Am I the only one that has a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s day? Every year I struggle with my excitement for love and my annoyance for how it commercialized. In honor of this “holiday” that may or may not be a real thing, my husband (JP) and I decided to share our top ten tips to a healthy relationship. These are not in ordered or importance; I am pretty sure they all work together.
Some fun facts about Valentine’s day:
- According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement.
- Valentine’s day was originally part of the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
- During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
- Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400.
Enough about that, let’s get into these tips.
LIVE TOGETHER BEFORE GETTING MARRIED
Before JP and I got engaged, we agreed that we would have to live together before getting married. Some of my family members did not understand it, growing up Roman Catholic, religion wouldn’t allow it. If you want to get to know someone, you must live with them.
That’s why living with my potential husband was important. Let’s just say we both wanted to make sure we could handle our levels of crazy.
Looking back, I am glad we took that step. Living together, forced us to deal with some issues we didn’t know existed. I know a lot of couples that are against living together before tying the knot, and I get it, but if you want to make sure your partner is the right fit I highly recommend it.
UNDERSTAND THAT WE ALL HAVE OUR VERSIONS OF CRAZY
No one is perfect. One of the most exciting parts of being in a relationship is discovering life with the person you love. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your partner. Take your time to get to know them and make sure you can handle their crazy.
Every time my husband I talk about our levels of crazy, he always says, “I learned that she is crazy, but so am I. So that’s ok”.
If you want a healthy relationship, you will have to learn to be patient and find out if you can tolerate your partner’s version of crazy.
BE OPEN TO PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING
I remember the first time JP, and I realized we need pre-marital counseling. It was eight months before the wedding, and we were struggling with communication. I felt overwhelmed with wedding planning; I felt like he was not supporting me enough and that things were changing faster than I could process.
Going to pre-marital counseling helped us work through all those issues. It turns out; we needed an impartial party to help us see each other’s perspective. I learned that I wasn’t the only one having a tough time dealing with the changes, and I learned how to be a better listener.
If you want to have a healthy relationship, do not be afraid to get a counselor to help you figure things out. There is nothing wrong with seeking help; it is worth it!
FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION
Communication is the #1 thing you should focus on. Everything comes back to communication. If you can’t express how you feel, you will have a tough time. If you can’t understand your partner and how he/she feels, you will not have a healthy relationship.
I can’t stress enough, how important it is for you to commit to doing your best to communicate with your partner.
LEARN THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION
Figure out how your partner likes to receive information. Ask them how they would like to be talked to, ask for examples to make sure you understand. At the same time, let them know how you like to receive information and give them clear examples. The sooner you do this, the better.
HAVE UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS
You know that thing you hate that your partner does all the time, but you ignore it because you think it is not a big deal? Stop that right now and bring it up. Having a healthy relationship requires that you talk about everything, especially the things you want to ignore. Those are the things that can turn into bigger issues later on. Address them ASAP.
LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGMENT
A healthy relationship does not have room for judgment. Do not do it. Focus on creating a safe space for your partner; it will make things much easier.
BE TRANSPARENT AND HONEST (ALWAYS)
If you cannot be honest with your partner, it is time to get another partner.
BE BEST FRIENDS
JP is my best-friend. I hate it when we are not on the same page because I miss him. Do not underestimate how your friendship with your partner can impact your relationship for the better. That’s why we work very hard to figure things out.
BE A SOURCE OF POSITIVE ENERGY
Limit the drama and negative energy. Not everyone deserves your time and your energy. Guard your relationship by mindfully choosing the company you keep. If you are exposed to drama on a consistent basis, the drama will find it’s way into your relationship. Protect your partner, protect yourself and protect your relationship.
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