Jack and I have spent the better half of the last decade together and known each other throughout our teenager years and our entire adult lives. For those of you that are not familiar with how Jack and I met, here’s a condensed version: we met just after I started at college and he had just begun his first year in his apprenticeship. We met through a mutual friend and have been pretty much been inseparable ever since. All of our big decisions have been made together and almost ten years later we are married, own our own home and most recently have a new addition to our household, a little puppy called Alfie.
Staying happy in a long-term relationship isn’t easy but most definitely worthwhile. Some people say just how lucky we were to meet each other at such a young age, and although I am very grateful for this by no means has our relationship been a fairy-tale and certainly requires hard work. The fact we met at such a young age we found that at all major stages in our lives we were probably under more scrutiny than most. It was never meant in a negative manner but it certainly kept us both on our toes making sure we were making the right decisions for ourselves, and not being swept away in a teenage romance. Of course, now everyone can clearly see it was what we both wanted and how happy we are together, but gosh looking back things could have easily gone either way.
I wish I had a clear answer for you all but I honestly don’t think there is one. Each relationship will have its own ups and downs but I do feel like there are a few key points that could help. I don’t want to be a cliche and say your soul mate is out there or there are plenty of fish in the sea, but I do think there are people you’ll meet in your life, friends or romantic partners, etc. that were absolutely meant to be in you life, people who you will click with in every aspect. For me, that is the best way to describe my relationship with Jack. From the moment we met each other, I think we both just knew that from now on it was going to be “us”, we just got each other.
So what’s our secret? There are so many factors that contribute to a happy long-term relationship besides from a romantic and emotional connection. You most certainly don’t have to agree on everything or have matching personalities but you do have to be on the same page and accepting of the more long-term decisions such as your partners professional and personal goals including their morals, each others families, or even their religious and financial values. If you want to think long-term it’s such aspects as these that will set yourselves up as “forever and always”. I think the most important thing anyone can do in a relationship whether its a blooming romance or a developed relationship is learn to openly talk to each other about the fun and not so fun topics.
Secrets To A Successful Long-Term Relationship
Both your long-term goals align. From the beginning of our relationship I can honestly say Jack and I have always been on the same page with our long-term goals. We both found it very natural to discuss the future and our goals haven’t really changed since. At the time Jack was concentrating on building his career and I was working my way through college with the goal of studying at university. We knew at some point in the future we would like to buy somewhere together and eventually get married but at no point did we give ourselves a time frame. It felt right to have these conversations to gauge where we both felt our futures were leading us. If say, our goals didn’t align it would of been difficult to see where our relationship may lead and whether we would of stayed together.
You should love and understand them more than when you first met. Meeting each other at a young age means you are still individually growing and evolving. We have both changed so much since we first met, in some ways we are completely different people than when we first met at the age of 16/17. Saying this, I have loved seeing and experiencing our individual growth as well as our growth as a couple. Neither Jack nor I would wish at any point to be still living in our past. Our past has moulded our future and will continue to do so, and for that I am forever grateful. As each day passes I love him more for the person he has become and the way he has matured.
Respecting and accepting each other’s values & morals. Its okay to not have the exact same opinions on everything but it is very important you do not judge your partner. It’s okay to disagree on something whether its political or moral, but you must be willing to accept and respect their viewpoint. Holding a grudge or being condescending will not bode well and could damage your relationship in the future. This does not mean that you cannot have an open conversation; it’s about how to approach the topic without fear of upsetting your partner. Its important to remember that being open is one of the key elements of a healthy relationship and this includes discussing controversial topics.
Allowing each other individual time and space. It’s very natural at the beginning of any relationship to get swept away. As a relationship begins to grow allowing each other a little individual time should never be viewed in a negative manner. Of course, it’s good to enjoy having joint hobbies, interests and friends, but individually its also important. Mentally, it’s a great way to allow you to recharge. No single person can be your everything and nor should you expect them to be. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert your independence is important for your individual growth, and can also benefit the relationship as a whole.
Encouraging each other personally and professionally. Ever since I met Jack he has always been a very ambitious person and in some ways over the years he has rubbed off on me. We have both always made a conscious effort to encourage each other personally and professionally to pursue our goals, even if it’s out of our comfort zones. Having your partner to bounce off of builds your confidence that you have the ability to fulfil your individual goals. On the flip side, they should absolutely feel comfortable to be able to give you constructive criticism. We are both always working towards being the best versions of ourselves and improving the environment around us, even if it means telling each other something we don’t want to hear. We both know that we have each other’s best interests at heart and its good to remember this whether its praise being offered or honest feedback.
You should not keep secrets from each other. When I say this, I am not talking about recapping your entire day to each other, but more specifically not telling someone something significant, or bending the truth to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. By doing so, you will find it will only hurt your relationship in the long run. I honestly can’t think of anything I wouldn’t share with Jack. We are complete open books with one another, which allows us both to laugh at each other as well as support and praise each other whatever the situation may be.
Always considering the other person when making a decision. Both Jack and I have always naturally considered how something could potentially affect the other person or our relationship before making any decisions. Whether its a financial decision, planning a trip or making a large purchase etc. we would always consult the other person and weigh up the affects before moving forward making sure we are keeping our relationship in mind.
Financial transparency. At the beginning of our relationship due to our age, financial transparency was never really at the forefront of our concerns. As we began to grow as a couple and build our careers it became an important topic to allow us to continue to grow. Knowing each other’s financial situations enabled us to evaluate how we could achieve the goals we had as a couple, such as purchasing a property together. For some people being financially transparent may be a scary topic but its can also be the cause of many arguments and disagreements. By highlighting this topic within a relationship it can allow you both to become more financially considerate and to see more clearly the overall affect a transaction could have on your joint goals and responsibilities.