DIY: Maintain a Successful Relationship

7 Jun

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.  Total proton reversal.

It would be bad.

That’s what happens when wavelengths cross too.  Anarchy.

Okay.  Shit just got weird.

When I went to check my Bloglovin’ subscription I was thrilled, and amused to see that the outstanding Jess (from Jess Is More) wrote about the thing that I was planning to write about!  (Okay.  It’s true, you have no idea what was going on in my head this morning – rejoice in that – you can’t say for sure that I was plotting a post like this before I read Jess’s.  She did get here first.  This MIGHT be intellectual property.  Grey areas.  (Salacious) Fun!)

Moving on.

I don’t buy into that “real relationships don’t take any work.  At all” nonsense.  If you do, I can appreciate your perspective.  It’s my opinion that you just don’t recognize the maintenance.  (This is probably a really good thing for you.  You should, all sarcasm aside, continue to do exactly what you’re doing.)

Relationships take work.  A lot of work.  Bonus: most of it’s super fun!  Healthy, successful relationships – here’s what’s worked for me, so far:

Communicate.  I have touched on this before.  (Kendra has touched on this before, too.)  This is the most important aspect of any relationship.  That’s it.  Conquer this and the rest falls into place.  You know how I know?  I am a terrible communicator.  As I’ve said, I tend to take the route of bottle-things-up-until-all-Hell-breaks-loose.  This isn’t exactly healthy.*  You really just have to talk.  You have to talk about the little things.  You have to talk about the big things.  You have to talk about the nonsensical things.  You have to talk about the good things, the bad things and the boring things.  You also have to hold yourself and your partner accountable.  You know my standpoint on communication, I don’t do it (well).  mephy’s a bird of a different feather.  mephy’s great at communication.  (I’m learning.)  mephy knows when I need to talk and won’t.  When that happens he sits me down and makes me.  It’s not always easy and the things we say don’t always come out lollipops and unicorns, but it’s so, so healthy.  The way I see it, it’s your responsibility to do whatever you can to ensure the mental health of your partner.  If that means that you have to start the difficult conversation this time, so be it.  It is better to clean the wound than let it fester, no matter how ugly it is.  (On the bright side, the more conversations you have the more you’ll continue to have.  It’s like riding a bicycle – it gets easier every time you do it.  Believe me, I really know.)

Date.  Remember the courting stage of your relationship?  The fun, flirty dates when you attended your favourite restaurant, caught a flick, played a round of mini golf or went parasailing?  Remember how much fun that was?!  What (the fuck) happened to those nights?  Comfort in a relationship is awesome, but complacency is not.  mephy and I have been together for ten years (at the end of this month!) and I still have so much fun going on dates with him!  We have great chats over dinner, a lot of (snarky) fun at movies and great coffee-and-a-drive dates (while rocking out to sometimes awesome and sometimes really bad music)!  Dating your partner is a great way to maintain your connection.

The little things.  I’m a big supporter of The Little Things.  They can break a relationship just as easily as they make it.  The little things can be as grand as a bouquet of flowers delivered to her (or his) office for no reason other than the smile you know will be delivered or as small, quiet and sweet as a mug of coffee/tea/hot chocolate delivered to your significant other, still snuggled up, content in bed.  You pick.  My Mom brings my Dad a coffee home after work almost every day, then they chat before it’s time to start preparing dinner.  I like to pick mephy up a treat at the grocery store (last week it was Zombie Nation.  Yah.  Rly).  (mephy brings me hot chocolate in bed . . . or buys me gift certificates to my tattoo parlour, even though he’s not a big fan of ink.) You know your person – tailor your OMG!SO!SWEET! to their needs, they’ll reciprocate.

Compromise.  Is she always nagging you to go see a chick flick?  It’s probably because she really enjoys your company and would really like to share something she enjoys with you.  Go to the (terrible) movie, but ask her if she‘d be interested in attending The Expendables 2 (oscarmikefoxgolf!  I KNOW!) with you.  Chances are pretty good that she will.  It’s not really my scene (sort of, but not completely), but I recently checked out The Gun Show (HAH! Every time) with mephy.  He came to roller derby with me.  Compromise is a funny duck – you’re making your partner happy by partaking in their passions and you get to have all kinds of neat new experiences (and possibly discover new passions of your own)!

Do things together.  (Yes, yes.  That.  Certainly.  But . . . well, c’mon guys.  Duh.)  Cook, clean up after dishes, walk the dog, iron and fold the laundry.  Do all of the things you need to do in a day, but do as many of them as you can together!  (My favourite productive date with mephy is grocery shopping.  I loveLOVELOVE grocery shopping!  Love.  It.)

Sex.  Yeah.  It begs repeating.  I mean I’ll leave out the nitty-gritty, but the physical manifestation of your love is super important!  Heh, and fun.  This one’s 100% win-win.

You need to do what you need to do.  I’ve learned a lot of these things the hard way.  But!  My marriage just keeps getting better.  The more of this I employ, the more awesome my life is.  I’m lucky, I have a pretty badass husband.  He’s as sweet as he is a complete douche (in the best and most cynically sarcastic way possible) – he keeps me on my toes.

So . . . how do you keep your relationship trucking along at a steady pace?  What are your favourite dates to go on?  What is your secret?!

(Image @ Andrea Syrtash)

*Interestingly.  I am reading Gaiman’s American Gods for bookclub this month (INORITE!?  /Squee!).  Something Shadow thought (on p57) struck me:

Shadow had heard too many people telling each other not to repress their feelings, to let their emotions out, let the pain go.  Shadow thought there was a lot to be said for bottling up emotions.  If you did it long enough and deep enough, he suspected, pretty soon you wouldn’t feel anything at all.

Sweet, sweet vindication.

AC/DC – Big Balls

UNT.

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8 Responses to “DIY: Maintain a Successful Relationship”

  1. Simone June 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Great post, my friend! I was thinking of you guys as I drove through your water-logged village of doom yesterday. If I decide to make with more trekking thataways I will make sure to call you up for visiting times!

    • Kim June 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      ARE YOU FRAKING KIDDING ME!? You were through The Peeg!? Ugh. Dude! I can do coffee with five-minute’s notice! (I get that you probably just drove through and were on a schedule. See how important you are to me? You made me go all kinds of squirrelly just there. I you. Hard. Definitely call if/when you’re in the area again! 🙂 )

      • Simone June 8, 2012 at 8:15 am #

        I know, I’m an asshole! It was the 14 hour driving time that prevented the coffee-ness but I will plan better next time!

  2. Lizzi June 8, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Fab post! I’m a big proponent of the little things!

    • Kim June 8, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      Thank you Lizzi! 🙂 Me too, they’re the things I most enjoy and the things I worry about the most – depending on the situation. 🙂

  3. Kim June 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    @Simone – you’re not an asshole. I reacted. Because I LOVE YOU. 🙂 I totally get that. And yah, 14 hours is a bit of a drive – peeps just want to get home after that shit. 🙂 No worries lady! I’m not going anywhere – we’ll get together, fo’ shizz! 🙂

  4. Amy Estes (@amy_estes) June 12, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I agree with so many of these things! Excellent points!

    • Kim June 12, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Thank you so much Amy – I’m glad! 🙂

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