I was married for almost 12 years. I married too soon, and too young. I was 24 and only knew him for a month before deciding to marry him. Two months later we were married. It started out OK but then we started to not get along. There are several reasons why this marriage didn’t work. Instead of focusing on everything he did wrong, I’m going to focus on what I have learned and how I apply those lessons to my relationship now.
I left my marriage November of 2016. I’ve had a lot of time to contemplate how I can change my behaviors in future relationships. I am now in a very loving relationship. We are in no way perfect…as no relationship is…but we have a mutual respect for each other that makes it work.
The #1 lesson I learned is that romantic relationships need to be based on friendship.
There also needs to be mutual respect, forgiveness, and LOTS of unconditional love.
Below, are the lessons I learned…and it’s more amazing than I could ever dream. However, no matter how hard one person works at the below lessons…it ONLY works if the other person puts in the same effort. I do not believe that one person doing the bellow actions can fix a relationship…trust me, I tried….for years. The advice below is for a healthy relationship that BOTH parties should act upon.
Best friends that is. Make sure you are comfortable enough to tell this person ANYTHING and not feel like you’ll be judged. It’s SO scary to tell people your deepest, darkest, silliest secrets and dreams but once you find that person you can tell anything to and not get judged…it’s the most amazing thing ever!
Swallow your pride and offer kind words
Often in my previous marriage I wouldn’t complement my ex husband because he had made me sad or upset and I didn’t think he deserved it. This is not the way relationships should be. Compliments should not be held back because of a previous fight. Now, when I feel the need to say something nice about my spouse…I say it. He isn’t as wordy as me, he has his own way of offering kind words…little compliments, and flirting. Also, more often than not when I text him an appreciative text, he reciprocates. It’s something that he’s not used to. As he was in a similar type relationship as my marriage. (emotional abuse, gas-lighting, disrespected, etc.)
Let the little things slide
Socks on the floor, beard trimmings in the bathroom sink…the list could go on. I’ve learned to let these things slide. I’ll pick up his socks, I’ll clean up the beard trimmings. I really don’t mind because he does other things that are amazing for our relationship…he compliments me, he does the dishes, he CLEANS THE WHOLE HOUSE often, he takes care of the kids. We both have quirks that irritate both of us but we choose to let it slide because there are more important issues to stress about.
The above are just a few things I do differently in my current relationship that I didn’t do in my marriage. Granted this only works because he does the same for me! These don’t work if it’s one sided. Relationships are a two way street, a balance of give and take. If you can’t find that balance…then it’ll never truly be an equal relationship.
What have you learned from previous relationships?
*If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and you need help figuring out how to get out, please contact your local domestic violence shelter. If you need help finding one, please feel free to reach out to me via my contact page!*