Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Relationships are like cats. That's right, cats." Guest Blogger Jen

Photo Credit: Trinity King Photography
Oh, relationships. Where do I begin? Let's just say they are like cats. That's right, cats. Well, let's just think about that for a second. Cats need to have their basic needs met, of course, but they also need nurturing and love. Relationships are the same. You can't just strive to keep them alive; you want them to thrive to get the most out of them. More often than not I think people get lazy and just cover the basics of a relationship. As a couple, it's important to focus on making and maintaining a thriving relationship, not just a basic one. Here are a few of the things that I think are important aspects of a thriving relationship...

Numero uno: spend time together. Not just doing things like watching TV or boring normal stuff, (which also has its place) but get out and do different things together. It's okay if you don't end up liking everything you try, just go try something different. Sometimes it's nice to be in different situations as a couple. You learn new things about each other, and sometimes laugh at each other and yourselves. Get out of your comfort zones and do stuff and go places together. Doing things like this breaks up the monotony of everyday life, which is SO important when you're married! 

Another important, but often overlooked, thing to do together is errands and housework. Those annoying things you have to do  - but no one wants to! I think too many women do these alone (example: grocery shopping.) I will not grocery shop by myself! That standard was required from the beginning of our relationship. We actually enjoy being able to pick out our own things and discuss our day and what we want to eat for the next week. It's funny... I have had women actually come up to me and ask me how I get him to go grocery shopping with me. They don't understand it's not optional. They made it optional in their relationships. 

All of that grocery shopping talk brings up another point: cooking! If you like cooking, go for it! But I don't...we don't. So what do you do? Cook together! It's not fair to expect one person to do something that neither of you enjoy. One person doing something for years that they hate will not end up benefiting anyone. Of course, sometimes it's just one of those fend-for-yourself nights though! 

What happens in many relationships is bitterness. People do things themselves instead of asking for help or asking their significant other to do things. It doesn't happen right away, but eventually those people feel alone and, quite frankly, angry with their significant other. Does that have to happen? No. Maybe I'm bossy and I make my husband do things but isn't that better than holding things against him? After all, if they don't know you are mad at them, it isn't fair! That kind of bitterness will affect the whole dynamic of your relationship. Don't do it to yourselves! 

Probably the last couple of things I would think worthy of mentioning is spending time together physically and spending time with family and friends. By physically I'm not talking about R-rated necessarily. Either way, here's the thing: I'm not a cuddly person. I don't need that kind of thing usually. But just because you don't need love like that, doesn't mean your husband or wife doesn't. Everyone gives and receives love in different ways, it's important to know the person you are with and make it work. 

As for family and friends - you need to make time for them. Not always for you, but for your partner. Spending time with your husband or wife's family and friends is not always convenient. But, more likely than not, it's important to them! Sometimes it's good to have other people in the mix to change things up. And lets face it - some things are better in groups. Some couples cut off ties to the outside world. Truth is, it doesn't benefit anyone. Last but not least, spend time apart - do your own things once in awhile. You don't have to spend every waking moment together! Sometimes it will prevent fights! Spend time with your own friends or family. You don't have to be a pair all the time... you are still individuals. 

Well, I guess that concludes my rant. These things have all been concluded from my experiences with the same guy I have known for 11 years, befriended for 8, dated for over 4, and married for two. I have learned from mistakes on both sides, experience, and of course, owning cats.

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