1. Choose a partner where there is passion, but also friendship. For me, having someone that I can talk to as a best friend was just as important as the spark. I plan for this to last forever, and flames can fizzle out, it’s what else you have going that sustains. Lucky for me, I married my best friend and 15 years later the spark is still there.
2. Is it more important to be right or happy? For a long time I picked right — I figured out happy is more fun.
3. Honor each other’s strengths. It is so easy to be frustrated when your partner doesn’t notice the dirty dishes in the sink, but they probably let go of the fact that you can’t seem to pull glaringly obvious weeds in the sidewalk crack.
4. Take care of yourself. Stay healthy. Make sure you feel your best. It makes you easier to be around when you feel your best.
5. Play! Don’t stop having fun just because you are getting older. Playing tag in your backyard or Uno at the table reminds us to enjoy the little things in life and stay young at heart.
6. Remind yourself why you fell in love. Think about the things you enjoy about your partner.
7. Tell them how you feel, and do it often. Tell them the things you like about them. (see above point)
8. Tell the other person what you want and need. No one is a mind reader.
9. Listen to them when they say what they want and need. Try to pick up on the subtleties, and ask them if you need to clarify.
10. If you have children, remember to make time to be with each other. I am sure you’ve read this piece of advice a hundred times, but it can be as simple as a movie night after the kids are tucked in bed. Feed your relationship so that it’s still there when the kids are grown up and moved out.
11. Spend time on you, without your partner. They fell in love with you and your uniqueness. Honor who you are and continue to grow and develop yourself. Not only is it good for your spirit, but it gives you things to talk about.
12. Allow them the same courtesy. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean spending every available second together. It means enjoying the time you have together.
13. Relationships are a partnership. No one person should be in charge. If you disagree, hear them out. Ask questions in a respectful way. Kindly share your thoughts and make decisions together. Remember, that you might make a concession for the sake of keeping the peace. Or after listening with an open mind, you might actually be persuaded after hearing their point of view.
14. Find something you enjoy doing together and actually do it! We love hiking and tennis. He is on tennis leagues, which he does for himself, but I LOVE being his practice partner. ☺
15. Do nice things for the other, without ANY expectations of something in return.