Summer’s heating up and maybe that means your relationship is too. Whether you’ve been in a relationship for two weeks or two years, you are likely no stranger to the challenges of sustaining a meaningful partnership with another person.
At a certain point in time (arguably around the two-year mark) things start to change. Research says that the “honeymoon” period likely ends between 1.5 – 2.5 years into your relationship and conversations start steering away from their usual tone.
When you start to notice this happen in your relationship it’s likely that you might pull back or start to reevaluate where you stand. The first thing you need to know is that this is completely normal and happens to everyone. The second thing you need to know is that there are “rules” that you can set in your relationship that are hard lines and you should not cross them – no matter what.
These “resolutions” (we will call them that instead of “rules”) should be things that you and your partner discuss as uncompromising barriers that you maintain out of respect for your partner and the relationship that you have. Here are the three that my husband and I live by to get you started:
1. DON’T EVER SWEAR
This was one that we set early into our relationship. Swearing was something that was reserved for aggressive-drivers-who-almost-KILLED-me-when-texting-and-switching-lanes!, not your partner that you love. Calling someone by a mean name is never productive and 10/10 time is more detrimental to the situation. Cursing is literally just word poverty where you lack other words to share how you truly feel – set the limit to never curse at your partner and vice versa.
2. NEVER USE THE “D” WORD
Don’t throw out ultimatums like they are yesterday’s sushi. Sahir and I never used the words “break-up” in the 9 years that we dated and have since never used the word “divorce” to threaten each other. Divorce hasn’t ever been an option for us so we would never use it as a weapon. It’s easy to say “well maybe we should just break up!” in the midst of a heated argument, but when days go by and you “can’t even remember what you were fighting about!” you will remember how quick you were to throw in the towel on your relationship.
3. KISS EVERYDAY
This one is tough, because as time goes on – intimacy is usually the first to go. In order to prevent this, fall into the habit of kissing every time you see each other or leave each other. Funny story: I was running SUPER late to work on Thursday and ran to my car thinking that Sahir was still in the shower. I started my car and ended up leaving without saying goodbye and giving him a kiss – and within 90 seconds I get a call saying “Did you just leave?! You left without saying goodbye!?” it’s been 4 days and he is still giving me a hard time about it. “Remember that time you left without saying goodbye….” – okay, I’m sorry! Totally my bad, won’t happen again.
Another fun tip that I learned from a girlfriend is that whoever is wrong (read: him), has to do pushups while saying 10 nice things about the other person. The longer it takes them, the more pushups they do – no repeats! I can confirm from experience – yesterday, Sahir was mean and giving me attitude, so naturally, he had to do pushups while saying 10 reasons why he loves me – that this is an effective strategy and I highly recommend it. Bonus points for supporting his fitness goals.
Find resolutions that you both believe in and set them early into your relationship. They will help keep you grounded and establish a baseline for communication and what works for each of you.