Basing this article solely on experience, Nate and I (like all couples) have had our fair share of ups and downs. Recently, we celebrated 6 years of being together and with that, comes all that knowing each other that long entails: a true knowledge (and acceptance) of each other’s flaws as well as strong suits. While it may be easy to fall in love, staying in love may prove to be a challenge at times.
1. Have a goal you both work to meet
Our example may be pretty obvious–we work on this website together. When this first started, I worked on Pop of Style on my own with the help of my mom’s advice and photography skills. Nate was an avid supporter in any way that he could be, but it wasn’t until we made “the big move” to Florida that he truly became an integral part of the website. Once we started really working on content it translated into more time spent together and strengthed our relationship. We are both fueled by a common goal that inspires us! Your goals can be anything you want them to be…whether it’s a small business idea or just small things like changing around decorations in the house (having small goals is great because you get instant satisfaction once it’s completed).
2. Complementary interests
A lot of people hammer home that you have to have shared interest to make your relationship work, but we think complementary interests can take it to the next level! For us the obvious one is the combined effort of the outfit pictures/blogging. Nate enjoys photography, often taking time to snap landscape shots at the same location we’re shooting outfits; while I love styling and writing. We’ve also made the decision to regularly incorporate original drink and food recipes, mostly because Nate loves cooking and creating fresh new concoctions. Find what it is you or your partner like to do then try to become involved in something that works simultaneously to benefit one another.
3. Have a routine
This is the glue that has held us together through tough times and times of erratic change. At first, I fought him on it, but Nate is a big fan of the daily routine. I’m more of the “whatever interesting comes along that could possibly break up the monotony” type of person (while still adhering to personal and professional responsibility). The two types didn’t necessarily mix in the beginning–that is, until we found a common ground and began to be an equal part in our daily routine. Within our relationship, we wake up at the same time, get ready, Nate makes breakfast, then we have coffee together. We commute to work together, have our “catch up on work” conversation in the car so that by the time we are home, we are able to cook dinner together and then I get some of our laundry/cleaning done while he packs us lunch for the next day and I take Henna for her nightly walk. Usually, we set aside time for us both to do work (with me, it’s teacher stuff while he works on stuff for the chemistry lab), but we do it together–usually on the couch while watching one of our shows together. On the weekends, we try to complete work ahead of time for the blog, plan meals, grocery shop, and plan something fun with friends that we can look forward to. The point is, that having a routine where you both can equally share in the fun and the responsibility can makes you feel valued.
4. Entertain together
Nate and I love to entertain guests at our house, and it’s something that has brought us even closer together. Whenever people are over and there’s food, music, and good drinks, we can’t help but feel lucky to have what we have together. Having your house guest-ready is a great way to strengthen the marital bond. It is something both people can take pride in, and you should! Your house should be a representation of your best self. Once the house is ready and everyone is having a good time, both of you will be reminded of your value in each other not only as individuals, but as a couple as well.
5. Have a “meeting of the minds”
Okay, yes this is cheesy, and yes this is what we actually call it. Keep in mind that when we affectionately coined the phrase in our household, we were a little buzzed on champagne–but that’s just us. We think it’s really important to make sure that you take time out of your busy schedule to have a “meeting of the minds” of sorts; in other words, a continuation of those “deep-rooted” conversations that kept the relationship abuzz when it all began. You know, those talks that last for hours and can include anything from hopes and dreams to opinions on worldly issues. It’s important to continue growing as people through debate, self-introspection, and above all–humor! I honestly look forward to those Sunday mornings when we sit at our little table on the lanai drinking coffee (or booze) and having those conversations that really get you thinking. They can keep a couple on their toes and ultimately work to bring both parties even closer.