This past weekend, my boyfriend Patrick and I celebrated our 18-month anniversary! It's crazy how time flies when you're having fun but I also can't believe it's only been a year and half since we met. I've learned so much during my dating relationship and though the list seems endless, here are the first 18 points that come to mind (in no particular order.) Please note, I'm not claiming to be any sort of dating expert, this is just my personal collection of memories and experiences from the best dating relationship I've ever been in. That being said, let's get on to the mushy details.
1. Having good communication
Even though the rest of these points aren't listed in any particular order, this is definitely on top of my list. This is so important because relationships (romantic or friendship) involve two individuals with diverse life experiences and it's important to talk through those differences (and similarities!)
2. Little things matter
I remember being super impressed when Patrick brought me dark chocolate from Ikea on one of our dates. As random as it was, I mentioned I liked Ikea’s chocolate more than their furniture in a previous conversation. This was not only a sweet gesture but it also created a culture/mannerism that carried through our relationship.
3. Being okay with not being okay
The first time we spent the whole day (from morning to evening) together was when we went to San Diego for a friend’s wedding. Because it was so early into the relationship, I felt pressure to be “on” the entire time. When something was bothering me, Patrick noticed and created a safe place where I could be completely honest with my feelings, good or bad.
4. Listening to nonverbals
This is something that develops over time but it’s pretty awesome when you’re at the point where you can read each other’s nonverbals. When you know someone so well, it’s important to not only read but listen to what your partner is trying to say.
5. Prioritizing your relationship
We’re both naturally a bit of a workaholic so we have to be extra intentional about protecting our relationship. Patrick created this rule where we have to save one day of the week for date night and it has become something I always look forward to!
6. Sweet little nothings
For me this is making eye contact or when he holds my waist and for him, he feels affirmed when I lean on his shoulder or squeeze his hand. Cheeseballs, I know.
7. Not having to be friends first
In the past, I thought you had to be friends with the guy before you dated because that’s what I’ve always heard. When we first met, we were complete strangers who ended up drinking coffee and sharing laughs together. It was pretty awesome because we just got to know each other in a pure way without having any sort of history in the past.
8. Going that extra step
The first couple months of our relationship, I didn’t have my own car so he literally traveled the extra miles to pick me up and drop me off. Whether it’s through time or deed, we always try to be extra generous towards each other.
9. Learning when to give space
Sometimes we run into a situation where one person is ready to talk and the other isn’t. We learned that it’s okay to be in different processing stages and it gives opportunity to exercise patience and grace for each other.
10. Learning when to step in
Just as it’s important to know when to give space, you also have to know when to step in. As for me, I’m a verbal processor so I appreciate it when my boyfriend or friends listen as well as offer wisdom and advice.
11. Guys need romancing too
And it’s fun to give it! Patrick’s a pretty simple guy who doesn’t really ask for much but I like to occasionally surprise him with small gifts or leave little notes with encouraging words in his room. A little goes a long way.
12. Cheering them on
We support each other when we do our own thing. For example, I attend his soccer games Sunday afternoons and he comes out to all of my Chasing Linen events. Cheering each other on in our respective fields makes doing life together awesome.
13. Doing boring things together
Chores can be super fun when you do them with the person you like. One of our favorite things to do is going grocery shopping or washing our cars together.
14. Learning each other’s love language
My love language is words of affirmation and acts of service so I need a lot of “I like you”-s and “you are beautiful." Along with words, I appreciate action so it means the world to me when he makes me coffee or vacuums my car. His love language is quality time so I make sure to schedule time to see him throughout the week.
15. Learning each other’s forgiveness language
Yes there is such a thing and if you don’t know about it, you definitely should! Similar to love language, we say sorry or accept apologies in different ways. For example, I hate it when people say “I apologize” because it feels so formal so we cut that out in our forgiveness language and instead say “I’m sorry.”
16. Being honest with your weaknesses
I think we’re pretty good about being honest in our weaknesses. Communicating these areas allow opportunities to have grace over each other and love despite our shortcomings.
17. Being honest about your strengths
I don't mean this in a cocky way but it’s nice to be recognized for the things you are good at. Pat’s definitely better with business matters, finances and leadership and my strengths are in visuals, anything creative and honest communicating. It’s a nice balance and I think we make a pretty good team together.
18. Having a community
We make sure to spend quality time with our friends & family and we never want to be that couple that disappears. Personally, my goal is to meet up with a girlfriend twice a week and I encourage him when he hangs out with his friends. We're also pretty open about our relationship and love inviting other people into it. Having a good group of friends who support, care and even keep accountable for your relationship is absolutely priceless.
I hope this is helpful to some couples out there and I'd love to hear some of your romance stories as well! Sincerely, #patnuhincrime