Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Kansas City Metro area
Re: What makes a great relationship
From a pretty young age, I had an idea that I'd find a relationship with a man that would be half of the relationship in every way - someone who would help around the house, not try to change me, and have a personality I could admire, love, and respect.
And then I started dating.
I was told that my expectations were too high, that I was too demanding, and that I believed in a fantasy. It's true that I was too demanding and I know now that I wasn't empathetic enough. In the earliest days, I placed my SO's needs ahead of my own. Later, I went to the opposite extreme and adopted a "my way or the highway" mentality which worked better but still wasn't successful.
By the time I met my second husband, I found a realistic balance and we had a good relationship for the most part. We were compatible in most ways, had an easy time talking to each other, resolved our differences without ugly arguments, and respected each other. However, something was missing for him, apparently, because he went outside of the marriage and had affairs while he was deployed elsewhere.
Now I look back and realize that while that was a "pretty good" marriage, it still didn't quite match up with my childhood dreams. We didn't really engage together much and our problem-solving was more avoidant than I would have liked.
My marriage today has shown me that what I dreamed of all those years ago truly is possible. For the last three years, I've been with my dream guy, though we've just been married a little over a year.
How I know it's perfect:
1. We have fun together doing anything or nothing at all. We genuinely like each other.
2. Laughter is something we experience together every single day.
3. Our worst arguments have been filled with statements like, "I understand what you're saying," and have NOT been filled with blame or accusation.
4. We are deeply compatible. We think similarly to each other, have very similar values on all the important stuff, feel like doing the same things at the same time, enjoy a sex life that's satisfying to both of us, share similar goals, and respond to each others' moods in a supportive, healthy way.
5. In all matters, we both put our relationship ahead of anything and everything else. This means we check in with each other regularly on big and little decisions we make throughout the day.
6. We serve each other through our words and our actions as a conscious decision from the moment we awaken until the moment we go to sleep. We seem to naturally have four of five of Gary Chapman's five love languages between us - quality time, acts of service, words of love, and physical touch. Neither of us is big on gifts, although we occasionally find this between us, too.