Tomorrow is mine and my husband's two year wedding anniversary and in August we will have been together for fourteen years. We have been together for such a huge chunk of my life that I can't imagine what my adult life would look like without him. Without being too vomit inducing, I have to say that I feel really really lucky that I found someone that I love so much that I want to have by my side for the rest of my days.
To mark the occasion, I thought I would share fourteen relationship lessons I have learned along the way. I am not saying we are perfect and I don't know what our futures hold, but at this moment in time we are pretty bloody happy together and have been for the fourteen years we have had together so far. We can get on each others nerves and we do fall out sometimes but we love each other a lot and have had a pretty solid relationship for long time. We've ridden the waves that life has thrown at us and we've done it together, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Everything in this list applies to both people in the relationship!
Trust is a big part of a relationship and if you don't trust each other then I believe that you need to address and fix it asap or there is no relationship.
Trust is a two way street and as well as trusting your partner, they need to be able to trust you too. Be as honest with them as you expect them to be with you.
Sometimes it can be easy to take your other half for granted, don't forget to let your partner know you appreciate the nice things they do for you. A 'thank you' goes a long way (as does making someone a brew).
Whether it's housework, taking care of the kids or planning your wedding, don't forget you are in a partnership. Life can be tough enough without you working against each other.
Don't Forget Yourself
Whilst you are a team (see above) it's also important not to lose who you are as an individual. Enjoy your own hobbies, interests and friendships. Your relationship will be richer for it.
Don't assume your other half is psychic. Just because you have been together for years and can sometimes finish each others sentences does not mean that your partner always knows what you are thinking. You might might be pissed off because they did or didn't do something but if you don't tell them what is bothering you, they might not know what's going on.
As time goes on and more elements are added to your relationship and/or life, it's important to make time for each other. Go on dates, watch a film together, go for a walk, talk about your day. It's sometimes difficult to have quality time together (especially when kids are in the mix) but relationships need to be nurtured.
Watch a stupid film, dance like idiots in your kitchen, tell each other cheesy jokes, just make each other laugh. It's true what they say, laughter is the best medicine.
When you live with someone or have been with someone for a long time they can annoy the living shit out of you. But you fell in love with that person for a reason, so before those petty annoyances build up into a giant ball of resentment, think about all of the good things about your partner. So they load the dishwasher up the wrong way, but they're always there with a good cup of tea and a hug right when you are at the end of your rope.
Sex and intimacy are important in a relationship but don't forget the other times where touch is important. Remember when you first got together and you held hands all the time, or when your partner put their arm around you to shield you from the cold? Cuddle, hold hands, squidge bum cheeks, whatever you prefer. Just remember even the most subtle of touches connects you with your partner.
Sometimes it's really important to swallow your pride and admit when you are in the wrong. Whether you've lashed out because you've had a shitty day, whether you misunderstood a comment, whether you had actually forgot to tell your partner about that christening you said yes to even though you were convinced you had, for goodness sake hold your hands up and say 'sorry'.
Pick your Battles
Some things in life are not worth having a blazing row about. Life is too short to be screaming at each other over who last took the bins out. There will be times where arguments are unavoidable but don't sweat the small stuff.
It probably sounds super cheesy but as time grows on your relationship will change, and you will change as people. It's not all about what your partner needs to do to be a better partner, you need to assess yourself and how you behave. You need to balance each other out and be the right person for each other.
Keep the Love Alive
Falling in love is the easy bit, it's all hormones and rapid heart palpitations. Staying in love takes work. It's up to you and your partner to do romantic things for each other, to make each other an important priority, to say 'I love you', to be there for each other when things get bumpy. If it's worth having you have to cultivate your relationship, if it's not then let it go.