Spencer and I just celebrated our seven-year anniversary yesterday and it was unlike any other. They’ve all been unique but this one was really special. We were bummed because Spence knew he would have to work that day. Usually, we take our anniversary off but hey, a job is a job and him being at work meant I could get some transcription done, too.
This was our first anniversary with the little lady, Reila, in tow which added to the magic for both of us. She’s gone everywhere with us since she was three days old and we love having her along for the adventure. I won’t go into how beautiful and sacred the process of creating life is but every day is brighter than before now that she’s in the world.
Before coming home from work, Spencer handpicked seven roses for me. Roses are the only thing I want for romantic days. He started listing off restaurants we hadn’t tried to so we could go out to dinner, but after a day of typing, housework and playing with a one-year-old, the thought of getting gussied up to go to a fancy restaurant where the food probably might not be as good as my own kitchen conjurations didn’t sound great.
I had a better idea.
“Let’s go to Wendy’s,” I said, half expecting him to immediately say, “No.” But to my surprise, he said, “Okay,” and we headed out the door – him in his button-up shirt and dress pants from work, me rocking jeans and a tank top with one of his flannels and the baby in her casual-cute dresses.
You’re probably thinking, “Fast food? Gross.” But Wendy’s was where Spencer and I the first day we met, which was on a road trip to Joplin. I’ll save the details for another time but when Spence filled a plastic drink lid with ketchup, I knew he was the one. He also taught me how to fold out those little paper condiment cups that day to make a condiment plate and get way more sauce in one trip.
I found the Wendy’s with the highest reviews online and we headed that way. It was newly remodeled with a faux fireplace in it that unfortunately didn’t throw off any heat but had a great ambiance. Kids’ meals were $2 after 4 PM so Reila ate for practically nothing and altogether our tab was what we would have paid for one entree (minus a tip) anywhere else.
Now, I’m not a lady that needs to be wined and dined. Perhaps that’s added to the success of our relationship. But the years have not passed by without any work. When Spencer joked about the “seven-year itch,” I knew I had to get writing. Like most aspects of life, there have been highs, very high highs and lows – sometimes rock-bottom lows – in our time together. But here we are, together seven years later looking forward to 70 more.
Here’s my advice:
Every day, you should wake up thankful regardless of your love life but it’s especially important when you’re in a relationship. Be thankful for your companion and let them know what they mean to you. Neglect is the outcome of an ungrateful partner. Remember to say, “Thank you,” and “I love you,” every once in a while and never, ever take anything for granted. You have been blessed with someone who will travel with you through time and space. Cherish them.
2. Always say “yes”
You were a spontaneous little thang when you met your partner seven years ago. Maybe it was the dopamine and serotonin high of falling love. Regardless, don’t let fun disappear just because things have calmed down! If your partner suggests something new, just say, “Yes.” Try it. You’ll never know what you’re missing otherwise.
You’re human. Your partner is human. Mistakes are inevitable and sometimes, we do things out of character that are really, really bad. Maybe even downright evil. I mean, they may even break your soul contract but as long as they’re sorry, forgive them. Life is too short not to and if you don’t let it go, it’s only going to eat away at YOU. Don’t let that happen. Everything can be worked out with the right level of commitment.
4. Communication is Key
Tell your partner when they make you happy, tell them when they piss you off and everything in between. If you mess up, confess. Don’t bottle things up. Be an open book and never lie to your partner because they are your best friend, your greatest ally and your number one fan. They’ll always be there to help if you’ve always been there for them, but unless you address your problems they may go unnoticed. No cold shoulders. Just talk.
I think a key to a constantly improving relationship, one that gets better with age like a fine wine, is to consistently work on yourself. Imagine two people together working to be the best they can be. That’s all you can really ask for in life and it should be everyone’s goal, regardless of your relationship status. Be the best you can be. Forget the you of yesterday and just do what’s right. Wake up on time. Work out. Eat healthy. Create whatever it is you dream about at night. Everything is possible so go out there and make it happen. Your partner will thank you.
6. Touch Each Other
There’s nothing worse than being repulsed by your partner. I’ve had those days. Spence has had those days. Dirty socks on the floor, hair in the sink – yuck. But guess what? We still love each other and the best remedy to those feelings of absolute horror and disgust is to just reconnect – physically. Sex is our spiritual form of communication and if nothing is happening, then there’s probably an underlying problem. Now, I’m not saying you have to bang like bunnies but make an effort. At least hold hands when you go out. Look into each other’s eyes. Cuddle on the couch. It helps.
Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed. Gratitude will come naturally for the littlest of things, bringing us back to my first point and displaying the infinite loop of relationship care to help everyone work through the seven-year itch. We spend time and energy on our thoughts and emotions, so don’t waste them. Worry is one of the biggest productivity killers. Free yourself. Let go of the life you expected and accept the one you’ve been handed. Soon, you’ll see the life of your dreams is actually the one you’re living.