Edit: WOW thank you for the awards!! What a great day!! 😄
(I thought about posting this in r/relationship_advice but I have a feeling I would be "shamed" for some of the things in this post, so I really hope you all understand where I'm coming from!)
I have been with my fiance since I was 18, and tomorrow marks 10 years total of being together. We are still so in love, can't keep our hands off each other and absolutely love being around one another. We are getting married next month and are planning to try for a baby later this year. I have been writing down a list of the things that I think has made our relationship so strong and I thought I would share! (Of course our relationship is not perfect and I'm not claiming that it is, this is just my personal experience.)
- We communicate everything. This one is of course mentioned everywhere, in every relationship advice on the internet, but it's because it's so incredibly important. I personally have a hard time communicating my emotions verbally, and he knows that. I had to tell him that I have a hard time articulating my thoughts and that it overwhelms me when I have to explain exactly how I'm feeling, especially when I get flustered/upset over something. A lot of times I would be upset about something, and because I couldn't accurately explain why I was upset (sometimes I would say I didn't even know why, which I'm sure was frustrating) he wouldn't understand how to help me. It has taken quite a while but recently he started doing something that has helped me so much. When I get upset, sad, flustered over something, he says "What exactly about X is making you feel Y". For example: "What exactly about that email is making you feel overwhelmed?" It allows me to take a step back and really take a look at my emotions from a logical perspective instead of being drowned in emotion and catastrophizing the situation.
- We don't cuss, name call, or yell at each other. I think in the past 10 years I have called him an asshole one or two times when I was really mad (this was in year 1 or 2 of our relationship). He has never ever cussed at me, or yelled. He has raised his voice of course, but he's never full on yelled at me. He talks very sternly. I honestly feel like a big reason for this is because we don't drink, so we never say something we didn't mean just because we we're intoxicated. This also contributes to having a peaceful home environment.
- We are very sexually compatible. Honestly this should be #1, although these aren't in any particular order. I cannot stress how important this is. If you are not compatible sexually, then you have a roommate, not a spouse. It's as simple as that. This doesn't have to be penetrative sex all the time, but we focus a lot on intimate moments throughout the day. He smacks my ass when I'm cooking, I run up and sneak a hug when he walks down the hallway or I straddle/kiss him when he's laying on the bed. Sex is also frequent and amazing. I have to admit that the way he compliments me during sex/oral makes me want to keep doing it because of the self esteem boost. Maybe that's vain of me, but it's the truth! He makes me feel like the most attractive woman in the world whenever we are intimate.
- We share long hugs everyday. Gosh I feel like I could write an entire novel on this. Hugs are very important in our relationship. Everytime we hug we really hold onto each other for a good 10-20 seconds. Sometimes this also involves me kissing his neck or him kissing my cheeks. I think longer hugs produce more feel-good hormones in your brain that make you closer to that person. We have something called a "super hug" where I lay on the bed and he lays on top of me hugging me while I wrap my legs around him. Our first hug we he gets home from work is my favorite and we usually tell each other that this is the best part of the day.
- We haven't let ourselves go. This one can be a sensitive topic to talk about, but it does need to be talked about. Of course age is going to have an affect on our bodies, and we aren't going to be attractive forever, but a lot of times people in relationships feel like they don't have to "try" anymore because they have their spouse and aren't on the dating market. This can lead to a lot of resentment, and I've seen it happen in many relationships before. A major mistake is dressing up only when you are leaving the house. I urge anyone out there to put a little bit of effort into your appearance on a daily basis. Before my fiance gets home from work I take about 15 minutes to make sure I look nice, have a cute outfit on and I'm clean. It doesn't take long and I know he appreciates it. I know it will be harder when we have children but I will do my absolute best to keep this up, along with working out and eating healthy.
- I care about tending to his needs. I make dinner almost every night and try to have it ready when he gets home from work. I like to give him massages, especially on his hands since he works with his hands. I enjoy sexually pleasing him and I don't turn him down. (I'm not a robot though, of course there's times where I don't enjoy it as much because I wasn't particularly in the mood, but he never makes me feel forced to do it.) He also tends to my needs as well both sexually and emotionally (when I need to vent he's there to listen).
- We verbally compliment each other a lot. This isn't just sexually, but it does include that. We always express how attractive we think the other person is. Hot, cute, sexy, smart, funny, masculine, feminine, hard working, etc. I love to tell him how I appreciate him and he tells me how he appreciates me.
- We care about our hygiene. This one may sound silly, but trust me it makes a huge difference. You want to have sex with your partner? Shower. Shave. Smell good. Brush your teeth. We have always been on the same page about this. And even though it can ruin the "spontaneity" of sex, we find that we enjoy it 10x more fresh out of the shower. Of course we still have sex and enjoy it if it has been a few hours since we showered, but we both prefer freshly showered.
- We try to argue fairly. We honestly do not argue very often, but when we do I have found that I tend to let my emotions get the best of me, especially when I don't like what I'm hearing. I get quiet, put my head down and act like a child being scolded. Meanwhile he tends to harshen his tone of voice to the point where it almost sounds like he's talking down to me. I had mentioned to him during a casual conversation that I don't like when he talks to me in that harsh tone, and he didn't know what I meant. So the next time he talked to me like that I called him out on it and told him "that's what I'm talking about." And he said "Oh, thank you for pointing that out in the moment so I know". And then he adjusted his tone. On the other hand, there was a time where he called me out for disconnecting and getting emotional over something just because I didn't like what I was hearing. I quickly snapped out of it and said "You're completely right" and changed my attitude. Learning to fight fair and not get too caught up in being "right" is a very hard thing to practice.
- We are rooting for one another. This is another way of saying we support each other, but I think saying we are rooting for one another gives a better description. We would never be jealous, envious or try to sabotage the other person trying to accomplish something. He has stuck with me through tons of failed businesses, and I've stuck with him when he was in between jobs and trying to figure out what he wanted to do. My success is his success and vice versa. I love sharing milestones together and striving to hit financial goals.
- Bonus #11: We don't say "I love you" everyday. I'm not sure if this actually contributes to our happy relationship, but I thought it might be interesting to add. From the very beginning he made it clear that he didn't want to get into the habit of saying I love you just to say it. It took 7 months for us to say I love you for the first time, and then from then on we said it maybe once every few months. This wasn't because we didn't love each other, but because we showed love more than just said the words. When we fall asleep holding hands, he doesn't have to tell me he loves me. When he takes my car to change the oil and wash it he doesn't have to say I love you. We don't say it when we wake up, hang up the phone or go to bed. But let me tell you, when we do say it, I swear it feels like the first time. Gives me butterflies everytime.
There's other things that are important to have as well such as respect, integrity, loyalty, shared values and life goals, but I didn't want this post to be too long!
Throughout our relationship I have always heard from people, "just wait until you hit 7 years together, then you will really hate him!" or "just wait until you get married!". It's as if it's expected that you will hate your spouse after a certain amount of time together. So I just wanted to let anyone out there know that it's possible to still be in love even after a decade +
Anyways, I had a lot of fun writing this and I appreciate anyone who took the time to read it!