When you first start dating someone, Valentine’s Day is usually epic. Case in point: My first one with Dylan involved a scavenger hunt complete with a massage, facial, new camera, flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner! Fast-forward nearly 11 years together and one child later, V-Day is still just as sweet, but a little more low-key. And that’s perfect for me. Even though Valentine’s Day may be a holiday created by the greeting card company, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to spoil your spouse and reflect on your relationship. So, this year, I decided to go straight to the source: I asked my husband what he thinks makes our relationship work. Together, we crafted a list of the top five things we think every relationship needs to be successful. The results? You may be surprised—it doesn’t involve a trip to Victoria’s Secret —or does it? 😉
#1: Never go to bed angry
This is our most coveted relationship tip of all time. Every couple argues—it’s human nature, and anyone claiming differently is probably lying. Knowing how to argue—and when to put it to bed (sometimes literally) is key. Back during our college days and the start of our relationship, Dylan and I fought over stupid things. But never in more than 10 years of dating have we gone to bed angry at one another. Instead, we are huge proponents of staying up into the wee hours of the night talking about the problem and figuring out a solution (trust me, we’ve done it!), rather than hold onto angry or unsettled feelings before going to sleep. And it’s seriously made a world of a difference in our relationship: Essentially, we know that no matter what, we’re going to make up before going to sleep, so we might as well do it as soon as possible.
#2: Spend quality time together
My husband and I are total opposites—we always have been and probably always will be. He loves board games and camping; I love shopping and going out. And that’s ok. Why? Because we both make an effort to participate in the activities that the other one enjoys. Dylan says that by doing so you not only make the other person happy and get to spend quality time together, but you may find that you enjoy the activity as well. Couples should associate enjoyment and entertainment with each other, rather than look to outside sources (i.e. boys’ nights, solo activities, etc.) as their main outlets for excitement.
#3: Be loving and playful
Once you have kids, it can be easy to turn all of your attention to your child. And while devoting a majority of your time and energy to your little one is necessary, it’s also important not to forget who comes first: God, your husband, then your kids. Relationships need to be cultivated, and much like you give your kids everything, you should do the same for your spouse. Joke around, be silly, be loving, be passionate—these things are all necessities for a happy marriage. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a “roommate-like” relationship, rather than a
#4: No personal attacks
Another thing I can honestly say is that Dylan and I don’t say anything personal or derogatory to each other when we fight. You can express your views as much and as insistently as you want, but the minute you decide to throw in a personal attack, you instantly change the way your spouse sees you. Words can’t be forgotten, especially when they come from the person you love the most, so always choose them wisely.
#5: Always find a compromise
Where there’s a will, there’s always a way, especially when it comes to your relationship. Always leave your pride at the door and instead remember the sole purpose at hand: Making one another happy. Being in a happy and healthy relationship means understanding both sides, so, like it or not, compromising must come with the territory. Think about it this way: What’s better, being right or maintaining a strong relationship with your spouse? This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat; it simply requires you to clearly communicate your side, listen to your spouse’s thoughts, then find a middle ground that makes both of you happy.
I’m in no way saying that our relationship is perfect, but I can say that we’ve grown up together, both individually and as a couple. I’m so grateful for my relationship and the person I am because of
What are your essentials for a happy relationship? Share them in the comments below!