In honor of Valentine’s Day (love it or hate it, I’m sorry!) I wanted to blog about something a little more personal to me. On Valentine’s Day, I spent the afternoon with my roommate, shopping and seeing the movie Safe Have. Run-in 1 with love. That same day, I received innumerable texts from friends. There’s run-in number 2. Over the weekend, my boyfriend came to visit and we spent a great time together. And that makes run-in number 3. My last run-in with love came on Saturday, when Joel and I met up with my family from Minnesota. They come to Orlando once a year, and I have tried, in recent years, to make sure and see them. It is my grandma’s sister and her kids, and maintaining a relationship with them, their kind words, and their lasting relationships with one another are all great reminders of love. Still, I am only 22 years old, so to say I am an expert on love would be like calling Kathy Griffin funny. However, I have been with my boyfriend for three years now, and we have plans to be married once I am out of school and on my feet. But first, responsibility calls. Still, it’s been a great three years and I’ve learned a lot along the way. With all that being said, I figured I’d write some relationship do’s and don’ts for long-term relationships based on experience. Maybe they can help, or maybe I’m too young to know what I’m saying. At the very least, I hope they entertain!
DO learn from each other! My boyfriend and I love politics but belong to different parties, and I’d be lying if I said he didn’t change my mind on a thing or two. Thank goodness for that; he’s opened my eyes and my mind, and everyone can handle a little dose of reality now and again.
DON’T read Cosmopolitan Magazine (well, sometimes, haha). I learned this the hard way, after one too many articles made me say, “Are ALL guys really like this?” I know I’d hate to think of my dad or my boyfriend the way they often paint men out to be. There is such thing at TMI.
DON’T give up due to distance. My boyfriend and I have been semi-long distance for a year and a half, and with his job search that may increase even more. If you have trust, can see an end in sight, and make time each day, it is completely doable. I always think of it in terms of the idea that it’s HIM I want, not just any guy, same city or not.
DO know that parents will always be there, so take it in stride. Even if you don’t always see eye to eye, or they don’t see how great you are, future in-laws are worth the struggle. Hopefully you can even find common ground and see the good in any situation.
DON’T go out to eat all the time! There are plenty of other ways to have fun, and you’ve got to keep the relationship REAL, too. We got in such a habit of eating out that I lost lots of money only to gain lots of weight. Yuck!
DO marry a guy who loves dogs and kids. It melts my heart when my boyfriend talks in his “puppy voice” around dogs, or when I see him playing with his younger siblings. He is one of 5, and his younger sister has Down’s syndrome, so he has lots of practice with being fun-loving and kind. That is something SO important to me!
DO make sure you have the same values. To me, marrying someone who works hard, wants kids, loves his family, and puts his faith first are non-negotiables. It’s okay to have those; there are some fissures that can’t be fused and having a solid foundation is crucial. However, once you get past the basics, my boyfriend and I are totally opposite, so don’t be too picky! (;
DON’T settle. Don’t love out of pity; don’t stay with someone if you don’t want to. If you have a lot of complaints, there is probably a reason. If you don’t see a future, don’t spend years and years stuck in a rut. Love because you want to, and because it’s a feeling you can’t help. That’s the best, and only in my opinion, kind of love that is worth it.