It's time for a bit of bragging and maybe a few confessions about our relationship. The top comment we hear from our close friends regarding our relationship goes something like this "you two are so perfect together, you're so lucky." In a way, we are lucky, on the other hand, we've worked very hard to make it work. If two people were to run into each other off the street, go out on a few dates, "just click," get married, live happily ever after, etc., THAT would be luck, not to mention nauseating. Relationships don't work that way. The ones that appear to work that way are hiding something.
When Erika and I first started dating, we were clouded by our attraction, youthful bliss, beer, and everything else that comes with living in a college town. When reality started setting in, we had one pressing issue that still plagues us. Most of Erika's sisters live in Tennessee, we live in Wisconsin, and Erika has always wanted to be closer to her sisters again. For those of you who aren't familiar with the geography, that's an 11 hour drive at least. The separation is hard on Erika and early on in our relationship, it really put the bitter in "bitter sweet." It made arguments worse and breakups seem more practical. There were times we felt like giving up, and times we tried to give up, but we always wound up making amends and sticking together. Why did we stick together? Well, that's love. How is the tricky part.
One thing we started early on was developing a routine. A few examples: I always give Erika a massage at night before going to bed, she always has dinner ready for me when I get home, and we always end the day with an "I love you" and a kiss. They are simple things, but having a routine reminds you to show your significant other that you love them every day and keeps your feelings for each other fresh.
Another thing we try very hard to do, is to avoid being jealous and controlling. Give your partner some freedom. If they stray too far and it becomes a problem, that could be a sign. If, on the other hand, you keep each other on tight leashes, you create a lot of friction that should not be necessary. You should want to be close and not get into questionable situations. Relationships should be cohesive on their own and not require rules to keep two people together.
I don't want to give the impression that we're some sort of wonder couple or that our relationship is perfect; it's far from perfect. I know that, Erika knows that, but our friends seem to disagree. I think everyone just needs a little perspective. All relationships need work regardless of how long the couple has been together, and no matter how they look from the outside looking in. I think everyone could benefit from doing a little research to help improve their relationship. Here's a short and sweet article I saw today that, I hope, can give couples some ideas to strengthen their bond:
Eric is a software engineer and father of two, who's hobbies include video games, open source software, and just being a geek. Read more from this author