The blog post in which I hand out unsolicited relationship advice. Because, jeez, who doesn’t want that? But serio, I think this advice of mine rocks and I’ve loved my seventeen years of marriage so far, so maybe I know a little something? I dunno, here’s just what I think…
There’s a whole galaxy of articles and books over-brimming on this one.
And I think that’s neat.
Well done to anyone who wants improvement in their life and seeks advice on how to achieve that improvement. But please make sure you get it from the right source for you.
A lot of the advice I read about includes doing extra things with, or for, your partner outside of your daily life to ‘keep the spark alive.’
Go food shopping together
Gaze into each others eyes for several minutes
Vagina weight lifting (to enhance the female sexual experience)
(I’ll be honest with you. My vag and I almost had heart attacks when we read about the weight lifting she and I will never. ever. be doing.)
But truly I have actually no problems at all with what anyone else does to improve their relationship.
Something I am uncomfortable with, however, is the idea that people might think that they HAVE TO do all these extra things in order to keep their relationship on trend.
I think it’s awful that there might be couples out there who think they have to be fitting in a certain number of date nights per month or else they’re destined for divorce.
I hate the idea of couples placing so much pressure on their relationship. Or feeling that they have to reach perfect couple level (like the status of their relationship is some kind of gaming app) or like they need to compete with perfect-looking couples in FaceBook land.
And here’s why I hate that…
1) Because it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect couple.
2) Because I believe that true love lies in the little things.
I believe the little things are where the magic lives.
Love is in the moments when we fuck up but try again. It’s in forgiveness and acceptance of our flaws and acknowledgement of all the good we are trying to bring.
We’re all messing it up. Picking up the pieces. Trying to re-write the chapters of our relationships in which we fell short.
The important part of all that is the keep trying part.
Because — life happens.
At some point life is gonna come along and knock so hard on your door it’s gonna blow it right off its hinges. And it’s gonna bring with it a whole lot of happenings that you and your perfect other half never saw coming.
And that stuff you never saw coming is going to create ups and downs, arguments, hurt feelings, hurdles and an often difficult navigation to finding a middle ground. As well as all the wonderful stuff in between, of course!
That is the long-term relationship. They’re full of wonder and beauty and can be the best ride of your life. But they’re bumpy. Really bloody bumpy.
We all want our relationship to survive the bumps.
And I can’t help but feel the trick to surviving the bumps is yes, again… those little things.
Those little things, that in the beginning seem to hold no meaning at all, end up being the glue that holds the relationship together.
If you ever doubted that the little things matter, just think about that last part of your relationship.
When you’re 95 years old…
The guy who doesn’t mind scooching your catheter bag out of the way so you can sit closer while you both slurp down your liquid steak and vege dinner — THAT is your guy.
When you’re too old to both A) see, and B) give a fuck about, the full blown beard you’re now sporting and your man doesn’t care because he just loves the fact that you woke up again this morning — THAT is your man.
The little things.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps all the bumps in our long-term relationships are just preparation for the end of our time together on earth — the part just this side of ‘until death’, when it’s all about adult nappies and reminding each other to put our teeth in? (In the same way that toddler tantrums prepare parents for the teenhood that is coming.)
But for real, as far as I’m concerned, you just need to know yourself. Be true to that. Know what you want and need. Ask for that. And allow your partner to do the same.
If you do that, then you are naturally creating an environment of trust and honesty. One where each others desires and needs can be known and met, if possible.
For some people (or many), being true to yourself may include doing the extra things to ‘keep your spark alive.’ If that’s you and your partner, then go ahead, jump in and have fun with it.
I’m not saying couples shouldn’t aim for passion. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t try to satisfy their desires and needs in relationships.
I’m saying that you should do exactly that, but do it by knowing yourself.
Don’t live your relationship by someone else’s standard.
When you’re diving into the Grand Canyon of relationship advice, follow the advice that fits you.
That’s my advice on relationship advice. Take what you will.
Love on, friends. Love on.
P.S, photo courtesy of my husband and myself. 😊