Every relationship has a beginning. And it’s in that time that you set the mood for the rest of the relationship. I’m not talking about the first date, or even the third or fifth. I’m talking about once you are in steady relationship with someone you want a future with. This time is crucial to the health of your relationship. This is when you are really getting to know each other and it’s fun and exciting.
If you are both dedicated to making this relationship last, here are 8 great tips to make sure you’re both on the same page and that you are both striving for a successful relationship.
1. Clarify Expectations
Be upfront with each other about what you want out of the relationship. If you expect something but never tell the other person, don’t be surprised when your expectations are never met. Unmet expectations become a point of contention in many relationships. Just be open and honest with each other from the start.
2. Work Towards a Common Goal
No matter how much you like someone or how much fun you have when you’re with them, if you aren’t working towards a common goal together, the relationship will fail. What do you want this relationship to mean? What do you want it to accomplish? These are important questions that need to be asked. Don’t assume the other person can read your mind. Talk to them.
3. Forgive Each Other
Forgive and embrace lessons and experiences from each other’s past. We all come with baggage. Learn to forgive each other and yourself for mistakes made in the past or present. This also means that your learn from your mistakes and try not to do them again. As you both grow and make changes for the better together, you will strengthen your relationship.
4. Live in the Moment
Life is happening right now. Make memories together every day. The beginning of a relationship sets the mood for what the relationship will be like in the future. Set high standards for your relationship. When my husband and I first started dating we both expressed the importance of being healthy and active. So, we went out and did things every weekend. We would go jeeping, hiking, swimming, snow shoeing, we even spontaneously joined a polar bear plunge for charity. (That’s when you pay money to jump into a lake that was literally frozen over that morning. Yeah, it was cold, but it’s an awesome memory that we have and love to look back on.) Make sure you are having special experiences together.
5. Take an Interest in Each Other’s Hobbies
I love to dance and my husband loves fish. My husband is not a dancer and fish scare me. But we have compromised. My husband takes me dancing on some of our date nights and he puts forth an effort to learn. I let him have fish tanks as long as he cleans them and never own an eel. (Those things freak me out!) I also talk to him about his fish and, honestly, I have learned a lot!
It can be fun to take an interest in each other’s hobbies because you get to learn something new and you get to make your partner happy.
6. Prepare for the Future
I know so many couples that look at dating as play time. They spend money like crazy and when they decide to get married, they are already in debt. While dating is a fun time, you still need to be responsible and try to plan for your future. Don’t get in the habit of spending money you don’t have. Stay out of debt.
7. Pace Yourselves
The same pace doesn’t work for every couple. Some people need a lot of time; others, not so much. My husband and I started dating, eight weeks later we were engaged, four months later we were married. At our one-year anniversary I was six-months pregnant with our first child. We moved a lot faster than most people, but it was right for us. We talked and we were both OK with the pace we had set. Five years later, we’re still going strong and neither one of us regrets anything. (I should probably point out that we had known each other for just over a year before we started dating.)
If you’re uncomfortable with how quickly or slowly things are moving along, say something.
8. Learn to Communicate
Always talk with each other. In a healthy relationship you should be able to talk to each other about anything. Before going into a relationship you have to understand that there will be hard conversations. There will times when you don’t agree with each other. But always make sure that you are there to listen to one another.