“Sky rockets in flight, afternoon delight! Yeah, yeah, afternoon delight!” I’m sure when you hear this classic song, you think the same thing as me, wedding bless, right? No? Well, this song will always remind me of September 27, 2008: the happiest day of my life. The day that J.O and I were married. Because yes, this is the song that we chose to play after our kiss and when we walked down the aisle together as husband and wife. Once again, it’s not a very common choice for a wedding song, but as you know we do things a little different than most and so far it seems to be working out rather well for us.
Last Thursday, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary and just a few weeks before that, we celebrated being together for nine years. It’s amazing how love works. We are each others best friend and have grown so much in the past nine years as both individuals as well as a couple. We were talking about it at our celebratory dinner on Friday and why we have made it this far, things that we thought have been important in our lasting and ever growing relationship. Obviously, every couple is different, but here are some of the points that we discussed in making our relationship grow stronger every year.
- Keeping our individuality. It can be easy sometimes to let go of things that you used to do before you started dating someone, especially if it’s a hobby that they have no interest in. We try to hang onto those small things as best as we can. For example, J.O loves to fish and always has. I’m not much of a fisherman, but I’ll go with him on occasion and not get upset when he goes on his own because I know it’s a part of him. Something that he did before we met and helped make him who he is. I remember that I fell in love with him as an individual. It’s a way for him to unwind. In return, he understands that this is not my favorite pass time and therefor does it in moderation: he’s not gone every chance he gets. It’s a common understanding.
- Communication. This is what has made it so that we do understand each other. We know how each other is wired. We listen to each other and ask questions. It’s amazing what you can still learn from your partner even after nearly a decade. Even just in random talk that some may have go in one ear and out the other, you can learn something. Talk about things other than the daily grind to constantly learn about each other. This past spring, we were talking about something from high school and I on a side note spoke about a memory of listening to Tori Amos with a bunch of friends, when J.O told me how he loved Tori Amos. Really?! How did I not know this after nearly nine years?! When we ask about each others day, we have found ourselves not simply asking “how was your day?” but then going more in depth. Remember when you were in English class and you had to think who, what, where, when and why? Apply it to various conversations. When J.O tells me that he is loving this job, I ask him why? What’s different about this one? etc. Listening to each other will give you a better understanding of what you both believe in, what you like, what makes you mad, what excites you and so forth. If you understand each other, fights are less likely to happen. Speak, respond, listen and be interested. All of these parts of communication also show respect for each other.
- Play. Have fun and laugh with each other. Tickle, goof off and be silly. Remember when you first started dating and everything wasn’t so serious. Intimacy was fun and exciting?! Go back there. Laugher can be the best medicine and can be a great way to keep the flirtatious feeling alive.
- Court each other. Do things for each other like you did when you first started dating. I still make J.O cards, send him random lovely/intimate texts and he still opens doors for me and randomly cooks for me or buys me gifts. Small sweet kisses or holding of hands. Compliment each other and tell each other that you love them and why. Romance is different for everyone, the point is to just keep it alive and in the relationship.
- Personal alone time. In the bathroom. For us, this is a big one, which may sound odd to some, but to us, it’s kept the blush on the marriage. We are comfortable with each other and know each other in and out, but this is just one area that we don’t need to be intimate in. When it comes down to it, we don’t leave doors open or talk about anything you would once blush about.
- Start new traditions together, but still honor ones from their past.
- Before you fight about something, sleep on it. Go to bed angry. Things may look different the next day. IF you are in the wrong, say you’re sorry and mean it. It makes a difference.
- Put yourself in the other’s shoes. If a disagreement does come up, try to understand where the other person is coming from before you talk or start a battle. You might see things in a different light if you think about it from their perspective or think about what they would think of your actions before you do something.
- Be social together and also make time for just the two of you outside of the house.
- Honesty. This is the most important one of all. In every way, be honest with your partner and yourself. If you don’t have honesty then you don’t have trust and in the end your relationship is nothing but a lie. This is something that we have as the base of our relationship. We tell each other everything in truth and because of it, we have grown closer than ever before.
- Keep things simple. Remember the bigger picture in the end. The two of you and your love. If you remember that, everything is else just small stuff.