Did you know that April is a month to celebrate couples? Right, I didn’t know that either. Well, it is! So, here is a shout out to my far-better-half, Dian. We have been married for nearly 33 years, and we dated for 5 years before we married. That’s 38 years! Yes, she is a patient woman.
So, what does it take to make it 38 years? Well, I’m no expert, but here’s what I have learned…
- Being a couple is a complete give and take. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s 50/50. It’s not. Do you ever have bad days? Of course you do. So does your significant other. On those days it’s not 50/50, it’s more like 70/30 or 80/20. Whatever it is, you’re okay with it because that’s what it means to love and care for someone. You are there for them in good AND bad.
- Communicate. Dian and I do not have the same personality type. In fact, we are very different. Just ask her. Yet, we communicate. I know how to communicate with her and she with me. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Do I always understand her? No, I don’t. But that’s true for her as well. She doesn’t always understand me and my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. We work through those challenges and remain steadfast on our support for each other.
- Respect. You need to respect your significant other. If you don’t, there is no relationship. Respect doesn’t mean you agree or like everything the same. But it does mean that you respect their opinion, idea, or decision. There’s not enough respect happening these days.
- Make time for each other. Life goes fast. If you’re not careful, it can pass you by before you know it. Dian and I schedule lunch dates and dinner dates. If we don’t put it on the calendar, it might not happen. If it doesn’t happen, we don’t get a chance to spend one on one quality time together. Set aside time for each other, it’s important.
- Be realistic. Don’t set crazy expectations of your significant other. Be happy and content with the person you are with. Do people change? Yes, I believe they do, but they change because they want to change, not because someone else wants them to. If the latter is the case, it will only be short-term and won’t lead to happiness in the long run.
- Love yourself first. If you have difficulty loving yourself, how will you love someone else? It will be difficult. You need to be content with who you are as a person. I’m not referring to narcissism or self-adulation. I’m suggesting that you must be happy with yourself and what you stand for before you can genuinely love and care for another.
- Align core values. Earlier I referred to the fact that Dian and I are very different. That is true. However, we are perfectly aligned when it comes to our core values. Core values are those beliefs that you stand for, the non-negotiable lines in the sand that you will never compromise. Dian and I line up perfectly.
I am not for one second suggesting that I am some expert on couples or relationships. I’m not. It’s Couple Appreciation Month though, and as someone who has been with someone else for about 38 years, I have some experience. That said, I still have a lot to learn. Just ask Dian, she will tell you that I do. But it’s worth every ounce of effort. I hope you find the same.