And just like that, Mr. P and I will be celebrating our 11th year together. With a wedding. Eleven days from now, I’ll be officially Mrs. P. We’ll be back to counting from 1- as a married couple this time. But before we do that, I’d like to reflect on the most valuable things I’ve learned about relationships from 11 years of togetherness:
1.Communication is very very important.
Constant communication is the best way to understand and to know another person. Talk, listen, observe the non-verbal signals of your partner. Numerous studies have shown that couple who communicate more last longer and consider themselves happier.
2. Laugh. A lot.
This is a personal belief: If you and your partner can’t laugh together, you’re not meant for each other. Life’s unfair and unkind in a lot of ways. Sometimes, the only thing your partner (or you) can do is laugh at life’s craziness.
3. Learn to meet halfway.
Meeting halfway, or making compromises, does not mean giving in to your partner’s desires. It also doesn’t mean changing expectations or lowering one’s standards. Meeting halfway means you and your partner have mutual respect for each other’s wants and needs.
4. It’s not about you.
A healthy relationship focuses on building each other up. If you want to break your relationship, start thinking about your needs, your wants and all the things you deserve. You’ll find that your partner will fall short to your standards. But if you think about what you can add to your partner’s life, you’ll be surprised of what your partner can be and how valuable you can be.
5. But, it’s also about you.
Even as you think of adding value to your partner’s life, do not forget about yourself. You are an individual as much as you part of a partnership. Pursue your dreams, do your hobbies, have your own friends, be successful in your field. Couples who learned the art of interdependence are happier and last longer by more than 7.5 years compared to couples who are too attached to each other or too apart from each other.
6. Trust your partner.
Trusting your partner is not only about fidelity. It’s also about having the confidence in your partner to do things- from doing housework to achieving his own dreams. Trusting is also about believing in your partner’s integrity and consistency of character.
7. Do things together.
Travel. Play games. Watch movies. Try a new dish. Cook. Clean. Both you and your partner don’t have to like an activity to do it. Just do something you’re both willing to try. Doing things together can reveal traits about your partner that you wouldn’t notice in ordinary situations.
8. Do nothing together.
Doing things together reveal things about your partner. Doing nothing together will reveal things about relationship. Another personal belief: Don’t be with someone you cannot sit quietly with. We can easily be happy with people when we’re doing something fun or trying something new. But it takes a different level of understanding and trust to be able to comfortably be still with another person.
9. Don’t be afraid of differences and of distance.
You and your partner’s differences do not have to be point of conflicts. Don’t be boring and strive for sameness. Be smart and use your differences to complement each other’s weaknesses.
As for distance, let it make your hearts grow fonder and your memories of each other sweeter.
10. Let go.
Choose your battles. Don’t micromanage. Trust your partner. See beyond the present. Let go of things in your relationships that you can’t control. It’s when you learn to let go that you’ll have more peace and more security.
11. Let God.
Let God hold your relationship together. Let God be the center. Let God draw you to each other. Let God lead you. Let God guide you. Let God love you so you can love your partner more.