Between advice from friends and family, examples of what not to do, and my own experiences, these are the things I’ve come up with that make my relationship with Fiance work.
pick your battles – I remind Fiance sometimes when he’s done something that irked me (tossing something to the garbage and it bouncing out, but not picking it up) but I don’t nag him or get angry. I try to keep in mind my imperfections when I start to feel frustrated.
make couple time – I have been so busy and stressed with work, as has my Fiance, and we are really busy with wedding stuff and family stuff on weekends. We have had little time lately just for the two of us. But I try to make up for it by being affectionate, taking a few minutes just to talk or cuddle when we can find it, and scheduling a night out for us now and then. This is very important to establish early and keep it up so once kids and other things come along, you don’t lose each other in the mix.
open communication – I think this is a given, but it’s so incredibly important. I talk to Fiance about almost everything. Usually the only things i keep to myself are my irrational frustrations/concerns/ramblings. Sometimes I need a little time to sort my thoughts, but I always talk to Fiance about how I’m feeling. He is my rock, so when I’m upset just seeing him is a huge relief. I have a tendency to be short when I’m upset about something. Thankfully I’ve learned it’s best to take some time to cool off before talking to Fiance, so I don’t take out my frustration on him. Most recently it was Verizon who made me so mad. I came home, silently fixed dinner, briefly stated to him why I was so angry, then went for a run. I came back and we talked things over.
thinking before you speak – I learned this lesson the hard way in my previous relationships. They were not healthy relationships, to say the least, but there was no sensor on my mouth. When I was upset or angry or sad it all came tumbling out, often before I took time to sort through my emotions and make sense of things. I said a lot of nasty things, and a lot of nasty things were said to me. Now I make sure to take the time to think about what I really want to say before I open my mouth. I still get my thoughts out, but in a mature manner that more accurately conveys my point. I try to respond, rather than react, and don’t let that initial, emotional, knee jerk response get the best of me. I can say that I have never called Fiance a name or said anything that I truly regret.
put your relationship first – I believe that if you and your SO put each other’s needs and concerns before your own, that you will each get your needs met. This means that you need to communicate your needs, but ultimately you both are in touch with each other and in putting each other first, your own needs get met. FI knows that sometime I need space to think, but he needs to talk things out. By him giving me the space I need I get the the point where I’m ready to talk more quickly and we are able to handle any disagreements in a calm manner. And we both have respect for each other for meeting each of our needs – I appreciate him giving me time to think, and he appreciates me being mindful of his need to talk things through sooner rather than later. We also put our relationship before anything else. Obviously we have work and family committments, but if we have a need as a couple, we address it as soon as possible. We don’t let family dictate what we do and we stay focused on our own goals and needs. This is crucial to us with financial matters especially.