Isn’t the honeymoon phase the best part of a relationship?
In November this year, my wife Jessie and I will celebrate five years of marriage.
I’m lucky to be able to say it really has been the most amazing five years. During these first few years of our life together, I’ve learned what I now consider the essential lessons of marriage.
These are the things I wish I had known a long time ago. They’ve made all the difference in my relationship, so I wanted to share them with you.
16 Secrets To Staying In That Honeymoon Phase Your Whole Life
1. Learning your love language (and your partner’s) will change your relationship forever.
When Jessie and I started dating, I freaked out that I might wreck the great thing I’d gotten going, so I started researching how to “get good” at relationships. In the process, I came across Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. Dr. Chapman says that each of us has two dominant love languages of the five: physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation.
If you feel like your partner doesn’t recognize all you do for them or how much you love them, it’s probably because you have a different love language. It’s an absolute must-read! If you want to take the quiz to find out your own love languages, you can do it here.
2. Knowing each other’s Enneagram type will help you understand and appreciate each other better.
The enneagram is one of the most profound, powerful guides to understanding your personality and how it works in relationships. Developing an understanding of your and your partner’s strengths and weaknesses gives you a greater appreciation for each other. I’m a Type 7, which means I can be too busy, spontaneous, and scattered. Jessie is a Type 3, which means she’s adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious. Our personalities are so different, but they work together beautifully.
3. The notion that relationships are 50/50 is totally false.
When we get married, I thought the expectation was that each party had to put in 50 percent of the work. That is an absolute lie. Some days I’m tired, stressed, or grumpy, and I’m contributing about 10 percent to the marriage, and Jessie has to take the 90 percent. Other days Jessie is acting like an absolute—actually, it doesn’t matter. You get the idea.
4. Placing blame during arguments is never constructive.
This is so hard. When you’re frustrated, it’s easy to want to highlight all the stuff your partner is doing wrong. The fact is, this just makes things worse. Focus on how you can improve what you have control over. If you both focus on how you can improve yourselves, you take steps toward progress. I wish I had already mastered this, but it’s a work in progress.
5. It pays to always make time for quality time.
Date nights are a great way for you to remind yourself why you fell in love. Ours is on Monday. Sometimes we go out for coffee or dinner; other nights we just chill out together. It’s a big priority for us.
6. Even in marriage, sex is always a privilege, not a right. Seduction remains crucial.
I learned the hard way that you can’t just come out of the bathroom playing Flight of The Conchords “Business Time” and expect to get lucky. I mean, it might work once or twice, but it shouldn’t be your go-to move. If you want your partner to be in the mood for physical intimacy, be affectionate all day. Finding out your partner’s love language will help you invest in actions that will have a meaningful effect on your partner. Is she a gift lover? Buy her flowers, chocolate, and wine—her favorite indulgences. Is she all about words of affirmation? Tell her why she is so special to you. Acts of service are more of her vibe? Wash the dishes without being asked. You’ll figure it out.
7. Your feelings toward each other will change over time (and that’s OK).
When Jessie and I first got together, I blushed every time I saw her. I finally started to understand all the love songs, movies, and ridiculous things I’d seen my friends do for the people they loved. When we got married, people told me that these feelings wouldn’t always be there. I didn’t really believe them. Here’s the thing: I love Jessie more than I ever have, but I don’t blush when I think about her anymore. I don’t get nervous holding her hand or kissing her. Sometimes I get annoyed at her and vice versa. Don’t rely on feelings to prove that you love something. Commit to it and watch how your behavior drives your emotion to follow.
8. Showing and telling your partner all the things about them you appreciate breathes new life into your relationship.
A few weeks ago, Jessie told me she thought I might have a photographic memory. Ever since I’ve been convinced I do, and my ability to remember things has improved dramatically. Tell the person you love what you love about them and watch that area of their life flourish.