What I’ve learnt in the last 6 years…

So two weeks ago, it was our anniversary. Thats right, Jack and I have been together for a full 6 years. Time flies right? Well now, I don’t know if I could imagine life without him. All his funny little quirks, the way he accepts mine, the way he looks after me when I’m sick and the way he breathes so weird when he sleeps (it annoys the hell out of me but when he’s not there I miss it – what can you do?).

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So I started to notice articles recently which discuss and list reasons why their relationship or marriage has been successful. Most of them list the same or similar things. Respect, loving each other, accepting each other – they were the main themes that each article ran through. But none of those articles actually explained how to do those things. I mean obviously some are more natural feelings instead of taught actions, but still. How do you accept each other? How do you know you’re respecting your partner enough? And then I read an article that claimed that a good relationship was based purely on respect for each other, and communication came lower down on the list of requirements for being happy. But I personally think communication is one of the largest parts of a successful relationship, and should be on an equal level with respect surely?

So, despite all these conflicting yet extremely similar articles, I’ve managed to work out my own concoction for a successful relationship. The thing is, no relationship is the same, no person is the same, no life is the same, so one rule for you might be completely different for me. However, there are some guidelines that are broad enough to help you know you’re on a good path, to create your own ‘love potion’ if you will.

Memories – I personally am a massively sentimental person. I like to keep receipts and tickets for days out, despite knowing I’ll never look a them. I keep cards, which I do sometimes look at. I haven’t kept a vial of Jacks blood around my neck à la Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, but then again, I don’t have the right tools for the job. But still, I like a good memory. So I would suggest finding your own personal way to remember your relationship. I have a mass of photos (being a photography technician and all) which I give Jack access to as he isn’t as interested in photographing things. It just never really occurs to him. But he does keep little momentos now and then, things I may never think to keep. Its quite sweet really.

Communication – I do believe this is one of the most important parts of a relationship. If you can’t communicate effectively, how can you have a good relationship? We discuss everything, whether its money, our time, or meals, our feelings, everything. The moment we have a sudden unease, we let the other one know. Its so important. There is no point in game playing. I mean seriously, playing tricks on each other to get what you want, how is that good? Its disrespectful, its an untrue representation of the relationship and its just plain not nice.

Arguing – Now we do argue now and then, what couple doesn’t? But realistically, if you’re arguing too much, the its time to question whether your relationship is working. We rarely have big blow outs, and if we do, its probably about every 9 months. Otherwise we do bicker (last night it was about why I was ironing my gym top) but its never sneaky or filled with personal or snide comments. My mum always says you will always lash out at those you love when you’re having a hard time. And that is true. But if you love them, you make sure they are aware that you still do, even if you’re having a grump. For example, Jack and I will never leave the house or go to bed without making up. You have no idea what will happen out in that big scary world, and its up to you to make sure the world is filled with as much love as possible.

Sharing – Ultimately you will end up sharing the rest of your life with someone, so you need to make sure they fit in to your life and you into theirs. Its important when you live together to make decisions that affect your living space between you, whether its what sofa you’re going to buy or simply where to stick up a poster in the spare room that no one ever goes in. It all makes a difference to your personal living space. Sharing activities is also important. I have no interest in playing guitar, but I do like nature walks. Jack has no interest in crochet, but he likes nature walks.

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There lies our common ground and something we can share. At the same time, if Jack did want to teach me guitar, I would definitely give it a go, although I know I would suck at it! Also, sharing problems is a big one. No matter how big or small, I will always approach Jack with my issues as a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing is caring, as they say.

Respect – A pretty simple one. If you don’t respect your partner, how can you expect them to be around. You might not agree with everything they do, but you can respect their decision to do it. For example, Jack works freelance at the local music venue as one of the sound guys. It means he off working evenings at least twice a week. Now realistically I would prefer him to be at home with me, but he wants to head out and earn an extra bit of money, so I accept it. And once, I cut my hair short and Jack really wasn’t keen, but he respected me enough to make that decision on my own (however I sort of wish he’d got involved on that one!). But also, respecting your relationship is a huge one. Cheating happens because someone in the relationship, whether its been a long time coming or is only a momentary lapse, has lost respect for their partner and the relationship as a whole. There is a multitude of reasons that someone might think they’re justified in cheating, but ultimately, you’re going to hurt the other person because you lost respect for them along the way.

Honesty – This leads us onto honesty. A big part of being an adult is being honest, and is a key part when it comes to relationships. You might not be happy about something in your relationship, well its time to communicate that. You might have drank a little too much with your friends the night before a day date and not be feeling 100% and have to cancel. You might have been on a stag/hen do and you may have visited the strip club when you knew your partner would feel insecure about it. It could be anything, but if you feel you have to hide it from your partner, its not good. Being honest makes the world of difference, and from my own experience, being honest with Jack and him honest with me has just allowed our love to grow. I mean, sometimes you’ll own up to things and it will cause problems, but then again, how bad would the problems be if you’d hid it and ended up getting found out? Exactly, not good.

Obviously, there are a multitude of things that make a relationship good, but to me, these are the main components that make things work well for us. Its turned Jack into my best friend. I’m not going to lie and say I know everything there is to know about relationships, but this has been working well for us these past 6 years!

Wishing you all wonderful love lives ❤

Abbie xx

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