I have been married a while, which doesn’t mean I have been happy the whole relationship. I know my husband has had times where he’s questioned that whole decision to wear a suit and wait in a musty church for me to turn up in a big white dress and an even bigger picture hat (I was really into Grace Kelly’s whole High Society aesthetic at the time).
Once I annoyed my husband by asking him to move a wardrobe at 1.00 am, because I was nesting with our first child (I gave birth two days later). I refused to let him do it in the morning, it had to be right then! As he moved it, I heard him mutter, “Sometimes you shit me so much, you make me wanna poo my pants.” So funny. Honestly, he was a toddler, while I was about to birth a baby. We still say it to each other when we are annoying.
I don’t really have all the answers or probably any real solutions tell the truth but here are a few things I have seen in others, learned and experienced so far in this close to 30 year relationship.
Make an effort in the relationship. Do kind things for each other. I don’t mean roses and chocolates. I mean, picking up the package from the post office, or getting the script filled from the chemist. Do it and be a good egg about it all. Don’t ask for praise but remember to say thank you when it’s done for you.
Don’t ask them to be a mind reader to meet your needs and expectations. If you want to go away for the weekend, tell them. If you want to do more things together on the weekend, tell them. They don’t have a bloody crystal ball, and it shouldn’t be a test.
Find something to do together. A TV show you both love and can talk about. A hobby. Get fit together (I am still waiting to do this one). Explore new ideas and concepts together. Don’t dismiss it out of hand. Even if you’re not into it, maybe ask them about it so you show you care.
Learn the names of the people they work with. Hearing stories about other people’s work is really boring, but people’s behaviours are not. Find out who the key people in their daily work life and when they tell you how their day was, ask questions that include the others. It makes it more interesting for you and makes them feel they aren’t so boring.
Let them tell you when they’re worried or paranoid or stressed like you would a let a friend confide in you. Sometimes when we the person we rely on is fragile, it can feel destabilising to have them so uncertain about life and your relationship. By allowing them to admit their vulnerabilities, we are helping them process and work through the whole mental mess and take the load for a while.
If an argument comes up and they respond with old issues from their previous relationship or childhood, call it out. I hate my husband drinking because I had an alcoholic parent, so I have to remind myself that just because he’s had a few drinks with his mates once in a blue moon does not mean he is an alcoholic.
Learn how to do things so you don’t rely on your partner all the time. Cooking, cleaning, ironing, sewing on a button. Small things but it’s great when you are both a team and can take care of BAU in the home.
Don’t fight over crap like doing the dishes and whose turn it is. Do it together if you have reached an impasse. It’s you and them against the dishes, not you two against each other.
Don’t disrespect what is important to them. If something really matters to them but not to you, then just go with it. If they are all about Christmas decorations or having a beautiful garden, or a wonderful indoor plant collection, or looking fly, don’t shit on it because you don’t care. They care, so respect it.
Talk about when you got together. It’s a nice reminder that this was what you wanted then and how bloody amazing your love story is.
Don’t expect your partner to be the sole provider of your happiness. They aren’t. You are. Okay? Good.
Make an effort in your shared space. Clean up after yourself. Don’t be a complete piglet. Respect the other person might have issue with it. You are living together. If you want to be a slob, live alone.
It’s okay to forget a wedding anniversary. It’s not okay to forget their birthday. Make an effort. Buy a present. Be present. Celebrate them being in the world.
Don’t hold grudges over petty shit. Let it go, learn to laugh at it and yourself.
Don’t compete with them over bullshit like how much money you earn or looks or vapid crap. Let them have the spotlight when they deserve it and vice versa. Share the moments and don’t always be an attention whore. Take it in turns to the racehorse and the donkey.
Don’t be disloyal. I used to be friends with a group of women who only ever bitched about their partners. I felt bad about for their partners and because I didn’t want to bitch about mine I felt like I didn’t belong. If I had something to say I would talk to him about it, not them. They’re all divorced now, so…yeah, you work it out.
Don’t have a shit-fit when they call you on your bullshit, and you know it’s bullshit. Level up and own that shit and then retire it. You don’t need to threaten to leave because you’re embarrassed. Just own it, move on, and grow-up.
Learn to apologise and work out why you’re apologising, and then tell them why you are wrong. Saying sorry is easy, meaning it is some next level emotional Yoda stuff and makes all the difference in moving forward in your relationship.
Be happy when they have a success even if your plans are going to the dogs. A rising tide lifts all boats. If they win, you win by osmosis. Let them have their moment and don’t drag them down because you’re unhappy with your current situation. It’s very selfish to do that and frankly, a shitty thing to do.
Work out your communication styles. Being all ‘yelly’ might not get the point across to someone who prefers a more quiet approach. Also, being good at arguing doesn’t mean you’re always right. I need to think about things before I discuss big things so I need to formulate the argument and present it, as I’m not good on the spot, as I am too emotional. Be prepared to walk away from the situation to get your head straight and allow the other person to do that.
And that’s all I can think of now. I hope it resonates with you and we can always be better partners. I am going to try to not make my husband want to poo his pants, and that’s a win for everyone!