I just read Natasha Blank’s post on The Whole Point of Every Relationship…and it really hit home.
My homeboy and I have been going through some shit lately and are actively trying to work on our relationship; inspired by my parents 40th anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I’ve come up with a few ideas on how to help our relationship.
For their anniversary, I put together a scrap book. As I went through the photos for the book, it was like watching my parents grow up together. Literally grow up together—they were 19 when they got married—the love that they share for eachother is so clear in every picture.
My parents have been amazing role models for me and my brothers and at dinner the other night, as my dad handed my mom a ring shaped box, the look of surprise and awe and absolute adoration that flashed under batted eyelashes from my mom, to her husband, made all of our hearts flutter.
For this scrap book, I asked their family and friends to write in stories and memories for my parents. The emails that came in were amazing and showed just how much they’re loved; they were likened to Romeo and Juliet by friends—and a good team of horses by family.
As the story goes, my great grandmother used to say that “a good marriage was like a team of horses, you could only move forward if you pulled in the same direction.”
Here are some ideas to help move in the same direction:
1. Just do it: If there’s something that I want to do, I can’t always wait for the man to want to do it too…and then feel resentful when we miss out. If I want to do it, I should just do it.
2. Fifteen minutes of quiet together: I know this doesn’t seem like much, but as I was writing it down, I thought, “How are we going to manage this?” This means 15 minutes a day, just the two of us (no television, no books, no iPad); just a chance for us to sit, lay—or whatever—together in quiet and enjoy each other.
3. Proofs of love (idea from the Happiness Project): Leave notes, texts, hugs, kisses, anything as reminders of our love for each other.
4. Follow through: No matter how big or small, if I say I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it. If I say I’m going to wash the dishes, I’m going to wash the dishes. If I say I’m going to clean our home from top to bottom, cook dinner and give him a full body massage all while reciting Shakespeare from memory, than that’s exactly what I’m going to do. No more putting our relationship and things around our relationship on hold for other ‘important’ things. We are the important things.
5. Once a week, do an activity together; yoga, hiking, rock climbing…whatever. Something active and out of the house. What’s that expression? “The couple that plays together stays together…”
6. Sex: Have more of it.
7. Honesty: Speak and act from a place of truth. Sometimes we sacrafice our own truth as a means to avoid hurting the other and in the end, we both get hurt. Honesty first!!
There’s a line from Natasha’s post that I love; she says:
“Turns out, it’s not about making each other happy, or any other kind of imagined perfection. It’s about helping the person in front of you be everything they truly are.”
I want to add to this a bit: not only is it about helping your partner to be everything they truly are, but it’s about being everything you truly are, within the relationship.
It’s about being honest and true with yourself first; loving and respecting yourself, as an individual, within the relationship will help you to love and respect your partner, as an individual, in the relationship.
Like a good team of horses, my man and I are going to work on these things together…now let’s see just how fast we can run!
Ed: Bryonie Wise
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