8 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship
This year the hubster and I have been together for eight years, married seven of those eight funtastic years. Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, but despite all the crud that life has thrown at us, we’ve always managed to have a really strong relationship. Married life is hard work, but it’s really important to have some trick up your sleeves to help rekindle your relationship, and then make sure you stay connected once you get that fire going again.
Since we’ve been married, hubby and I have been through job loss, moving across the country, many deaths, and our children being hospitalized. Most couples couldn’t survive one of those, let alone all of those fun times. We aren’t a power couple, we don’t have super powers, unless you count sarcasm of course, but what we do have is a stubborn streak that refuses to give up, and a fierce love for each other.
Marriage is hard work. That’s an adage that people hear over and over again, but what the heck does that actually mean? What does that look like? In our house it means playing together, eating together, and fighting together. Yes, I said fighting together. We fight, it’s ok to admit that you fight too. Fighting can be healthy ;).
This is my second marriage, and to be honest I was terrified to get married again. My first marriage was such a disaster that I didn’t trust myself to find a good partner in life. I was at a much better place in my life, but I still wasn’t quite where I trusted myself to take good care of myself and pick someone that would be an amazing life long mate.
Wayne challenged me, he supported me, and he fostered me. He isn’t without flaw, but I realized that he was an amazingly good man, and after getting through all my own baggage I realized I would be lucky to have him as a husband.
The one thing that has helped us survive all these years is our stubborness ironically. Being stubborn can easily get in the way of a marriage, but in our case it’s helped us get through all the tough stuff that life has thrown at us. Stubborness has seen us through, but we’ve also used these 8 tips to rekindle our relationship and to keep our marriage strong.
8 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship
1. Find a Friend: So many marriages end up in the old ball and chain scenario. That’s one thing that Wayne and I have refused to buy into from the start. It may sound cliche when I say he is my best friend, but he is my best friend. From the start, we wanted to actually enjoy spending time together. We wanted a friendship not just a romantic relationship. When we are having a tough time, and may really not like each other, we return to the idea of “would we treat a friend like this?!” Trust me, that question has saved us from many fights.
2. Enjoy Hobbies Together: Since you know that #1 is super important, it is also really important to have activities that you both love doing together. It doesn’t have to be a ton, but having a few activities that you like to do together is a good place to start. For us, we both love the outdoors, arts and crafts, and going to the movies. It’s something we spend a lot of time doing together.
3. Eat Together: Meals aren’t just a time to nourish your body. It’s also time to nourish your soul. Eating together is the best time to share how your day went and chat about what’s going on in your life. Bertolli loves to call these Mangia Moments. Like a big Italian family, drinking, eating, and laughing over a good meal, these Mangia Moments can help keep your relationship in tip top shape. It’s these memories that you will cling to once the others start to fade. You guys know how this girl loves some good food, and the Bertolli Classic Meals for 2 are great on nights you want to bond, without cooking all night.
4. Find Your Own Time Away: Just as important as it is to do hobbies together, it’s really important to make your relationship strong to have time apart as well. Marriage and relationships are a melding of two individuals, but it shouldn’t be somewhere that the invidiuals disappear. It’s really important to know who you are separate from your partner. Too often people seem to lose themselves in relationships and that eventually leads to partners being resentful. As important as it is to take time away, it’s also important for your partner to support your alone time.
5. Fight Fair: Did I mention that Wayne and I have a stubborn streak? Yup, we do. We can be hot headed too, so we are still working on fighting fair, but one thing that we don’t do is we don’t call each other awful names. We don’t drop those awful terrible names that some couples seem to sling around. It’s also important to not bring up things that you are angry about just because your partner is telling you something you did upset them.
If you are upset with your partner, bring it up at a time that you aren’t both already angry. (That’s really hard, I know) Also, don’t retort with something your partners does to make you angry if they are talking about you. Listen, talk about it, and at another time bring up your concerns. Also know when to walk away, I don’t mean taking your toys and going home. I mean telling your partner you are too upset to talk about this right now, and then tell them a later time specifically you two can talk about it.
6. Be Each Others Cheerleaders: Supporting your partners is probably one of the most important things you can do in your life. Be their cheerleader! Be there for them when they may not feel sure of themselves. Help pick them up when they fall instead of kicking them when they are down. Let them know that you see the awesome in them and believe in it even if they don’t at the time.
7. Be Brutally Honest: First of all, there is something different between being brutally honest and being mean. Mean sucks. Mean doesn’t help your partner, but being brutally honest with your partner when they ask your opinion is important. They should be able to know that what you say is what you mean, and there aren’t any hidden messages in your love language. Hinting and playing passive aggressive games doesn’t help anyone. Have tact, and take your partner’s feeling into consideration, but don’t ever lie to them to save their feelings. Some people may not agree with this one, but honesty helps a relationship. Just make sure they know it’s coming from a place of love, and not from your ego.
8. Compromise (Choose Your Battles): This one is an oldie but a goodie. Compromise is so important. Choose your battles. One of the questions that we ask ourselves all the time is “Would I die unhappy if I didn’t get my way?” If the answer to the question is no, then let it go. Sometimes it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the heat of the moment or the desire to win that we forget the bigger pictures. This question has saved me a lot of heart ache over the years.
My marriage isn’t perfect, but I have learned a lot thanks to the school of hard knocks. Wayne and I have used these tricks to keep our relationship strong, and we use these relationships tips and pair it with our passion for food and life to make our marriage steady.
Food is one of the things that we both enjoy together. We’ve cast off the idea that food is bad for you. I guess you can say we are embracing our honorary Italian in us. Food brings the family together, and it’s a time where we are breaking bread with each other and our family that we cherish the connections we build a strong relationship around the dinner table.
How do you work to build a strong relationship with your family?