Like everyone else in the world, I’ve had my share of a few bad relationships. At the moment, I didn’t want to notice the obvious and admit that I was in an unhealthy relationship. I know, as women we are so used to hanging on to something that clearly doesn’t have a future. I was guilty of this. I don’t know if it was because I just wanted to be in a relationship or if I was embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t working out. I guess it was a little bit of both. It wasn’t until my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I reconnected that I started to learn what a healthy relationship really was. I have to admit, I struggled in the beginning because I was stuck in my ways and I was so used to being in an unhealthy relationship. At times, I could feel myself doing things that were sabotaging my relationship just because that’s all I knew. Luckily, my husband was patient with me and supportive enough to work through our difficulties and attend counseling with me. Between couples therapy and marriage counseling I’ve learned these tips to help me maintain a healthy relationship.
Don’t Let yourself Go
I know, this sounds soo superficial and shallow but it’s extremely important not to let yourself go when you’ve been in a long term relationship. As females we love to feel comfortable around our mate, but we have to be mindful not to get too comfortable. Be the same person you were when you first met. Stay in the gym so you can keep that body right for you man. Women, I know it’s expensive and a lot of work to keep up on our weekly beauty routines, but please don’t loose them. No matter how long you’ve been together, don’t go weeks without shaving. It’s just not cute and your man doesn’t like it. And this goes for your men too ladies. They need to keep themselves together. The last thing you want to lose is physical attraction in your relationship.
This is another thing that couples tend to forget about after being in a relationship for a while. Those same compliments you used to say to each other when you first met, keep saying. Women, tell your man they are sexy and men tell your woman she is beautiful. Continue to tell each other “I Love You”. Just because you’ve been together for some time now and you know your mate loves you or thinks you’re beautiful it doesn’t mean you don’t want to still hear it.
Don’t EVER stop dating. I don’t care how long you’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend. I don’t care how long you’ve been married. Don’t you ever stop dating. I know it’s so easy for us to get lost in our work, or in our everyday duties with the kids, I get it, we are human. But as a couple you have to make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to have a date night with your mate. And no, I’m not talking about Netflix and chill. I’m talking get a sitter, get dressed up, go out, do something you both enjoyed doing in the beginning of your relationship. Doing this helps rekindle that flame that was ignited in the early days of your relationship, before life started to take over. It will also help remind you why you both fell in love in the first place.
Pick your Battles
This was one I struggled with for the longest. Listen, there are going to be SO many things your mate will do that annoy you or make you mad, but please try not to fight with him about every little thing. Only bring it up if it is truly important. If he accidently left the toilet seat up, just get over it and put it down. Why go through all the pain and energy to fight with your mate over something so little.
Notice I said disagreements not fights. It’s common for couples to have disagreements in a relationship. Wanting to resolve and learning how to work through a conflict is healthy for a relationship. Now it’s not healthy to have full blown fights with your mate. Name calling, blame shifting, raising your voice are all signs of an unhealthy fight. These fights will get you nowhere. At the end of the day you’re fighting with the notion to win and have no end goal to resolve things.
This goes hand and hand with disagreements. It’s extremely important to know how to have effective communication with your mate. You have to be comfortable and able to express your feelings to each other. If you don’t that’s when resentment and fights come in to play.
In order to move forward in a relationship you must be able and willing to admit when you are wrong. No one wants to be in a relationship with a “stubborn mule” as my grandmom used to say. When you mess up apologize. It’s that simple. By apologizing you are showing that you take responsibility and you actually care about your significant other’s feelings.
Don’t go to bed angry
In the beginning of our relationship I would always go to bed mad at him after a fight. I thought it was better to play tough guy and just ignore him when we had a conflict. It wasn’t until we went to counseling that I learned to never go to bed angry at your mate. Doing this can cause division in your relationship and in the long term make it harder for you both to fix the issues that caused the argument in the first place. Think of it like this, it’s better to talk about your problems and get it over with so you can have a fresh start the next day then being stubborn because you won’t give in and resolve the conflict with your mate. And besides, who wants to lose sleep over a little argument anyway.
Have You Time & Me Time
It’s important for a couple to have quality time together but also time apart. Whether its with your friends or just some alone time doing things you love. Doing this helps you both continue to not only grow as a couple but also as individuals. You’ll be less stressful and this will keep the relationship fresh. Also, you’ll appreciate them more when they aren’t always around. It’s like in the beginning of your relationship when you didn’t see them often and you started to miss them. They do say distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Share Goals & Dreams
One thing about my husband I love is that he is always so supportive of my dreams. If I set a goal he will stay on me to make sure I’m on the right track to achieve it. You need that in a relationship. When couples stop sharing their dreams and goals with each other it starts to cause separation. You begin to feel like you’re all alone in your relationship. Having a sense of excitement when anticipating your future together helps keep you close.
Disclaimer: Again I’m not saying I know ALL the answers, but I thought I share with you some things I learned throughout my life. All of these things helped my relationship grown stronger with my husband. Just remember, you’re not going to change overnight. It takes time to get used to new things your implement in your relationship, shoot I’m still trying to adjust, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.