By Savannah Austin
Even as someone about to get married in just a few short months, I don’t claim to have cracked the code on relationships. I have a lot to learn still about marriage and love over the lifetime of commitment ahead of me. However, over the course of the last two and a half years of dating my fiancé, I’ve found ways to make our relationship thrive. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, and I’ve seen others trip up over the same things, too. So, if you’ve got love on the brain, keep in mind these seven tips.
1. It’s important to choose someone with similar values
As the saying goes, opposites attract. It’s good to have someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses and someone who can challenge you. However, it’s always good to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to what is most important and what you
can’t compromise on. This can include religion, ideas about marriage, lifestyle and more. For everything else that is secondary, it’s good to listen to their opinions even if they are different and compromise from there.
2. They’re perfect until they’re not, and that’s okay In the newness of a relationship, the other person can seem completely perfect, without flaws. It’s a sweet feeling, but gradually as you know them more deeply, you might find quirks or shortcomings, and that’s okay. No one is without flaws, and it’s important to know what they are before making a long-term commitment. There will also be conflict, and it’s good to know how the other handles and resolves a fight or disagreement. Of course, this doesn’t mean ignore red flags or accept any kind of abuse, but rather accept that both of you are imperfect people.
3. Self-awareness is your friend
While you might be able to eventually notice the other persons flaws, it’s important to be self-aware about your own areas of improvement, strengths and needs. The healthiest relationships are made of two people who are the healthiest version of themselves, and the more you work on yourself, the better it is for your partner. The first step to that is self-awareness, and different tools like Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram and The 5 Love Languages can help you with that.
5. Feelings can fade— Love is a choice
Often people will talk about why a relationship failed, and they might reason that they “just fell out of love.” In reality, I believe that is really just code that they stopped working on the relationship. When things get difficult or when you’re long distance, continue to invest and
choose that person. Feelings will naturally ebb and flow, and you won’t always feel the way you did in the beginning, but love is a choice to remain committed to each other.
7. Don’t live in a bubble
We all know that person who disappears when they have a girlfriend or boyfriend. Part of that is natural to prioritize your new relationship and carve out time for them. However, you might get to the altar and find you don’t have a bridal party because you started living in a bubble when you got together. That’s drastic, but it’s a good reminder that as you continue to get to know each other, to stay intentional with your friendships. Find other couples older than you or in the same season, and go on double dates. Have your own date nights, but make sure you both are staying close to friends.
Disclaimer: Abuse is not okay The asterisk to all of this unsolicited advice is that if your relationship is abusive, do your best to remove yourself from it, and talk to someone about it. This can be emotional, physical or sexual abuse, and it is not a sign of a healthy relationship or significant other.
There are many ingredients for a healthy relationship, and many more that could be listed, but the bottom line is that a healthy relationship is made of two individuals who respect and care for each other like they would themselves.
If you have more tips from a few years of dating or decades of marriage, leave a comment and tell us what you think other couples should keep in mind for a thriving relationship.