Josh and I have been in a relationship for almost five years! Regardless of what stage you’re at in a relationship (i.e., dating, engaged, married, etc.), there have been relationship tips Josh and I have picked up and used over the years.
In fact, there are so many things we’re conscious of that I asked Josh to help me out with this post! Together, we rounded up these top 5 tips! There are definitely more than these five and you can browse the relationship section of The Cozie for much more.
- Figure out your foundational self. This is who you are essentially. It’s important to have a strong sense of self before entering a relationship. For those of you who are struggling with this aspect, but don’t want to chuck your current relationship out the window, try to create a list of adjectives you want to embody (kindness, funny, adventurous, etc.). Circle your top 5. There’s a good start to your foundation! Gaining traction on your foundation is important because it will ultimately guide you to people who help cultivate who you are, instead of tear down who you are. In short, you’ll find someone you’re more compatible with. It’s also important to note what your life goals are. Do you want to be married? Have kids? Not have kids? Live in a certain location? Travel a lot? What’s your finance life like (are you a saver or a spender)? These are all important things to consider. We’ve seen many a relationship go astray because of differing opinions. While any good relationship can handle some waves, too many tidal waves can cause some serious damage.
- Postpone sex. Easily the most controversial (and TMI! haha!) point. It’s in our opinion that too many people jump the gun when it comes to the physical aspects of a relationship. Either sex is introduced early in the game or the relationship begins with a strong physical element. Of course, there are fantastic relationships out there that started with physical intimacy first. However, they’re the exception, not the rule. Josh and I really believe in the power of abstinence, especially before marriage. Regardless of your personal choices towards sexual activity, it can’t be denied that it is one of the most intimate experiences on earth. That being said, it’s easy for some couples to slip into a physically heavy relationship and neglect all the other important elements (emotional, mental, making sure everyone is on the same page). In some cases, sex is used as a cover-up of things gone wrong in the relationship. Resist using physical intimacy as your great connector. I challenge you to remove sex from the relationship for a couple of weeks. Do you guys still have fun? Do you talk and converse? Do you learn new things about each other? Is most of the time spent fighting? Is there built up resentment? How do you both connect overall? You’ll be amazed at what you discover!
- Be consistent. Just like you want to build a strong foundation for yourself, you also want to build a strong foundation for your relationship. Trust and reliability are major players when it comes to this. One of the best ways to cultivate trust and safety is to be consistent. Josh and I both struggled with this at first as I’m sure many couples do. It takes a lot of active hard work to figure out what kind of consistency to provide. Usually, it’s in small gestures. For example, an important piece of consistency for me is sticking to a schedule when it’s provided. I don’t typically have strict schedules at all for the day-to-day, but when Josh says he’s going to be somewhere at a certain time, it’s extremely important for me that he follows through. On the other hand, Josh is more of a routine guy. How I cultivate consistency is trying to create an environment where he knows what to expect (i.e. grocery shopping on Sundays, making the bed in the morning, etc.). Like I said, creating consistency is usually about little (often mundane) things, but they add up! A simple way to begin is to communicate more: where you’re going to be when (i.e. “I have work 8-5 Monday-Friday”), what you’re going to do (“I’m heading out for a couple hours to meet up with some friends”), etc. Then, stick to what you say is going on. If something changes, clue your partner in as a heads up. This is an easy way to let them know you’re reliable, trustworthy, and safe, which are all important aspects to a good relationship!
- Discuss everything and know how to argue. There’s a lot of stigma around your partner knowing everything that’s going on in your life. I’m not really sure why that is. I think it probably comes down to the idea of protecting yourself. However, if you want to have a deep, intimate relationship with someone, then you need to be able to discuss things going on and do so safely and with trust. If you feel like you can’t discuss certain things with your partner because they might blab, then that might be a deal breaker. Breaking confidentiality between partners is serious business. In addition, I cannot tell you how ridiculously important it is for you to discuss the hard and ugly things as well! Not every topic is going to be pretty and give you “feel good” emotions! Undoubtedly, there are going to be some very difficult conversations, but every relationship has these and they must happen. However, it doesn’t have to happen as a full blown screaming match nor does it have to include silent treatments. Learn how to fight fair as a couple, to discover each other’s differences, and come to a solution respectfully and peacefully. Remember: the best relationships don’t come to a compromise, they come to a consensus.
- Sometimes, you have “big loves” and it ends. Oooh, this is a hard lesson to learn! I’m super fortunate that Josh is my “big love” in my life. However, I’m the exception, not the rule. Most of us will have a couple long-lasting, intensely intimate relationships (or “big loves”) before choosing a life partner. This is totally normal. You’re going to have “big loves” in life. There may be several points where you believe you’re heading the same direction only to tragically discover a fork in the road. Sometimes, you choose a path together. Other times, you head on different journeys. That does not make your love for that person less great or invalid. It just means that it wasn’t meant to be your journey. Let go of past relationships. Keep a special place for “big loves”, but don’t give them too much heart space.
Well, I have a lot more tucked under my belt, but I think this will do for now! I can seriously chat away about this stuff forever. I hope this has helped you along your journey! If you’re having some troubling doubts (another great post here), then it might be time to seek out a counselor. No shame! Counselors can seriously help guide us along the right path. Till next time!
*Thank you Meredith Amadee Photography for capturing these photos!