10 tips...

 ...for my someday partner

photo titled, "after marriage"

One of my favorite, most cheerful bloggers, 
Joy Cho of one of my favorite blogs, oh Joy
penned these thought-provoking tips.
I liked her realistic, yet loving approach to her marriage. 

Read her full commentary after the jump.

1. You have to believe that you're awesome.
2. Love isn't the only thing that matters.
3. Aspire for greatness together.
4. People don't really change.
5. Live together beforehand if you see potential in a relationship.
6. Have your own friends.
7. Discuss money, religion, and politics.
8. Marriage is never going to be easy.
9. Honesty and trust makes the world (and a relationship) go round.
10. Have fun together.  

via {joyandbob}
photo via {google}

As I approach 5 years of marriage and 15 years together in total with Bob, it's made me think about marriage and relationships and all the things I didn't know when I embarked on this journey but have learned ever since. I'm happy to be able to say that I love my husband more now than ever, and I continue to love him more in different ways as we go through life and come across new and unexpected joys and challenges together. We're at an age where some of our friends are separating or divorced, and it makes me value our strengths and our ability to communicate with each other even when we don't always agree on everything. So, I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a relationship work..or at least what gives it a good shot at making it work. And I've come to these 10 thoughts. I'm by no means an expert nor do we have a totally perfect marriage, but wanted to share what I've learned along the way...
1. You have to believe that you're awesome. It's clichéd but so true. You can't be in a healthy, loving relationship if you don't think you're good enough, smart enough, thin enough, or pretty enough to be in one. That doesn't mean you have to be cocky or delusional or think you're perfect. But no one can think you're the bees knees if you don't feel that way about yourself first.
2. Love isn't the only thing that matters. While love is certainly important, you must have respect for your significant other and truly be their #1 fan. Because in those moments when their annoying habits or personality traits really get to you, it's the respect and admiration for each other that will get you through those minor annoyances.
3. Aspire for greatness together. Just as you should surround yourself with friends who inspire you, you have to be with someone who has similar goals in life. You don't have to do the same thing or have similar careers or make the same amount of money, but if you're driven and set your goals high, your partner must have the same hopes and dreams for his or her career and life as well. Not only do you want to inspire and push each other to be better and better at whatever you do, but you should want to see that person succeed in their wildest dreams.

4. People don't really change. Sure, we learn to compromise with our partners, and we try and adjust the way we think for the good of the relationship, but the root of who we are does not and will not change. I will always be Type A, and Bob will always leave his dirty socks on the floor. So whatever annoys you about your partner now, will still be around 10 and 20 years from now. Make sure those qualities are things that you can deal with and won't affect you and your relationship in the long run.
5. Live together beforehand if you see potential in a relationship. If your religious or personal morals or parents allow you to, moving in together before marriage can be a super insightful way of knowing if this person is someone you really can be with forever. A lot of it has to do with stupid things like chores and space issues. But it also forces you to see how much time you spend together once you have all the time in the world to spend together. Do you hole up in your apartment and never see your own friends? Does one of you need alone time to decompress after work? That being said, you should never move in together out of the sake of convenience or to save on rent if you don't see this person potentially being the ONE. Many dating relationships go on far longer than they should because moving out once you've moved in together is hard, and it draws out an inevitable break-up for way longer.
6. Have your own friends. While many consider marriage the joining of two people together into one, you're still your own person with your own dreams, career, hobbies, interests, and friends. You should always continue to be your own person separate from your partner. Because at the end of the day, a couple is made stronger by the strength of the individuals within it.
7. Discuss money, religion, and politics. The things that most people don't like to talk about are the things you HAVE to talk about before getting married. Who's a saver, who's a spender? Who will keep track of bills? Will you have joint or separate bank accounts or both? If you're different religions, which one will you practice and what religion will your children be? What languages will your kids speak and who do you think the next President should be? These things are all best discussed early on before kids, in-laws, and more life responsibilities are involved. 
8. Marriage is never going to be easy. It's a constant work-in-progress as you evolve, change, and grow both as individuals and as a couple. Every healthy couple argues and disagrees with each other from time-to-time. It's what you do during those moments of disagreement that show the strength of your relationship. Do you listen to each other? Do you consider the other person's feelings and do your best to resolve what's bothering them the best you can? It's okay to ask for help if you can't resolve issues on your own. But things like therapy have to be a two-way street, and you both have to want to get help to make the relationship work if anything is going to be resolved or a relationship saved.
9. Honesty and trust makes the world (and a relationship) go round. You must trust your partner completely and vice versa. If you don't trust what he'll do during a weekend in Vegas with the guys, or he doesn't trust you with the joint credit card to go shopping, there's something wrong. Knowing each other's weaknesses from the beginning (his drinking or your shopping habits), help to make for an open and honest relationship in the long run. Your partner doesn't need to know about every moment or every minute you experience without them, but there should not be any purposely-kept secrets between you.
10. Have fun together. The best part of marriage is when you enjoy each others company doing the things you love most—enjoying great meals, laughing at your dorky inside jokes, and of course, sexy times. As we're together longer, sometimes we forget about spending time together and having fun because life, work, kids, or other things take priority. So schedule in the fun if that's the only way to remind yourself to make time for it. Date night, alone time, whatever it is...always remind yourself what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place.
— Joy


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