Rules of Engagement

Rules of Engagement

You like how I did a play on words there?  (former TV show and movie?)  I couldn’t resist.

As someone who has been married for 4 years now, been together 9 years and has had some fantastic relationship role models around me my whole life, AND has been through relationship hell and back pre-fiance and husband, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two.  I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned that has worked for me and us personally as well as things I’ve learned from others.

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”

1. Be grateful for your significant other.  Acknowledge how lucky you are to have him or her in your life.  I’m not talking gifts, just know how lucky you are.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  You have to pick and choose your battles.  Little things have to be put in perspective and sometimes you have to learn to let stuff go.  There are so many bigger obstacles that life will throw your way, that the small, minor things that upset you have to go to the wayside.

3. Recognize internal issues/demons from the past/battles.  When you are upset or you take issue with something, recognize what is truly about the other person (something they have legitimately said or done) versus what is 100% about you internally, mentally and emotionally.  This is a really important distinction.  You may have insecurities that will come out, for example, in the form of being mad at your boyfriend for talking to another girl or something which isn’t about them genuinely doing something wrong.  It’s about you being insecure and learning for yourself that he loves you and he is just having a conversation.  Along these lines, understand that you may have been treated bad in the past, but that doesn’t mean your current partner will treat you that way, or is showing a pattern of behavior you identify with from the past.  The past is the past and this person is unique.  He/she is not your past.

4. Talk to each other.  There is nothing more harmful to a relationship than when you give the silent treatment, are passive aggressive, pretend nothing is wrong, hold it in, text/email about it.  It’s okay to take a moment to cool off, but then come back to the situation and resolve it.  If you don’t talk things over it will build up and the same issues will keep coming up until you come to a resolution.

5. Thank each other for doing the dishes.  It may be expected if one of you is home or has time to do them, but say thank you anyway.

6. Learn to compromise.  You think you’re people and priorities are most important and they feel the exact same way.  Both of you are right.  And both of you have to give a little.

7. Don’t go to bed mad.  It’s cliche and I have been there, and have gone to bed mad.  While sometimes sleeping on it helps makes things clearer in the light of day, try to at least talk about it a little before bed and then fully resolve it in the morning.

8. Be there for each other.  No matter what.  Through the good, bad, and very ugly, be there for each other.  Listen.  Help. Love. Comfort.

9.  Compliment each other and make an effort every so often.  This often gets overlooked as you are in a relationship for a while.  It becomes easy to be complacent and lazy.  Make a little effort to put something cute on, shave your legs, do your eye makeup, put on heels instead of flip flops.  And also notice when the extra effort is made.  It goes a long way when you do.

10.  Give each other an all encompassing, huge bear hug at the end of each day.  Nothing makes you feel more loved, and makes you forget about a bad day like a really good hug.

11. Ask older couples for advice.  The elderly love dispensing advice.  They’ve also been there and done that.  Learn from them.

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