3 years, 6 tips. [ + ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS!]

Tomorrow marks 3 YEARS of dating J!

Dude.

I know that 3 years is like nothing to some people, and it’s like forever to others, but can I just go a little mushy for a sec and explain how friggin’ excited I am to marry this guy in a year? We’ve set a date and checked it twice, I have a dress, and we’ve got a dessert plan, so obviously the essentials are already taken care of. (For more wedding-related happenings, click here, here, and here. Because in case you missed it…we’re engaged!).

To ring in 3 years, we’re teaming up and sharing three tips each (so that’s 6 tips – yay math! – plus two bonus tips!) on what we’ve learned to be the most important keystone things to making a relationship work for the long haul.

*Disclaimer: We are by NO MEANS “perfect” or anything close to that. We have work to do, just like every other couple out there, and we’ll always have something that could be improved upon or bettered. So these tips are just a little snapshot of some things we’ve picked up along the way thus far that we hope might help some of you, too. 

6 tips on how to have a great relationship for a long time

Jamie says…

1.) What matters to her should also matter to you and vice versa.  

You’re not going to have a happy relationship if you think your stuff is more important than her stuff, or that her stuff doesn’t warrant attention. You love her for her, and that includes all the stuff that makes her wake up and want to conquer the world. It shows you care.

This is a continual work in progress.  I am still learning what branding really means… but that’s o.k. as long as you are making the effort.

 

2.) You’re going to argue as your grow in your relationship, and that matters; who wins the argument, doesn’t.

Growing is a necessity in a relationship, and growing is associated with temporary pain because it’s uncomfortable. Be you and be flexible that the other person is going to be them, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lean in and grow together through compromise.

Also, you should always be striving to be a better person in your own life and a better person for your significant other. And that doesn’t happen without growth. Small steps add up over time, remember that.

 

3.) Your significant other is not a Jedi Master.

The beginning of your relationship is like putting your person on the top of the highest pedestal without a safety net. It’s a liability. We’re human, we’re not perfect, we make mistakes, and hopefully we learn from them. Apologizing for your mistakes is one of the most powerful tools in a relationship. Use it, but don’t abuse it.

Bonus… and your significant other cannot read your mind.

If you want something or need something, ask. It’s OK if they didn’t know you wanted that because noone can read minds. If you think that’s false, you’re reading too many novels or watching X-Men too many times. It’s easier to skip the “he/she didn’t understand this is what I needed.” You’ll think each other has this power over time, but that’s because you’ve communicated successfully.

Erica says…

1.) Communication isn’t just key – it’s *everything.*

For new relationships – including just thinking about potentially going on a second date with the guy you just met at Starbucks or on Tinder – being open and honest from the start about what you’re looking for, what you value, and what you believe is crucial. BUT, it’s only really crucial if you’re hoping that it turns into a more consistent, stable relationship or dating down the road. You don’t have to go all deep on the second date if you see this as being a short fling or casual thing, but either way, it’s all about communicating your wants, needs, and expectations; it’s only fair to the other person, and to yourself! You don’t want to fall in love with the idea of someone instead of who they really are, and vice versa, Then, when you’ve been dating for a few years (or married for a few – read: lot – more), communication is still the most important thing. It becomes even more important when you know each other well enough to the point of thinking you just *know* what the other person will think or want and then you just act on that assumption.

We do this a lot – I did this literally yesterday, actually – and it inevitably leads to a frustrating disagreement. Save yourselves the hassle all around and just talk it out, laying everything on the table.

 

2.) Never underestimate random acts of love, and push yourself to think outside the box.

When it comes to dating, never stop. Those adorable grandparent couples that make it to Buzzfeed without knowing how to use a smart phone? They still date. They still buy each other flowers and go out dancing and eat meals together, and they don’t plan on stopping. That little extra mile of leaving a sticky note or a piece of favorite candy will not go unnoticed. Neither will taking over dish duty, folding the laundry outta the dryer, or prepping a travel mug of coffee and a breakfast bar for a quick morning out the door. Little things, people. Embrace ’em.

 

3.) Saying “thank you” goes a long way.

Once you figure out or learn your partners love language, go the step further and thank them in a way that really speaks to them. It can be easy to become complacent and rely on each other to be the rock and support system and picked-upper, but it needs to also be easy to always show appreciation for everything from listening to you vent for two hours about the new guy at work, to grabbing your favorite coffee or filling your car up with gas.

Bonus…so does saying “I’m sorry.”

Being the first to apologize might feel like a shot to your pride, but it’s worth every single bit of that if it means quickening the recovery of peace. We still have arguments – and we always will, that’s life! – but now it sometimes feels more like a battle of pride and stubbornness, because no one wants to be the one to cave, throw in the towel and apologize. But somehow it always ends up making things better and bringing things back around to addressing whatever issue arose and making sure you’re on the same page for the future, so it’s pretty much never a bad thing. Just suck it up, say “I’m sorry,” and hug it out.

AND NOW, some engagement photos, because besides Save the Dates, engagement photos are pretty much to blog about, right? Right. {wink}

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That was so visually longwinded, and it’s not even all of them. #sorrynotsorry can’t contain my excitement.

What is most important to you in a relationship, or what do you hope to have in one someday?

See you at the altar.signature

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