{Making it Work, Part Two}

Good afternoon lovelies. My labor day weekend has been jam-packed with festivities, but today I finally have a chance to blog! How’s everyone else’s holiday weekend? So, last September I wrote a blog post called {Making it Work} and I had  a lot of positive feedback about it. In honor of a super fun #giveaway {details at the end of this post} & the fact that it’s finally September, I’m writing part two.

For those of you who just started reading along, I’ve been in a relationship now for a little over 4 years. I met B when we both attended the University of Michigan. We’ve survived {and thrived} through college-dating, long-distance {Michigan to Florida} and the madness that medical school brings. We have lived together for about two years and recently got engaged & purchased our first home.

We are kind of losers and relatively unphotogenic.

We are kind of losers and relatively unphotogenic.

Okay, this moment was perfect. :)

Okay, this moment was perfect. 🙂

Okay, all of this sounds super exciting {and it has been}, but things weren’t always this way. Let’s get real — relationships are LOTS of hard work. Anyone who tells you differently hasn’t gotten past the honeymoon stage. Sure, most of the time loving B is easy. He’s helpful, caring and would do nearly anything for me. Other times things are stressful. He’s busy with work and I’m overwhelmed with school – inevitably, things get tough and we both are guilty of taking things out on one another. I’m telling you this because it’s important to me to show off my realistic relationship. Instagram and Facebook often showscases the “highs” of a relationship, but never the lows.

Many of my friends started off medical school already in a relationship. Others found someone along the way. Regardless of where you are right now, the same things make a relationship. The same things send a relationship down the drain. For the longest time, I always saw people in “perfect relationships” and wondered was that the goal? I’m here to truly tell you that absolutely no relationship is perfect. I’ve had so many people look at B and I and tell us how much of a “fairytale” couple we are. I often tell him about this and we laugh together, because we know that isn’t the truth. B is my best friend and I’d practically die without the man, but we are in no way perfect for each other, nor would I want it that way. Having someone to laugh with and love is amazing, but it is even more fun to have to figure out how we will navigate each part of life together. We stumble along the way and make mistakes often, but there are a few things we always stick to.

Tips to make a relationship that much bettter 

  1. Start your own traditions together. Anyone who knows me, knows how important family is to me. B and I look forward to growing our own family one day, but for the time being it’s just the two of us. We have found that starting new traditions together is a fun way to connect and have things to look forward to. One thing we started doing last year was doing an ornament exchange. We both purchased an ornament that either had a funny story behind it or reminded us of the other person. It was fun to kind of surprise him, especially when I found an ornament shaped like a game controller {he’s obsessed with gaming}. Regardless of how silly the tradition seems, having things that bring you closer as a family are wonderful for any relationship.
  2. Regroup and spend a few quality minutes together each night. For B and I this means doing our very best to hop into bed at the same time. We spend 15-30 minutes talking about whatever is on our minds. Whether it is things we are excited about or a rant about how stressful the day was, we take this time to be there for one another as a listener and support system. Other nights we don’t do any of our own talking, instead we read something interesting to one another. I’ve been reading The Five Love Languages book to him {it’s really good so far for anyone interested}.
  3. Small gestures. Everyone in this day and age is super busy, but trust me you’ve got time for a small gesture. I usually try to leave B a cute note if I leave for work earlier then him. Other times he’ll let me know he picked up my favorite food from the store and it’s in the fridge for me. When your really stressed out a simple text message of support is really meaningful too.
  4. Don’t let a tough career path EVER stop you from having the most incredible family. Anyone who tells you that you can’t have a successful, amazing relationship while in the medical field is dead wrong. It won’t be EASY. I can actually guarantee you that it will be hard work. You’ll sacrifice things, you’ll make compromises you didn’t think you could, BUT it will be worth it. If you have a negative atttitude {oh, my relationship definitely won’t work because I want to be a surgeon or I’ll have too long of hours, etc; my marraige will end in divorce} then it probably will. Having a positive outlook is essential. Why even begin a relationship if you think it’s just going to be a failure? This seems like a simple concept, but I’ve heard countless stories of people on first dates already picking out all the bad! What about the good? Again, we can all say with confidence that we aren’t perfect. How can we expect someone else to be the “perfect” match for us?

What you can do to send your relationship down the drain {these are what NOT to do} 

  1. Bring up old fights. Forgiving isn’t really forgiving when you get hammered about the same old thing over and over again. EVERYONE makes mistakes. If you wanted to be with someone perfect, you’d probably never find anyone.
  2. Compare your relationship to all of your friends. Seriously, don’t do this. I know it can be hard. We’ve reached the age when everyone is getting engaged and sometimes we are the ones left behind. Coming from someone who waited four years to get engaged, I can tell you that being engaged is really, REALLY no different from not being engaged {seriously}. Yes, I get to wear my beautiful ring, but I still love B the same. I still trust him the same as I did before. I still want a family with him like I did before. When you are in the right relationship having a ring on your finger or not having one really makes no difference {except for wedding planning stress LOL}. Know that your relationship is exactly where it is supposed to be. All good things come in time. 
  3. Interefere in previous personal relationships. I can truly say that B is one of the most popular beings I’ve ever met. From the second I met him he had TONS of friends. I’ve never been a social butterfly and have always preferred to have a small group of close friends. When I first started dating him, I often found myself jealous of the time he spent with his friends. He had tons of close girl friends who he’d known since childhood. I can admit it sometimes can be hard to trust a new boyfriend with people you don’t know. Listen up ladies and gents, you’ve got to get over it. I’ve learned to love nearly all of B’s friends and know that each one of them has had some impact on his life, and for that I love them even more. I’m always happy to see him go to parties on his own or support his friends. I can’t always make it to events because of the crazy schedule I have, but I’d never let my schedule stop him from seeing these friends. This is important. Having your own identity within in a relationship is healthy. 

I hope these insights help others. These things have helped B and I grow our relationship, but what works for me won’t work for everyone. Just keep in mind that perfection isn’t ever really the goal. I’d much rather have some ups and downs, but truly feel love to its fullest. Loving B will always be my favorite thing. He’s just too adorable not to love. <3