By Sam Cox
My boyfriend, Jake, and I have been dating for over five years now. In ways it feels like our relationship has gone by in a blink of an eye, all while somehow feeling like we have spent forever together.
In these past five years we have gone through many milestones. We graduated high school together, moved from Las Vegas to Reno for college together, started living together and even got a cat together. Our relationship is so natural and easygoing that when I was asked how we are still in love after all this time I realized that it was kind of difficult to answer.
But when I sat down to think about things it became apparent to me that being in a successful relationship is not nearly as difficult as we make it out to be. Being in love is easy. It is the being in a relationship part that is hard. But it is only difficult if we let it become so.
Yes, there are a million things that I love about Jake, but being in love is more than loving something about a person. It is waking up in the morning and realizing that no matter what happens that day your significant other will be there to support you. There will be hardships and not every day is a walk in the park, but it is possible. We mustn’t let love be put on the back burner. If we stop complicating things in our love lives we can begin to say that we put our best foot forward in all relationships.
So instead of going on about how happy I am and making you jealous of my “perfect” relationship, I decided to pass on the valuable advice that my parents gave me when Jake and I moved in together two years ago.
Here are five very simple concepts that couples overlook when trying to have a successful relationship:
Number one: Always communicate
You should always be open and communicate how you feel because we can all agree none of us are mind readers. This rule of thumb is important, especially if you are upset about something. Do not keep thoughts bottled up; talk things out with your partner because that is what they are there for. Communication is a two-way street, so make sure that you are listening to what your significant other has to say. Their feelings are just as important as yours. Keep things honest with them and give thoughtful feedback. Stray away from communicating via texting. Texting is a great argument starter! Texting is no way to convey your feelings. You should care about your partner enough to have a face-to-face conversation with them.
Number two: Never go to bed angry
If you and your partner are fighting and it gets to the end of the night, do not go to bed. Stay up all night if you have to and solve whatever is going on. If you go to bed angry then you will probably dream about what you were fighting about and then you will wake up even more upset. Love is the most important thing in this world. Taking a few extra minutes to talk things over and express your feelings can truly separate a successful relationship from an unsuccessful one.
Number three: Do not make your problems public
No one wants to know the problems in your relationship and you should not want other people to know your problems either. This leads to nothing more than drama and rumors. Don’t forget, every relationship has its problems. My relationship is far from perfect. However, all my friends can probably come to an agreeance that they have never seen my boyfriend and I fight. My and my boyfriend’s problems are ours and ours only. Work through your problems in the comfort of your own privacy. No one likes to see others’ dirty laundry. This, too, will also establish a sense of respect between you and your partner.
Number four: Never stop doing little things for each other
Whether you make them a lunch to bring to work the next day or compliment them on how they look, little things are what go a long way. When I come home after a long day and I’m stressed, whether it be about the paper I haven’t gotten to yet or having to go to work later, my boyfriend straightening up our apartment or making dinner makes all the difference. As college students we sometimes feel like we can’t do things even for ourselves. We get caught up in our own responsibilities and sometimes forget the needs of others. However, if we take time to think about it, doing little things doesn’t require much effort. Leave a little note on their car or surprise them with flowers. Trust me, they will love your effort and you for trying. Most importantly, remember to never stop doing these things.
Number five: Don’t forget to have fun
It may sound so cliched, but relationships are about having fun. If you can’t have fun with your partner, then I am sorry but they are not the one for you. Life is about going out and trying new things and when you are in a relationship, especially a long-term relationship, you get to experience so many wonderful things with that person. You do not even have to go out and do something extravagant to have fun. I know that after a long week I love to hop in the car, blast some music, and sing along with Jake while we go and get junk food. When you are with the right person, even the simplest of tasks can bring the most fun into your life. Whether you are watching a movie or spending quality time on a date, enjoy all of the special time you have with your significant other.
Being in love is the most beautiful thing life has to offer. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. Don’t forget to do the little things for your partner, never stop communicating and have endless amounts of fun.
Sam Cox studies secondary education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.