This year my partner and I will clock up twenty-eight years together. And although the anniversary of when we met will arrive six months before the date we became a couple, it highlights the fact that love should never be rushed.
Take time to fall in love. Don’t go shopping for it. For it will tap you on the shoulder, pointing you toward someone you least expect at a time you’re not searching. And once you fall, take note of the advice below.
Tip 1: Share your dreams together.
This is my number one tip. My partner always says tip 2 is the most important, but to me, this one is. I really recommend that you share your dreams together, and once one dream or treat is realised, move onto the next.
For example, set out to buy that house or apartment. Research the next world trip, and put money aside for it. Look at ideas for renovations and put them into action. Meanwhile, share a hobby. Always have something brewing that you are working on together.
For eleven years, Warren and I produced and presented a community radio show called The Rhythm Divine. Every week we’d spend hours researching, interviewing guests and mixing our music. Before and during that time we redid our kitchen and bathroom, and enjoyed several vacations. I can’t stress how important it is to share your dreams and realise them.
Tip 2: Communicate
People who don’t know us think we argue a lot. My mum even accused us of it when we were in our early years. We both turned around and in unison and replied ‘Mum, we’re not arguing’. In later years, she realised that this is the way we communicate. We debate, openly and honestly.
So don’t feel you can never say something for fear of being challenged. Be challenged and make sure both of you stress your point. And never go to sleep with an issue unsolved. Resolve it before you retire for the day. In years to come, those early issues will be insignificant.
Tip 3: Your sex life is your barometer.
Let’s get personal. Many decades ago a woman I used to baby sit for pointed out that a couple she knew no longer slept in the same bed. Then she followed it up by saying that in anyone’s relationship, sex is the barometer of how successful, or unsuccessful, that relationship is.
If you’re happy, it will all come naturally. I’ll leave you with that thought.
Tip 4: Ask the grey haired ones.
As yet, we haven’t had to do this, but it was advice from a priest at a wedding we attended many years ago. He told the bride and groom that if they had problems in their marriage, don’t talk to a Catholic priest. They’re not married. What would they know?
He gestured to the old couples in the church and said to go to the ones with grey hair, for they’ve felt it, done it and learned from it!
Tip 5: I love you.
For some it’s hard to say, yet with practice it can roll off the tongue so easily. And if I told you how many times a day Warren and I say (or text, or email) it to each other, you’d probably throw up.
But my partner has taken it one step further. He noted how my family members say it to each other before one of us leaves, or finishes a phone call. He instigated the same practice with our friends. Some were taken aback at first, but most of them now end our conversations with ‘I love you’.
If you can say it to your friends, you can definitely say it to your loved one.
After all, the trick is not to find ways to stay together, but ways of building on what you have.
Please, don’t be too shy to share your own advice in the comments below.