Wifeys & Gentlemen,
I am finally back from a much needed vacation and ready to spend the next 2-3 months posting awesome new blogs without interruption (knock on wood, because you just never know). My fiancé and I had a BLAST whilst sailing the Caribbean seas with my family, and I could not have asked for a better trip. In lieu of an “engagement party” it ended up being a really delightful and romantic getaway. My parents even surprised us with a lovely cake and heart-warming toasts of well-wishes. Now that we are back, I think we are finally ready to shift from “newly engaged” mode into wedding planning mode. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of being engaged still gets me pretty giddy. I haven’t gotten over the shock of the event just yet, and I still milk it for everything I can (mentioning it whenever the occasion calls, trying to score free stuff from restaurants and hotels, all that jazz 😉 )
This of course got me thinking about the overall concept of “newness” and the value that we place on new milestones in romantic relationships.
See? You can relax now, this post won’t be filled with all of the beautiful details of my vacation. Instead, I want to spend this week giving shout outs to anyone out there enjoying the fruits and benefits of a new relationship. (*does a raise-the-roof-like dance shouting, “you go new couples! You go!”)
Yes, I know for a fact that many of you are out there! After all, summer is beginning to wind down and as the fall approaches, the holiday season (read: cuffing season) is upon us! Haha, I’m only ½ serious about the ‘cuffing season’ part but, to be frank, quite a few articles and research-based observations suggest that there is a trend in the rise of new relationships that begins when summer ends. Think about it; for those who are single, a hot summertime affair might be right up your alley! If you’re lucky, this fling might actually turn into something real. The kind of thing you want to take with you in the warm-fuzzy holidays. The kind of thing you begin to work for (because relationships are work…not hard work all the time, but work).
How often do we embark on something new and wish that there was someone there to tell us what lies ahead?
(which randomly just made me think of that movie ‘What Lies Beneath’. Do you guys remember that one? Michelle Phiefer, Harrison Ford! It was good. I kind of want to watch it now. Hmm…)
While I can’t forecast the future of each new relationship (though I admit, my predictions are pretty good), I have composed a (modest) list of tips that I think every new couple should be armed with in order to truly prepare to “go the distance” as they say. Follow along now:
- Be impressive, be romantic, be the best and most confident version of you that you can be. But please, do not forget to be yourself! We all want to go the extra mile for our new ‘boo’. Believe me, I get it. You want her to think you’re always organized and hardworking. You want him to see you as sexy and daring. You listen to the music he likes. You watch all his favorite movies. You meet his family and friends with a flawless smile and sense of unwavering poise. Mark my words: one day, you will lose it. What is it? All of that perfection, all of that dedication, all those times you swallowed an opinion or reaction. One day you will give in to your humanity and you MUST NOT be afraid to let your partner see this. Big or small, your partner needs to know that you are human and fallible; you get sick, you fart, you don’t always wear makeup, you (secretly) hate going to the gym, you have a messy bathroom, you’re sometimes mean to your family, you can finish a whole bottle of wine and box of brownies by yourself…whatever the case may be, PLEASE BE YOU! They will thank you for it later.
- Be upfront with your feelings and do not take each other for granted. You guys know me by now and you should know that I can’t give any kind of relationship advice without making a HUGE plug for time and communication. New relationships are a lot like fresh, crispy French fries. Hot, delicious, melt in your mouth perfection. Sometimes salty, sometimes sweet. Sure, you can eat these fries as is at first, savoring their natural flavors, but once they start to get a little cold and stiff, we liven up the flavor with our favorite dipping sauce! Communication is that sauce! When those fries are going stale, smother them in sauce and watch how much better they taste! — Haha, okay so this analogy is completely ridiculous, I know, but I was trying to avoid using the ‘plant and water’ thing so just go with on this one, cool? When you don’t like something in a relationship or when you have a thought, opinion, feeling, or counterpoint (that at least MOSTLY sane) say it. Tell your partner how you feel and check in with them as often as you think you need to. You’d be surprised how many arguments can be avoided if you let your partner know upfront that you’re unconformable with something as opposed to waiting until it blows up. Disagreements are healthy at any stage of your relationship and allow you to get to know the person you’re with.
- Date! For the love of god, go out! Do not be one of those couples that spends their first 3 months on a ‘Netflix & Chill’ binge (unless you are just the type of people who don’t like to leave the house, ‘cause that’s cool too, do you!). Otherwise, I cannot stress enough how much more you will develop as a unit if you know how to relate to and interact with people outside of each other. Not to mention that down the road (2,3,4 years down the road, I mean) if you are already in the habit of dating and making time for each other socially, it won’t be so hard to do when life (work, kids, friends, obligations) get in the way. Set the standard now. Go out! (there is a post about this from a few weeks back, read it!)
