Archive | November, 2013

Thoughts on Relationships for 20-somethings

11 Nov

Hey guys. Today, we’re taking a bit of a left turn from what’s usually on this blog…which is mostly food. We will return to your regularly scheduled programming soon, but I was inspired to get a little gushy and romantic on you today, mostly by this tumblr post by two great musicians who got married, and now they’re having a little baby. I went down the rabbit hole and found videos of them talking about their relationship and it made me happy and mushy.

I’m married. I realize that this is pretty anomalous today, since I’m young. Not as young as people think, (If I get carded at another rated R movie, I swear…)but I feel like I have a pretty good insight into relationships – what works and what doesn’t- for people in my generation. Friends and acquaintances often look to me for advice and reassurance with their boy (and girl) troubles. I have learned, after years of giving (mostly) unsolicited advice, that people are generally just going to do what they want to do. People do things because they feel that choice will make them successful and happy. Sometimes, this doesn’t work, and then they might listen to me.

Not to say I know everything, obviously, and while I can’t tell you what to do, I can tell you what’s important. This is fairly universal. Again, I have no degree or title that gives me supreme authority, but I really feel strongly about what I’m about to throw at you. These tips work for dating, long-term relationships, and even friendship.  So, here it goes:

4 Keys To A Successful Relationship ( according to Jenny, an old-lady married 23-year-old.)

1) Communication
No, I don’t mean you should constantly be talking, chatting, texting, skyping, etc. What I really mean is that you are totally honest and open with everything. Are you annoyed that your guy or girl is constantly late for your dates? You should probably say something. Otherwise, this tiny little problem is going to explode into a huge fight. You don’t have to be mean or biting, either. Just be honest. This approach basically works for everything. This approach is how my husband and I have never once ever had a fight. We tell the other what’s bothering us and how it makes us feel, and we move on. No fights, no yelling, and no passive-agressive actions. People are genearlly really wary about saying something that might hurt someone’s feelings, but don’t be afraid to speak up. This little hiccup is way worth avoiding a screaming match down the road.

This also goes for anything on your mind. Especially the important stuff. Are you nervous about talking to your partner about, say, marriage? Living together? Being exclusive? Are you afraid they’ll shut you down or make fun of you for your opinion? You need to be open to hearing them, too. Even if it’s something silly, open, honest, safe communication is key. Don’t be afraid to say what you feel. 

2) Respect
This might sound super cheesy and weird, but you cannot have a successful relationship if you do not respect your partner. What does respect look like to a peer? Basically, you don’t say anything you know will hurt them. You never try to intentionally hurt them or let them down. You’re supportive of their jobs, dreams, hobbies, and haircuts. You’re encouraging, but critical when it counts. Are they struggling at work? Lift them up with support, kind words, and even advice. Don’t bring them down and add on to their pile with your own issues with them. I’ve seen my friends hurt each other with the meanest, cruelest words and actions just to get the short-lived satisfaction in their partner’s reaction. I’ve never understood how you could say something mean to someone you care about, but…it happens. A lot. So, stop it. Be nice. I mean it! If this is happening in your current relationship, I urge you to take a step back and really look at why this might be happening. Are you just trying to get even or get revenge? Do you just want to be right? Do you have to get the last word in, even if it’s going to hurt your partner?

3) Compromise
Number 3 is really built on 1 and 2. Luckily, my husband and I are not stubborn. We don’t have to be right or get our way (although admittedly, I often do). We compromise. Again, this is a key way we’ve avoided fighting. It can be as simple as getting mushrooms on half the pizza (barf), or listening to his music choice first. It can get even stickier, especially when you’re just dating. Who’s paying for dinner? Did she pay for groceries last time, even though she was scraping the bottom of her budget? It’s tough. but remember, it’s not about what’s fair. If he can’t pick up the tab because he didn’t get enough shifts at work that week, pick it up for him. It’s not about keeping a tally. Don’t pick fights, and don’t fight for the sake of being right. I’m not saying give up your viewpoint or forgo your preferences but maybe just let it go this time. Let it go.

4) Self Worth
This one is really for those of you dating. This is the number one thing I’ve had to pound into my friends’ pretty little heads. All of you, no matter who you are, have worth. You are valuable. You need to know that you matter, what you want is important, and who you are is unique and incredible. The person you are with needs to see that. They need to see that in you is something of worth that demands respect. But first, you  need to see that, too. You’ll have a hard time being happy with anyone if you’re not happy with yourself. Yeah, I know, how many times have you heard that? But it’s true. If you’re letting someone bring you down and make you think you’re not worth it, then please get out of that relationship. If they’re telling you no one else will want you, and that they’re the only one willing to put up with you, they’re wrong.  Once you see that you’re worth the love and respect of others, you’ll never let anyone make you feel that way again. I’ve seen this with my own eyes, with one of my very best friends.

And you guys, this last piece of advice might fall on a lot of deaf ears, because I’ve had little success with this one, especially with my guy friends, but it goes right along with your self-worth and the worth of others. Don’t have sex until you know that person is worth what you’re giving them. Sex isn’t a given. It never should be. It should be an important part of a relationship that can handle the repercussions of everything that goes along with sex. Don’t roll your eyes, because you know it’s true. It is!

Alright. that was super long. If you got this far, I commend you. Here are the videos that inspired this post. The girl in the videos is a super talented solo electropop artist that goes by LIGHTS. She’s great. The guy, Beau, is in a band called blessthefall, a pretty hardcore band but worth checking out if you’re into it.