My husband, Morgan, and I will be married five years on March 12. We've been together eleven years and our relationship has been one huge learning curve for me. During our time together we've endured a five months apart when I travelled and lived in Asia, moving in together, getting married, starting up the studio, buying a house, three dogs, and the highs and lows of living with creative person. I've crashed and burned at least twice in our relationship, and each time I saw an inner strength in him, and me, that we didn't see in our day to day lives.
This post isn't going to talk about a lot of the personal stuff, because I respect him too much for that. Instead I want to talk about what he's taught me, about relationships and how to treat myself better. What I'm about to write isn't new, a lot of it is common sense, but it's what's helped me when times got tough.
1) He is not a possession
Jealousy comes in many forms, and I admit I've been guilty of it. Lately though I've let it get the best of me, and he's paid for it. To be honest, he wasn't guilty of anything, it was my own insecurity rearing its ugly head. You know that saying, "People don't argue about the real issues, they argue about the symptoms of those issues." Couples arguing about money - trust. Jealous about spending time with other people - loneliness."
Morgan is a really awesome guy, socially he gets on with most people and he's genuinely kind and likes to help people. He's also patient, and he helps ground me when I need it most. I also know that he has his own mind, and trying to control him will slowly, but surely, crush the wonderful man I love. He builds me up, and I need to do the same for him.
2) Establish the deal breakers, work out the rest as you go
There's a few things that annoy me, and I'm sure there's plenty I do that he's just been too nice to say anything about. We choose our battles, because at the end of the day we don't have to agree on everything. As long as we have the same deal breakers, that's what counts.
Early on in our relationship, even before we moved in together, we had THE talk. I don't understand why people shy away from it, I mean it's not something you discuss on the first date, but if you plan to enter into a long-term relationship, don't be naive about it. Love, feeling and being in love is amazing, but you need to learn and understand who the other person is. It's as much to protect you, and the other person. To me, love doesn't keep you in a relationship - trust, respect and wanting to bring out the best in that person does.
3) Screw those romantic movies, because it won't always be pretty
Romantic movies screw up our idea of what 'love' is, and distract us from what it's like to be in a healthy, loving relationship. What I've learned most in the last eleven years is that the good kind of love shows the ugly side of us, and you work through it. We accept each other's flaws and meltdowns, as well as cherish the incredible highs of making amazing memories together.
When I have kids someday, I will do my best to pass on these life lessons - to be kind, forgiving, and see beyond the imperfections.