- Respect each other. Period. (If this requires further explanation, get in touch with me privately as we might have bigger issues to tackle here. Hehe)
- Ask for advice. This might sound harsh, but I am going to say it anyway: YOUR LOVE IS NOT SPECIAL OR UNIQUE; at least not in the way you are thinking. I truly hate to be a Buzz-Killington here, but in reality, the only unique thing about your relationship is that it is happening between the two of you (or 3+, if you’re into that kind of thing). Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about the little quirks and comforts that are special and specific to each couple. For example, my fiance and I have cute weekend traditions like ‘Asian Food Friday’. While this unique and special to us, we are not naive in thinking we are the only couple to have adorable traditions and habits between us. You might think that your friends won’t be able to understand you or find yourself being judgmental of couples that don’t express love like you do. You believe that the love you share is just so natural, beautiful, organic, and timeless and…it’s not! Someone out there has felt the same way and been through the same things. Someone out there can help you if you run into an issue that you aren’t sure how to resolve. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t have too much pride. Know it’s okay to ask other people for advice when you need it. Know that just because your love isn’t special to the world, doesn’t mean it’s not special and amazing for you. Perspective, my wifeys. It’s all about perspective.
- Keep an open mind. I almost don’t want to over explain this point either as it could (read: does) mean so many different things. So I will leave it at this: there are going to be…things that come up through this relationship. These will be things you aren’t not used to, things that are new and different and weird and maybe even a little scary. When you reach those things, don’t run! Be open and see where your heart can take you.
- Don’t talk about the future until it’s time! There is no need to rush. It’s great to have plans. I told people I was going to marry my fiancé ages before he had a clue that he wanted to ask ;-). But when it comes to the future with your partner, sometimes grand expectations create a great deal of pressure. Let talks about the future happen in due time (and naturally). Note: it is perfectly fine to ask your partner how he/she feels about certain life events (marriage, kids, career/financial goals). You want to know upfront if the person you’re with hates children and doesn’t ever want to get married. However, it isn’t okay to rush plans for the future when you’re still trying to learn about each other in the now. It is often said that “when you know, you just know” and I agree with that 100%. As cliché as it sounds, I knew my fiancé was special the first day we met and I knew I loved him after about a month of casual dating (yikes! Haha). But to tell him these things would have been a mistake. To ask him to make plans for a whole life together after a few weeks of getting to know me would be unfair, and no matter if he felt the same or not, placing emphasis on what’s coming prematurely removes you from what’s important in your early couple development.
We all make mistakes in this department. Maybe you drunkenly tell your new girl all of the awesome things you told your mom about her. Maybe you say something that implies you’ll be together way down the road (“When we get married we can…” or “Do you think our kids would…”). It’s fine! Those moments are what create intimacy and bring you closer. But let the rest of it be fun and let it happen on its own; make a couples-bucket list, plan a trip to celebrate your year anniversary, but don’t go crazy and start naming your kids and financing a new house together just yet…ok?
- Finally, I want you newbies to close your eyes. Think about the way you feel when your partner sends you a “good morning” text. Think about the way your stomach fills with butterflies after an amazing date or how your self-esteem skyrockets whenever he/she praises you in public. Think of the passionate kisses, the long hugs, and that look in their eyes when you put on a new, sexy outfit. Think about the way it feels whenever you wake up in their bed. These things DO NOT have to end, unless you let them. In my (not so humble) opinion, the biggest new-relationship myth is the idea of the “honeymoon” phase! There is no such thing! All of those feelings you have now, you can hold onto and treasure after 20 years in a relationship. No one is perfect. After a long time with a partner, they don’t seem as “new” or “exciting” anymore, and that is perfectly fine. It’s normal, even. Eventually, you’ll begin to spend way more time together and you’ll learn your partner’s habits and flaws. You’ll know what they like to do, what they don’t like to do, how long they like to sleep and in what position. In many cases, you may feel like you know your partner better than you know yourself. Realize that while these things might feel mundane, being in a good relationships means finding the love and excitement that is buried inside of the comfort & routine. Good couples grow together and never stop trying to learn new things about each other. They chase their partners and work hard to remain interested as well as trying to stay interesting. More than that, good couples forgive themselves when they f*** all of that up from time to time so go easy on yourself, ok?
I guess the bottom line here is to love as openly and freely as you can, newbies. Say good morning & goodnight, acknowledge and praise your partner when they do something ordinary/simple and kind (wash dishes, take out the trash, make dinner), pay each other compliments as often as possible (and in front other others), listen when they need and ear, protect each other’s thoughts, secrets, & feelings, and for goodness sake…talk to each other.
Even though some of you will not last, you will never regret your good relationships. The ones where you were both good to each other and loved each other as much as you could for as long as you had. If you learn nothing else, remember that. There is a profound value in the marks you leave on each other.
Until Next Week,
Carry on Wifey’s!