Our Christmas photos came back! (thanks to the amazing Deena Kourtney Photography) and it felt so special as it was our first family shoot. Thumbing through the photos last night with Ridge got me thinking about us- where we are, where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.
For those of you who are new around here, Ridge and I haven’t had a typical relationship. This month marks six years since we crossed paths in Honolulu and once year since Miami where he popped the question. We are so much stronger now than just a year ago and I can’t imagine life without him- but with any journey there are hills and valleys along the way. It’s easy to fall in love but staying in love involves a commitment and work along the way. I’m the farthest person from a “love expert” (ahem, this post), but here are the biggest things I’ve learned this year about how to keep the love alive forever.
- Set up your lifestyle around your different strengths. Your differences can be your biggest strength as a couple. I’ve always been career driven, ambitious, etc. and one of the amazing things about Ridge is how supportive he is of my dreams. Back in the Summer he got laid off and when we sat down and talked through our next steps, we both agreed that since we were fine financially, he would take time off until January (when we move) and manage the house and help with the blog. Making this decision took a lot of stress out of our relationship; we had more time togther and felt more balanced because we were doing things we both enjoyed. I know this is an extreme example, but maybe it’s how you divvy up the housework, who pays the bills, etc. Make your differences your biggest strenth as a team.
- Love without limit. Ridge has taught me to love without holding back. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t feel crazy loved by that guy and I’m SO thankful for this! I think it’s important in this crazy go-go-go era to find avenues to show your significant other affection throughout the day. Between Juliana, my career, and this blog I constantly feel stretched to my limits and for a while I wasn’t giving Ridge enough. We had a few chats on this topic and one of the things that’s really helped is finding lots of little ways to let him know how much he means to me, whether it’s his favorite sub from Jimmy John’s or a simple “I love you babe”. Ridge and I say those three words a couple dozen times a day I think (we are so mushy, lol!) but it’s one of those little gestures that’s brought us closer and made us fall more deeply in love.
- Let things slide (if you can). I know this sounds a bit counterinuitive, but what I mean is letting go of the little things your partner does that irk you, if possible. For me it’s a lot of the typical stuff- leaving the toilet seat up, taking my brush for Juliana and not putting it back, etc. I used to nag Ridge about the toilet but now I just put it down (with my foot so I don’t have to touch it, haha). It only takes a second and stopped bugging me once I made a conscious decision to let it go. If you can’t let something slide though, address it rather than letting it bubble under the surface and cause resentment.
- A child can be an opportunity to deepen your love. While I don’t think one should have a child for only this reason, having Juliana has brought us so much closer. I jokingly refer to Ridge as “my partner in crime” for raising her. He’s the only other person that’ll ever be her other parent and that brings with it a crazy bond. We’re constantly telling each other “Mommy, did you see what our daughter did?” or “Daddy, can YOU believe our daughter just said that?” A lot of times this happens organically, but you can also share your experience in a way that brings you closer.
- Admit when you’re wrong- and if the other does, don’t rub it in. I always find it hard to admit when I’m wrong, but then the left
part of my brain tells me when I am and that I need to, so I try to make myself haha. But then right after I admit I’m wrong, I beg Ridge not to rub it in! He’s been good about not doing that, which makes it easier for me to admit a shortcoming and vice versa. I’ve noticed when we do this it usually dissolves an argument pretty quickly.
- Respect each other- it’s basis for everything. Back when Ridge and I first dated, we had a BIG respect problem. As much as I hate to think about it, we constantly disrespected each other and it was just terrible for our relationship. I forget exactly where I read this, but there was a psychologist who studied the behaviors of several newly married couples. Based on their interactions with each other and their respect or disrespect he predicted whether or not each marriage would last. Ten years later, he’d been right about all of them (how crazy is that??). I truly believe that without respect a relationship just won’t last.Faux leather leggings + an oversized sweater is one of my favorite winter combos Free People sweater // faux leather leggings (similar) // Valentino rockstud pumps (similar for less here and here) // earrings
Conflict is natural and it has more to do with how you resolve it which takes time, practice, and a dedication. For me, it all stems from a commitment. When I said yes to Ridge last December, it was a promise to spend the rest of my life with him. Because I’m going to be with him forever, I try to approach disagreements from a resolution perspective.
Life is so crazy and messy (our house, my inbox, etc. etc.), but the love we share makes it a beautiful kind of perfect and I wanna fuel that flame forever.
PS if you’re hitting crunch time with holiday shopping, I’ve updated my “holiday shop” tab in the top menu with lots more gift ideas: winter fashion gift ideas, stocking stuffers under $50, and home decor under $50. Also sharing a gift ideas for every family member here, an under $50 home decor gifts guide here and under $50 gift ideas for your best friend here.
Faux leather leggings + an oversized sweater is one of my favorite winter combos
Free People sweater // faux leather leggings (similar) // Valentino rockstud pumps (similar for less here and here) // earrings
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