After 25 years of being together, people are constantly asking my husband, Jan, and I to share the secret recipe for our successful relationship. We aren’t pretending to be experts on relationships and we are not portraying that our relationship is perfect and easy, because it definitely isn’t. Trust me! Jan and I are just two people who are committed to each other and to living a life that we love.
We have gone through so many ups and downs as a couple and we have used those ups and downs as lessons to help us grow and love each other more deeply. Reflecting back on why our marriage has been successful up to now, we both want to share a helpful tip on how you can have a successful relationship too! We want to share some of the information that we have learned over the years together in hopes that your life will be better from it!
Tip 1 (Monika): There will be tons of information given to you by others through your relationship. Remember at the end of the day, you’re building, fostering, and living that relationship, not them, so use what serves you and leave what doesn’t.
You are planning your wedding and all the people around you are providing their own skills, tools, and information to you and your partner. Instead of taking that information and dismissing it by saying “Oh I’m just planning a wedding,” take that information and outline for your relationship where you are going to draw the lines and create the boundaries that work for the pair of you. Sometimes this involves making difficult decisions.
Case and point: For our wedding day, Jan’s parents wanted to be on stage with us as part of our wedding party. This was a tradition in Jan’s family. Jan and I had to sit down and discuss what we wanted as we moved forward in our relationship. Due to the fact that we were creating a new family unit and wanted to form our own traditions, and not upset those traditions that were important to our families, we had a difficult decision to make together. Ultimately we decided to have Jan’s parents in the audience along with my parents.
Tip 2 (Jan): Never go to bed angry: a new perspective
In order to not go to bed angry, always assume that everything that your partner is doing is coming from the heart. If she/he does something that hurts you, have the awareness that most likely they are not intentionally doing it to hurt you and it is you who is responsible for the way that you receive the message. Communicating with your partner that they upset you and hurt your feelings and asking why they did it, will help you both come to a resolution about the situation.
Don’t be so concerned with being right and making the other person feel that they are wrong. The phrase “pick your battles” implies that there is a winner and a loser. Live your life with no sides and determine the shared vision for the conversation or the circumstance. The objective is always for us to love each other and love our life and to share that with others.
I leave you with…
Whenever your relationship seems as though it is in turmoil, just remember that consistent, concerted communication and a willingness to be raw, messy, and vulnerable will help you get through to what is on the other side. Life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about navigating when it’s not perfect so that you can come together in the end.
Here’s the video with Jan and Monika giving their relationship tips!