I grew up knowing that one day I would get married, and the man I would marry needed to treat me like a queen. He should worship the ground I walked on, cater to my every wish and do my bidding. While I knew how he should treat me, I didn't take into consideration how I would treat him. I didn't consider that all that doting might get old if I came to expect it, instead of appreciate it.
Just as I wanted to be treated like a queen, my husband probably expected to be treated like a king. It took a few years of marriage before I realized a good relationship is reciprocal. While my relationship is far from perfect, learning these important lessons has helped nurture and grow my relationship with my spouse. Here are some things I have learned:
Never lose the kindness
It seems as soon as you start to get really comfortable with your significant other, the niceties and politeness starts to wear off. You're no longer on your best behavior. You may get a bit cranky and snippy which is reflected in your tone. It's easier to be rude then it is to stay calm. While in a way this is a natural part of a relationship, it is a dangerous path to start down.
Ask yourself if you would speak to your coworkers the same way you do your spouse. If you would be embarrassed and ashamed for them to hear you speak that way to them, why is it okay to speak to your spouse that way? When you find yourself getting in this rut, take a time out. Breath, remember that this is the person you love most in the world and hit the refresh button. Your spouse will understand your moment of rudeness, after all, everyone has a bad day every once in a while.
Real life is nothing like the movies
The sooner you realize that real life is nothing like the movies, the sooner you can let go of those unrealistic expectations and start enjoying the relationship you do have. Life doesn't end when you find "the one" and seal the deal; that is when it starts. Your relationship may not always go as planned or follow a script. You won't always have perfect hair and makeup and the perfect comeback line for every comment. Your relationship may not be as romantic or exciting as you pictured it to be, but that does not mean your relationship is not meant to be. The movies are for our enjoyment, not to be used as a roadmap for your own marriage. Keep that in mind the next time you watch your favorite RomCom.
Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Probably not. Just as you have changed over the years, so has your spouse. If you are not consistently talking, sharing thoughts and ideas, and learning about them, then you may wake up one day and not know who they are. It is important to spend real one-on-one time with your spouse. Keep the spark alive by planning fun dates and experiences for the two of you.
Make your dates something to look forward to and keep you going through a tough week. Just because you are married, does not mean you should stop dating your spouse.
One of the toughest lessons to learn may be that of humility. It's easy to sit on my thrown and demand things, but not so easy to acknowledge when I am in the wrong, or to sacrifice my wants for someone else's. Both you and your spouse need to be prepared to accept blame and apologize, even if you feel you are not wrong.
Apologizing does not mean that you are wrong, but rather that the person you love is more important than your ego. You'll know when there is an issue you can let go of and when you need to stand your ground. If you find yourself at an impasse, remember the love you have for this person and that is what can help you get through those hard times.
Don't sweat the small stuff, but remember little things do matter
Nobody is perfect, and expecting them to be will only disappoint you. If there are little things that annoy you, learn to let them go. It's not always roses all the time. If you start being nitpicky about every little thing, it will get old fast. Be tolerant. On the other hand, don't forget that little things can make a big difference.
Folding a load of laundry that is sitting out. Bringing home flowers once in a while, giving a foot massage after a long day. These little gestures are what make up our relationships. It's not always about the grand gestures, although those are nice, it is more about the small things that you may not even think are a big deal that make the difference.
A successful relationship is not measured by how exalted you feel, but rather how successful you are at working together, side-by-side. Knowing how to forgive and move on, how to make someone else feel better, and how to sacrifice your own desires for someone else is what is most important.