1. Compromise, compromise, compromise.
You will hear this all the time and for me it's the most important thing I have learned. Just think about it like this: You and your partner might have many things in common, but you are still two completely different people. You can't agree on everything - that's just not possible. Daniel is the kind of person who simply wants to relax on the weekend, while I want to go out and do stuff. This wasn't a problem for us until we moved to Colombia, where we didn't have as many friends in the beginning. At some point we needed to compromise on our weekend plans, otherwise none of us would have been happy! Now we spend our Saturdays relaxing and taking it slow, while are quite active on Sundays (this can range from bike rides, small trips, to having picnics or going to museums).
This example is something fairly easy to compromise on, but trust me, there will be more. From compromising on dinners and vacations, to future plans like children and career.
2. Show interest in you partners hobbies.
For me, this means that I will spend at least once a week doing homework while sitting in the living room wearing a soccer jersey (I will probably drink a beer too). Soccer is really big in our house, at least for my husband. Even though I'm not interested in it all the time, I will still be present and show my support. It's only a small gesture, but I know it means a lot to my husband.
3. I'm not always right... even though I would like to be.
Yeah, it took me a while to learn this. At the beginning, my husband would let me get away with a lot of things, but after being together for years, he now defends his opinion with a lot of passion. His arguments are sometimes full of nonsense, but from time to time I realize that I'm the one in the wrong (can't really say that I like that, tough).
4. Loving somebody IS a choice.
You can choose to stay in love with your spouse - by committing to your marriage and working on it every day. Don't get lazy and put some effort in your relationship! Making your partner feel loved every day, even with the tiniest gestures, can make a huge difference. And even at times that don't scream rainbows and butterflies you have to choose not to give up and work on it. After all, nothing comes for free.
5. The word "clean" can have a different meaning for different people.
I'm usually the one who keeps the house clean during the week, while my husband and I deep clean everything on the weekend. After a short time of dating I had to learn that my understanding of "clean" is different than his. For me, it especially means that the bathrooms are sparkly and the bed is made each morning, which was different for my husband, who has probably never cleaned a bathroom mirror. For him, "clean" meant doing laundry at least twice a week and always having clean silverware (so it's not a surprise that he did not appreciate my pile of dirty laundry and dirty dishes - ups!). Today, we embrace each others difference when it comes to cleaning, which means that you will find him doing dishes and folding laundry, while I scrub bathrooms and clean mirrors.
6. If you want something, ask for it!
This is important, especially for us ladies. No, your husband cannot read your mind. He has no idea what to give you for your anniversary or that you wanted to go on a date rather than hang out with his friends this weekend - unless you tell him (he also has no idea about what he does wrong in bed if you don't talk about it)! Giving hints might work sometimes, but not always, so don't relay on it. Men think very differently than we do, so you have to talk to him.
Sounds easy, right? And it actually is. You don't have to apologize for everything, but no small fight is worth wasting your time together with being mad at each other. So apologize, forget about it, and get on with your life.
8. Respect each other.
Even when you are fighting. This especially means no name calling. Once you cross that line, it's hard to get back to the way it was before. So if you think you should rather not say something, don't say it and just walk away. Trust me, you will regret it later, no matter how mad you were in the first place.
9. Say "thank you" and show your appreciation.
You don't have to plan some gran-gestures, but a "thank you" or a sweet note from time to time and go a long way!
10. The grass is greenest where you water it.
I know, we all have some hard times. Times, where you don't know why you are with that person and how you fell in love with him/her in the first place. But trust me, it's not going to be different with somebody else. Why? Because your marriage is what you make of it. Like I said before, you have to put some effort in it to make it work. Marriage means hard work, dedication, and unconditional love. Nobody said it was going to be easy, just ask your grandparents! But you can always work on your relationship and find ways to make it more interesting and fun. Be creative, talk to each other, and never ever stop dating!
And at last: Enjoy the ride! Marriage is journey that you decided to take with your best friend, so enjoy it! Make beautiful memories together, love each other, be silly with one another, and have fun!
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