Marriage isn't easy. I'm sure you've heard that before, yes? But seriously, even if you're lucky enough (as I thankfully was) to marry your best friend who also happens to be a thoughtful, considerate man, it is still not easy.
Arsen and I have been together for a little over five years now. We've certainly had our ups and downs, but for the most part I can honestly say that we have a pretty great relationship. I'm almost positive that any relationship between a man and a woman will have some conflict here and there, because let's be honest, we're basically different species. But we've figured out several important things that we focus on that make things work for us.
I'm pretty sure that in every relationship advice article ever written compromise is near the top of the list. But that's because it's so incredibly important. As I said before, men and women are different creatures. We think differently, we feel differently, we have different interests and different things that annoy us. Arsen and I make an effort to compromise almost daily. He helps me out around the house and with Grayson and I help him out while he's working insane hours at his job. I support his sports teams and he supports my shopping habit. Give and take, people. It works.
Talk It Out
I think this may be the most important thing in our relationship. Arsen and I discuss everything. If either of us is ever feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, unappreciated, etc., we talk about it. Thankfully we've been good at this since day one pretty much, and I think it has really been the key to us having such a successful relationship.
Share the Work
Now that I'm staying home with Grayson we have a more "traditional" situation going on. I typically do most of the housework and the cooking and the taking care of the baby, and Arsen works. However, Arsen still helps me out around the house a good deal. Even though he likes to joke around about me "not working", I think he realizes that I actually am working super hard every day raising our baby. So he'll help me cook, pick up the house, put Grayson to sleep, etc., anytime he sees that I need it.
It's so easy to get bogged down with the every day routine, that you fall into a pattern of get up-go to work-come home-cook dinner-watch TV-go to bed, rinse, repeat. You can get so wrapped up in the monotony that you forget the reason that you got together in the first place. For Arsen and I, we got together in the beginning because we had so much fun together. Of course, laughing it up every day and having a blast was quite a bit easier when we were college kids with very little responsibility. But we still like to joke around and have fun as often as possible. If we feel like things are getting a little too serious or strained, then one of us will usually bring it up and make sure we get back to where we need to be.
I'm totally serious. When you're in the early stages of a relationship you spend hours cuddling, kissing, holding hands, whatever. Then you get a couple of years into things and you can go days without actually taking the time to physically connect. I'm not talking about doing the deed (also important in a marriage), but actually making out like two kids in love. It takes you back to that silly, giddy feeling that you had in the beginning. So needed sometimes.
Now tell me: What are your keys to marriage (or relationship) success??