Relationship advice from a bicontinental couple

There are two things I learned from being married for two years. Well, to be honest, there are probably a million things I learned. But most of it is boring, obvious, old couple kind of stuff: communicate the heck out of it, always always always be grateful and say it – and mean it! Don’t try to change the other person, and do your thing independently. See? Boring!

But I recently became aware of how important these following two things are:

  1. Always have something to look forward to.

It’s actually not my own advice. I read it on Jeff Goins’ blog. For our two year jubilee I gave my husband a photo of us looking out of the window of the train going to Mombasa. And I put that sentence in fancy retro letters next to it.

Always having something to look forward to doesn’t necessarily mean holidays, but it generally involves a break. It’s important to break the routine, make life interesting again, trigger new feelings, experiences and some learning. Some excitement.

This serves as a motivation to keep pushing through the daily life, even if it’s hard or boring or almost not bearable.

You need that new thing that you both can work towards and that you both will then enjoy.

When is your next holiday? Or when is a friend of you both coming to visit? Are you going to move? Do you want to paint a wall in your apartment or throw a party? Go to the cinema, the theatre, a concert, a restaurant? Are you going to get a pet or a car, or sell your car, or start gardening?

Make it something big, work both towards it and then enjoy.

  1. Leave with a smile. And then return with a smile.

My husband goes to university almost daily, and I remain home. Recently he told me something he had discovered:

“Whenever I leave here smiling, it is going to be a good day.”

That really struck me. When we say goodbye, both of us might already be entangled in the day’s duties, in the problems and tasks ahead, that we forget to actually treasure the moment and person right in front of us.

If something is lingering in the back of your mind (The dishes are still in the sink unwashed. – He’s wearing yet another pair of shoes. – I wonder whether I will get all the things done today.), it will keep eating on your spirit there (What if she doesn’t wash the dishes until I return? – Where shall we store all these shoes of his? – This is too much meaningless work, I will never finish.) and lead to an explosion upon return (What? She didn’t wash the dishes? The lazy lass! – What? He bought yet another pair? I’m going to throw them out of the window! – Obviously I didn’t tick all the tasks. What a useless day, and tomorrow is going to be worse.).

Two boiling pots, and we are about to witness what happens when we pour them together.

Explosion! Misunderstanding! Hurting!

Yes, everybody carries their baggage, but when we say goodbye for the day, let’s just switch those voices off a bit and truly smile. Because in that way, despite a horrible day, we will know that there is someone who loves us and whom we love back.

Do I already sound like an old married lady? Let me know in the comments please, and be honest!

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