This is a little bit crazy to think about, but as of today, Adam and I have officially been together for nine years. NINE! Our first date feels like just yesterday and also a lifetime ago. There’s been so many ups and a couple downs, which we both know will be the case for as long as we’re together. We just went for a dinner date to celebrate and maybe it was the wine, but we started talking about how the heck we’ve managed to get here. And there’s no point to keeping these findings to ourselves! We’re not “perfect” by any means, but who is? Here’s an impromptu list of 9 things we think have helped this relationship last for, well, nine years.
1. Check In
We often hear that ‘communication is key’ to relationships. That is, of course, true, but you have to go beyond the weekend plans and what’s for dinner tonight. Adam and I love checking in with each other in a way that can sometimes be uncomfortable because it makes you reflect on how you REALLY feel. Sometimes I’ll turn to him and flat out ask, “Are you happy right now?” It’s an intense question, but it makes us both pause and be honest with ourselves and each other.
It’s great for you and your s/o to have shared interests and hobbies, but it has worked well for us to keep our own things too. This has always given us more to talk about, and allowed us to retain our identities. Though we’re into some different things, we still share a mutual respect for each other’s interests, even if I’m not into watching the Tottenham game and Adam isn’t that keen on attending a Beyonce dance class.
3. Be Silly
This might not be for everyone, but Adam and I are both very goofy with those who we are closest to. Laughing has, on occasion, been the only way to get through hard times. We are bonded together by nine years of really funny moments and inside jokes, and built a foundation of a great friendship.
4. Keep Date Night
Date night is one of our favourite reminders of what it was like in the beginning of our relationship. When your focus was solely on connecting, being romantic, and making a good impression. We often keep things simple and go for a walk, grab dinner, see a movie, play a board game (or Heads Up which is ridiculously fun with just 2 people), etc. but always try to do our best to unplug from our phones/the work day and just be present with each other!
5. Stay Open Minded
Woah, woah nothing gross you weirdos! This stems from one of the best pieces of relationship advice I’ve ever received. It was that when your partner is REALLY annoying you and you want to rage on them, it’s important to turn that pointed finger back on yourself and ask WHY this behaviour/moment bothers you. That tiny reminder is a big reason we’ve avoided some major blowouts and diffused plenty of situations.
6. Adventure Together
There’s the everyday adventures and the big exciting opportunities like buying a place together or getting a dog. But there’s also something truly unique about exploring a new city together. Travelling as a couple often forces us to adapt and react to unexpected situations, grasp being outside of your comfort zone, and to learn about a place/culture/food together.
7. Embrace Change
It’s scary to think about, but change will inevitably occur a ton throughout our lives. Adam and I realized a few years ago that we could always fight it and/or fear it, or we could just come to terms with the fact that it will happen. We’ll change jobs, possibly locations, we’ll move houses, we’ll gain friends and lose friends, etc. It’s all part of this journey together, so we must try to keep up and avoid being left behind!
8. Put In Effort
We’ve all heard it before, but relationships do take some work. It’s easy to fall into predictable patterns and routines, it just happens. This is why we try to keep in mind that we must always be working on ourselves and our partnership if we want things to survive.
9. Be Supportive
Sometimes you’ll need to provide a shoulder to cry on, take a leap of faith in their crazy idea, or be a sounding board for career advice, or simply laugh at their jokes in public. Working together as a team is what keeps us a tight knit unit and makes things a little easier when life throws us those curve balls (like, oh, I don’t know, say two floods in one year – but what do we know?!).
Ultimately, we’re always learning. There’s new things to realize every day about ourselves and our relationship. We certainly don’t have it all figured out. What’s something you’ve learned in your love life? Or maybe a piece of advice you received that really stuck with you? We’d both love to hear it. A huge thanks to Adam for collaborating on this post and OG anniversary!