On Monday, David and I celebrated two years of marriage! Time really does fly when you’re having fun because it feels like just yesterday we were exchanging vows in warm and sunny Cabo San Lucas Mexico with our friends and family looking on. We’re on our way to Vail to celebrate, so today I want to get a little more personal than usual and spend some time talking about how we’ve maintained and built a healthy relationship for two years of marriage and eight years in a relationship.
Until I met David, I had personally experienced nothing but unhealthy relationships. I was so tired of encountering the same patterns in my dating life, that I often felt unlovable until I decided it was time to focus on me first and foremost. I enrolled at IIN and for the first time started putting myself first without worrying about dating. IIN gave me the opportunity to get clear on what I wanted in a relationship and simultaneously, David came into my life.
I resisted falling in love with him at first, but being with him felt right so I couldn’t resist for long! David never lets anything rattle him and he has always accepted me for exactly who I am, which made it easy to be with him, especially in the beginning. Not only did he want to go on dates with me, he wanted to spend full days with me. From the beginning, he made me feel safe and cared for and that has never changed.Photo by Dino Gomez Photography
But no matter how easy it can feel, every relationship takes work. Read below for some of my advice for building a healthy relationship.
Go at your own pace // David and I moved in together after six months of dating, but didn’t get married until after 6 years of dating! Most people can’t believe it took us that long and although it was slightly longer than I would have preferred, I’m thankful for having so much time getting to know each other so well. It made our first year of marriage much easier. In many ways, we had already developed the communication skills and worked through some of the issues many couples encounter in their first year of marriage. Try not to let your own or other’s preconceived notions about where you should be in your relationship take you away from what you have together.
Appreciate each other // Whenever David does something I appreciate, which is basically all the time, no matter how big or small the deed – taking out the trash, cooking dinner or changing a lightbulb – I always make sure to thank him specifically for what he did and show my appreciation in some way either with a kiss or by making him a smoothie the next morning, for example. Sure, I do these things anyway, but when I appreciate something in particular, I go out of my way to let him know. David does A LOT for me so I always take the time to let him know I appreciate him and in his own ways, he does the same for me.
Hold hands // Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. Early on, David and I would spend our days strolling around SoHo or just walk to the grocery store to pick up dinner ingredients. I loved that he always reached for my hand during these times. Needless to say, hand-holding has been something we do, but I’ve noticed the true benefit is that it keeps our physical and emotional connection to each other strong.
Encourage each other as individuals // We spend a lot of time together as a couple, but we also devote significant time to developing ourselves as individuals. Supporting each other in our own personal endeavors is just as fulfilling as the time we spend together. If we aren’t full people outside of our relationship, then we can’t show up fully in our relationship with each other.
Go on dates // You probably hear this one a lot, but that’s because there’s something to it. Even though we’ve been together for a really long time, we still go on lots of date. When we have busy weeks, we try to squeeze in a breakfast or lunch date or sometimes just a mid-day walk to the bank (so romantic, I know!) Of course, this is easier now because it’s just the two of us, so we take advantage of it and are using this time to set the standard for our relationship no matter what it looks like in a few years.
I’m in no way suggesting that we’re perfect or that marriage is easy, but I feel so lucky to have found the best possible partner for me who makes life fun and our marriage exciting and lighthearted.
If you’re interested in taking a look back at our wedding, you can see my recap series here: