The hubby and I are into our 32 year of togetherness. Which is really hard to believe when we are only 38 years old but anyway…
As you can imagine all of those years have been blissfully happy. Ahem, well there have been many, many happy times and admittedly many times when we took our relationship and each other for granted, didn’t treat each other as well as we could have and just plain got lazy, comfortable and complacent.
Since the kids will be leaving the nest in the next couple years we have decided to take stock and put some extra time and effort to ensure that our relationship remains strong and intact for the years to come.
To that end we did a little relationship inventory, a checklist to see how we were doing and were the areas for improvement were. Taking stalk is good, but entirely useless unless you do something with the information. So we have agreed to focus on these 4 key elements, I’m sharing them in case they give you ideas to freshen up your own relationship.
Present Yourself Well – One of the best things about having a forever sort of love is that we can ‘just be who we are’ and we don’t have to try to impress each other anymore – but – and it’s a big but – it’s easy to spiral downward and not pay attention to how you look for you main squeeze – because of course they love you no matter what. Pulling out the toothbrush a little more often, getting rid of hairs where there shouldn’t be hairs, choosing clothes that flatter rather than tatter.
My hubby started picking me up at the airport instead of me taking a cab as I usually do. When I see him on the hug rug, I can’t help but smile. He is dressed nicely, freshly shaved and smelling great. It’s a small and wonderful way that tells me I’m important enough to do that for. It makes me want to present myself extra-well for him, too. Clearly a win-win.
“How can I be a better…” No matter how long you have been together with your partner, they cannot read your mind. Even if you think they should be able to. We have committed to asking each other, “How can I be a better…” often. Tell me. Tell me how a can be a better champion for what you do, how I can be a better travel companion, how can I make you feel loved and cared about, how can I be a better listener so that you feel heard and valued? The more specific you are with the question, the more specific and therefore helpful the answer will be.
Give time and space when needed. No matter how in love, connected and attached we are. We all need space. Sometimes we are cranky, overwhelmed or tired, sometimes we just need space, we just need time, maybe a bit of breathing room. It may be nothing personal. We committed to honouring each other by giving each other time and space when needed and not making the other person feel bad about it.
Make requests vs complaints – Often it’s not what we say it’s how we say it. I notice myself saying things like, ‘You didn’t do such and such yet’ – even though most of the time I knew my hubby hadn’t. It’s sort of an argument waiting to happen. Instead, I started saying, “Have you had time to do such and such yet?” This small simple change in vocabulary elicited a much more positive reply and led to action.
Small simple changes will help us focus on making our good relationship even better. I’m excited about what the year has in store for us! If you have any great tips to share, I’m all ears!