people. I know this sounds obvious! But when you spend so much time together and you're on the same side, it can be easy to forget that at the base of everything, you each have your own thoughts, feelings, days, and stories. You are not only "husband and wife", you are still Kyle and Laura as individuals.
I believe that keeping this perspective can help you to realize when you're too distracted by your own sh*t, and remember to really check in with your partner consistently. How was their day? What has been stressful for them lately? How can you help them today? Don't let yourselves slip into a mundane marriage that some people think is inevitable.
2. Be honest when you need help or grace
Here's another one that can sound obvious but can be hard to put into action. Maybe it's because I'm a very independent person, but it can be so easy for me to just get stressed and introverted when I'm struggling with something - whether it's something to do with our relationship or not. It is so important for us to be honest with each other about these times so that we can
have grace, forgiveness, and care for each other's problems.
It can be so easy to get wrapped up in your own mind, that you may not even notice the other person is stressed too. Being open and communicative when you're overwhelmed or even just in a bad mood can help to stop fights before they happen.
3. Talk often about common goals
We all have expectations for our lives, and the older I get the more I realize that these goals and dreams can change as much as we do. Having common goals as a couple is so important to keep you motivated and on the same page. You are a team working towards things together.
This even applies to individual goals. When I am more open about my dreams and how they fit into our life, it allows Kyle to be more encouraging and supportive (and this goes both ways). Communication is key, as always!
4. Fight with love - you're on the same side
This phrase is actually something we heard in "The Haunting of Hill House" (amazing show by the way), but it resonated so strongly with both Kyle and I. The father in the show says that in a really good relationship, you're able to fight with love. That you can be honest and open about what you're feeling because you both know that the LOVE is there. You know that you're there for each other, even when you're not seeing eye to eye.
This is so important when your perspectives aren't lining up. It can HURT when you disagree with someone you love so much. When you don't understand how the other person isn't seeing things the way you are. Fighting with love helps to minimize this hurt.
You KNOW that the love is there, that they're not trying to hurt you, and that you still deeply care for each other. Neither of you is trying to attack the other. You can approach the problem, together.
5. Learn to read more than just their words
There are so many more ways that we communicate things to each other than just speaking. We all need to learn to read our partners in every way possible. Body language, slight changes in tone, or a smile that isn't quite right need to be addressed in some way. Maybe check in to see if something is stressing your partner out or if something is bothering them that you're maybe not aware of yet. Maybe they've just had a tough day and need some extra hugs.
It can be hard to always be communicative with our words, especially if we're still processing something, so reading each other in these ways allows us to really be there for each other and offer support, when we might not even know we need it.
But this also works both ways. We also need to notice when we're giving off negative vibes from something that you need to address and haven't - maybe your partner doesn't even know that something is wrong. It's always best to open a discussion if you're feeling that something is wrong. There have even been times where I am just feeling anxious and picking up on vibes that aren't there, and being honest about that has allowed Kyle to assure me that everything is wonderful and he's on my side.
If you're engaged or thinking about marriage in the future, just remember: no matter how many people want to warn you that marriage is really hard and takes a lot of work, remember that it's also REALLY FUN and there are so many benefits. At the base of it all, make your relationship fit the two of you. It might not look anything like others' relationships, but if you're caring for each other, prioritizing each other, and doing your best to grow, you will have a fun and happy marriage where you are safe being completely yourself.
My name is Laura and I'm so glad that you're here to learn about my favourite craft (and my life)! I hope you learned something new.
If you'd like to request a topic or technique for me to go over in a post, please let me know! I'm an open book. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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