It’s not something magical, it takes hard work

The 2nd of February 2018 we will celebrate 16 years as a couple and 10 of these years as husband and wife. We got married on the same day we became a couple to tie the two events together. The anniversary days have always been very important to me. I can’t exactly say why that is, but I always want to celebrate that very special day all those years ago that have led to so much happiness and positivity in my life through the years. Now, I don’t mean to say that we haven’t had our fair share of fights and disagreements, it’s been a long time after all, but once you pass a certain amount of time you start to understand how the other one thinks. This hopefully leads to better arguments and less feelings being trampled upon. But sometimes a friend says something down these lines to me:

“You and T seem to have such good communication with each other, you never seem to disagree. You also seem so know each other so well that it feels like you’re reading the other one’s thoughts. I wish I had the same with <insert partners name>”

Well, again.. 16 years, you are bound to learn something about the other in that amount of time. But the level of communication and understanding we got for each other haven’t come for free. We have worked hard on it and even if we have smoothed out the biggest and most common bumps, we still run into occasions where we disagree with each other. But knowing when’s a good time for your partner to bring stuff up is key. It’s also important to set a base ground so you respect each other’s feelings and emotional integrity. The biggest things I’ve learned in our marriage are:

  1. If I’m unhappy with something he have done, I don’t bring it up in public or even among friends. I make sure we’re in a calm and quiet place, preferably at home and well fed, so we can talk it through without being disturbed by people or have our feelings distorted by hunger. If we are out in public and something happens I signal T that I wish to talk to him afterwards. But I do so discreetly via eye contact or facial expression if that’s possible, neither of us have anything to gain from the other making a public spectacle.
  2. Something I’ve really worked with to change in myself is a thing he told me a long time ago. I would guess it’s 14-15 years ago so it was just in the beginning of our relationship. He simply said to me: “Say what you mean and mean what you say, I’m not a mind reader”. That really stuck with me. It took quite a while for me to incorporate it in my way of thinking (because I’ve been brought up expecting the guy to know everything without me saying anything), but it have helped us a lot since he does the same for me.
  3. Just because you had to tell your partner that you wish something from them (a hug, a fancy dinner, a game, a necklace) doesn’t make it less thoughtful. If you know for sure they don’t really care for that stuff themselves, isn’t the act of them doing it to make you happy something that you can cherish? For example: T never cared for marriage, but it meant a lot to me. So we agreed to get married and he went through the whole process just because it meant so much to me. In the end he said “It was a lengthy and troublesome process, but it was worth every step of it to see you so happy.”

Now, it might sound like I’m doing most of the work and maybe I am. But he have changed and added things to his behaviour that makes it easier for me to understand what he needs. And in the end, isn’t that what most of us are after? Feeling loved and respected by your partner, knowing you can trust them whatever the situation? That have always been my relationship goals.

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