1. The best relationship advice I have heard came from an interview Michael J Fox did where he talked about how his marriage had lasted so long. He said “We give each other the benefit of the doubt”.
If your SO does something tha takes you worried, angry or sad, ask them to tell you their side of the story before you let your emotions run wild. There is probably a reasonable explanation and a good reason for how he/she acted. That will help avoid a lot of conflicts and foster trust.
2. For me, my grandfather gave me the best advice. He said,”choose two things to do around the house that she never has to ask you to do. Do the best job you can do and take pride in it but never draw attention to or complain about it. Just do it and expect nothing in return.”
I cook dinner and do the dishes/cleanup cooking messes. It took my wife almost a year to notice. When she did however I would find my laundry was magically done on its own, folded and put away. When I told her she doesn’t have to do my laundry she stated “you always cook and clean for me! I figured it was the least I could do!”
3. “Do something each day to make your partners life easier” Do the dishes quick, take out the trash, prep their lunch for them…When you are working for each other, the rest just kind of falls into play. Don’t do anything that will make the other persons day more difficult.
4. If you’re arguing to win you’ve already lost. It should never be “You vs. Me” but rather “Us vs. The Problem”
5. So if you’re doing something that really bothers them but to you it’s no big deal, make it a priority, because even if you can’t see why it’s important , it still is to them.
Likewise if they do or don’t do something that really bothers you, explain to them that it’s important to you. They might not even realize they’re doing something that frustrates you to no end, and to you it feels like they’re doing it out of spite.
Finally, take your partners feelings seriously. If they hate that you leave your wet towel on the bathroom floor and it’s no big deal to you, you can’t act like it’s no big deal, you have to treat it as something important to remember, because to them it is.
6. Learning how to be bored together is important. You don’t have to be on the go, doing stuff and planning stuff and being fun and exciting all the time. It’s okay to just sit around and not do anything and not talk to each other. It’s not unhealthy.
When your whole relationship has been dates, it’s hard to just…be, without feeling like you SHOULD be interacting. Getting comfortable just chilling there doing your own thing is a good thing.
7. In an ideal relationship the contributions are 60-40 where both partners are the one trying to give 60%. My mom asked an elderly couple who had been married for decades what their secret was. They said that they act as if being nice to each other is a competition. That has always stuck with me.
8. When I was engaged a dear lady, then in her 80’s and still very much in love with her husband of 60+ years told me this, ” just because he is your husband don’t think he requires less regard than your friends. Before you yell at him for something (anything) ask yourself if you would yell at your friend for the same thing.” What she was trying to say is that being married (together) is not a free pass to stop being a decent human being. You are going to get annoyed by the socks on the floor but is it an excuse to fly off the handle? Respect and common courtesy are my recommendation. And you don’t need to keep score- there’s no winner.
9. Don’t expect the other person to be able to read your mind
11. Always be mindful and thoughtful to that persons ‘love map’
Like they might need a quick text every morning when you get to work letting them know you’re safe. Makes ZERO sense to you but knowing it’s something small and means the world to them, well why the hell not?
They might get stressed out and you helping to clean the house for when they’ve finished work might mean more to them than someone else you’ve been with who wanted flowers to show love.
Know what it is that your partner loves and makes them feel loved too.
12. It’s fine to not always want to spend 100% of your time with your spouse. Not every moment of every day is going to be bliss and sometimes it really takes some effort. I love my wife to bits, but there are some days when I would just like to do things by myself. It doesn’t mean our relationship isn’t great but it can be really refreshing to just take a stroll around a shopping center, or go and get some food alone or something.
13. There’s a reason it’s called the honeymoon phase and eventually you won’t have as much to talk about other than how the day went or might not always feel those butterflies in your stomach when you think about them. That’s when it becomes a test in the relationship and you both have to work on it to make it work. You will get into fights but learn to get over them or I doubt it’ll last. Resentment can kill feelings for someone.
14. Your spouse isn’t going to be perfect. You’re not going to be perfect. There will be mistakes and misunderstandings. What really matters in a relationship is not being perfect, but how you handle the imperfections of yourself and your spouse in a respectful, reasonable way.
15. Communication is the foundation upon which everything else is built. They say “don’t go to bed angry” not because anger does something while you’re sleeping, but because it means you didn’t communicate properly and you’re giving up on trying. Be calm, actively listen, do not dismiss your partner’s statements, assume good faith. It’s “you and me vs. the problem” not “me vs. you.”
If something’s bugging you, talk to your SO about it. If you feel enraged about something, wait until you’re well-fed, well-rested, with warm extremities before talking about it, but talk about it at the first opportunity. Calmly, rationally, and honestly. Keep the discussion limited to that one narrow thing.
If something’s bugging your SO, hear them out. Never think “well I’m not bothered by that, so it’s not a problem.” Think “my SO is bothered by this, and that’s a problem.” If you think the concern is unreasonable, frame the discussion as solving the problem of your SO is being unhappy.
The worst fights and arguments happen over trivial things, because it’s not the trivial thing that’s actually causing the problem. It’s probably a series of things, or a general lack of satisfaction, and the toothpaste cap being left off is just the instigator of the fight. If you communicate often and openly, these things will not fester, they won’t pile up, and you won’t get into such fights.
16. If you go into a marriage/long term committment with the impression that you’ll be happy all the time and your life will only change for the better, you are absolutely wrong.
Be realistic that there will be days you won’t be able to stand each other, your lives may absolutely hit rough patches and you will not agree on how or why that situation occurred or even how to get out of it, and the like.
17. Even if you’re married, never stop dating your spouse. Love is active.
I love taking my wife out, I enjoy treating her and we both really enjoy going for a meal somewhere new.
I recently decided to surprise her for her birthday by taking her to a restaurant I knew she wanted to go to, but she had dropped enough hints that I was worried it wouldn’t be a surprise. So I booked a table at a different restaurant near to it, just to receive the email confirmation of the booking. Then I text her asking her to forward a work related email to me, knowing she would accidentally see the booking and then I cancelled that booking. Doing that meant we were able to get a taxi right up to the restaurant she really wanted to go to, with her believing we were going somewhere else. The element of surprise made her as happy as the meal itself.
18. The whole idea that people express and interpret love differently.
I have very vocal and physically affectionate where my husband shows he loves me by doing things for me, like the dishes and grocery shopping. Things that need to get done and I don’t really enjoy doing.
It is sometimes very difficult for me to remember that he is doing those things because he loves me and not because it’s “his job” and also to remember when to make sure to do those things for him so he really feels like I love him too.
He has also had to learn to be more vocally and physically affectionate which is a huge change for him because his family hardly hugged or said i love you and almost never kissed.
we both love each other more than anything but sometimes it can get lost in translation.