Last September 30th, my husband and I celebrated ten years of being a couple. We don’t usually celebrate our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary extravagantly since getting married… but we’re talking about TEN years! This is huge for us since we’ve been through one heck of a rollercoaster ride in the last ten years and we thought we ought to celebrate all those years–both the good and the bad. So, what are our secrets to a long lasting relationship? Read on.
Fireproof doesn’t mean the fire will never come.
It means when the fire comes that you will be able to withstand it.
– Michael Simmons in Fireproof
Being–staying–married isn’t the easiest thing in the world. They say that when you love each other, it’s easy to stay together. Well, not really. After ten years of being together, we realized that it takes a lot of work and so much more effort… especially during difficult times.
This is why every time our relationship is under fire and we are tempted to give up, we always look back to the words in our wedding vow:
There are many things I could promise you today. I could say I want to be with you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do we part. But I won’t. Those vows are for couples who believe that their love is a romantic one. I do not stand here on our wedding day thinking of romance because love is not all about romance. We know this very well after six years of dreamy moments and crushing heartaches. Instead, I stand here certain of our love that is strong enough to last forever. A love that will carry us through when things become difficult, when we are too tired, when we haven’t had the time to talk because of work and the kids, when we get tired of routine, when romance is gone, when the difficult side of life takes over the better one. When all those things happen and more, our love will keep us together.
Marriage is more than romance; it needs a fireproof kind of love that can withstand fire. It’s knowing that it won’t always be rainbows and butterflies, but still choosing to stay together. We’ve only been a couple for ten years, but we can say that we’ve learned quite a lot already.
If you’ve just recently gotten married or about to get married, here are some lessons we’d like to share with you…
Secrets to a Long Lasting Relationship
Leave and cleave. The number one advice I’d give to a newly wed is to leave and cleave. When you get married, you must understand that you’re going to have a family of your own apart from the one you grew up with. Although you’re welcoming your spouse to your family and vice versa, you both need to agree that you also need a life separate from your families. I know it’s easier to live with your parents, but believe me, issues may arise if you don’t leave and cleave. Sometimes, even if they don’t mean to, our parents may impose standards on us and our spouse that may not come across very well–especially to your spouse. Sometimes, too, we tend to prioritize our parents and what they say over our spouse when it should be the other way around. Oftentimes, we become too lax because we have our parents around; hence we end up not showing leadership for our own family.
To leave and cleave is hard, but from experience, it’s worth it. When my husband and I decided to leave and cleave in 2013–two years after getting married–we had a difficult time. I missed my family and how easy it was to have my parents around to help with taking care of my own family. However, when we did decide to do it, I saw my husband become more of a head of the family and I learned to be more responsible as a wife.
Trust your partner and be trust worthy. Trust is an important element in a long lasting relationship. If you love each other, you need to trust each other. This is easier said than done because you’re making yourself vulnerable when you give another person your trust, but you have to do it! Of course, trust isn’t just earned. You both need to make an extra effort to be trust worthy as well. In whatever you do, think about how it may affect your partner, your relationship, and the love and trust you built around it. Ask yourself, “Is it worth possibly breaking my partner’s trust? Is it worth hurting him/her?”
Communicate all the time. Communication is more than just talking; it’s the willingness to open up your mind and listen to what the other has to say. It took my husband and I a while to learn how to properly communicate (and we’re still learning to master it!), especially when we have strong feelings about what we’re discussing so don’t think things aren’t going to work out if you’re unable to successfully communicate the first time around. Instead, cool down and try again later.
Learn to compromise. We have to understand that we all have different standards and we’re not all a hundred percent all the time. One secret to a long lasting relationship our priest shared during one of his homilies is to learn to compromise. There will also be times that your partner will only be able to give 5% of himself/herself to your relationship. These are the times you need to step up and give it 95% of yourself. The same goes the other way around. If you’re not up to it, your partner needs to take the lead.
This is proven to be very effective as we’ve experienced this in our own marriage. In times when I feel weak and unmotivated, my husband tries his best to lift my spirit so I can stand back up and get back into the game. I remember the time when I experienced bleeding during my second pregnancy and I felt helpless and was at the point of giving up already. He was there for me the whole time, telling me to keep fighting for our son. I would have broken down if he weren’t there for me and I’ll always be grateful for his presence and support.
And when my husband is experiencing low morale due to work, I go the extra mile to pull his morale up. Sometimes, it’s as simple as giving him a long, quiet hug after a long day or making sure his work uniform is washed and ironed come time for work.
Alagang Full of Love Tip: I use Del Forever Joy and Forever Love Fabric Conditioner so my husband remembers me all day. 😀 I heard the smell lasts fifteen times longer so I had to try it and it’s true! Whenever they get a whiff of their clothes, my husband and kids are reminded of the love and care I put into making sure they’re clean, comfortable, and smelling fresh all day. This is the perfect pair especially now that it’s raining a lot. No more amoy kulob at last!
Support each other. My husband and I always talk about our dreams and goals with each other. It’s really comforting to know that there is someone who has your back when it comes to your dreams. It’s a nice feeling to be able to dream together, to be excited together, to actually achieve those dreams together. And if something doesn’t work out? It’s great to have someone who will be there to tell you, “Hey, that’s okay! Let’s try a different route next time.”
Make time for each other. Being a firefighter and an officer at that, it’s sometimes really hard to find time for just the two of us. He has his superiors to think about, he has his station and crew to manage, he has to attend to local executives, etc. At the same time, I’m very busy with my own business, managing our own home, and taking care of the kids. Finding time for just the two of us is a challenge, but we’ve learned to go around our busy schedules to make it work. Husband-Wife time can be as simple as having a 15-minute breakfast before the work day starts or a quick call at night while he’s on duty. When we can, we go on couple vacations.
Make time for yourself. While it’s nice to be together all the time, it also does the soul good to be apart sometimes. My husband likes to paint and I give him his space when he’s working on something. I, on the other hand, like to listen to or play my music on my own so he leaves me be and takes the kids with him when I need that me-time. You’ll be surprised how energized you’ll be after some alone time!
A decade is a lot, but we know have yet to learn more about taking care of our relationship in the years to come. Married for ten, thirty, fifty years? What are your own secrets to a long lasting relationship?
This is my entry to Nuffnang’s Secrets to a Long Lasting Relationship with Del Forever Fabric Conditioner Blog Contest. Give me some love by sharing this blog post on your social media accounts! <3