I often get asked how Chris and I met (under a disco ball), how long we've been together (almost 10 years), and how we've managed to stay together for so long (respect, commitment, understanding we're choosing to be together).
I was inspired by this article from Man Repeller on advice and how to keep a relationship lasting for (almost) 10 years.
First things first: Chris and I were friends long before we started dating and enjoyed each other's company. You know, the proximity principle where we hang out a lot and then begin to have feelings for each other. For the record, he liked me long before I developed feelings (calling you out Chris), but my feelings shortly developed, and fast.
Honestly, I think what makes our relationship work is a strong foundation for friendship, respect, honesty and really liking each other. Yes, we love each other, but when you really like someone-the person they are, the interests they have, mannerisms-it's what makes the relationship really click. He's my best friend. After a long day I'm excited he's the person I get to go home to and share my stories with, whether good or bad. He's the one I laugh with in bed before we fall asleep and make sure we catch up on our FailArmy videos every Tuesday and Friday nights. He's the one I want accompanying me during mundane tasks (like grocery shopping), to make it that much better. It's the little things.
If someone were to ask me advice on how to keep a relationship strong and alive I think it would be this: really like the person you're with. Enjoy who they are as an individual, and enjoy who they are in a relationship. And, as cliché as it may sound, find someone you can laugh with. It's literally the best feeling to laugh and be weird with your most favorite person.
I also asked Chris to write a few words on why he thinks our relationship works. Without further ado, Chris's words:
If you’re reading this now, it means you read Liz’s blog—which means you probably know Liz—which means you know how much of a sweetheart she is. Because of this fact I have 2 main roles in maintaining our now (almost) ten year relationship:
Recognize how lucky I am
Try not to fuck it up
The good news is this: because Liz is such a sweetheart, my first role is pretty easy, it’s the second part that takes a little work. Over the last ten years Liz and I have put in the work to build a pretty great relationship—if I do say so myself—and she’s asked me to put together my perspective on how we’ve made it this far without hating each other (we’re actually quite fond of each other).
We complement each other
I don’t mean we tell each other nice things all the time, well we actually kind of do that too, but more importantly we fill in each other’s blanks. Liz is more emotionally savvy than I am, driven by feel and excitement, and prone to impulsivity. It’s something I envy in her. On the other hand, I’m the kind of guy who just spent 5 minutes researching the difference between envy and jealousy to make sure I used the right word in this context. We sometimes refer to each other as “The What” (her) and “The How” (me), and it’s a dynamic that works for us.
We’re Never Mean
Sometimes relationships aren’t easy. We have our share of — let’s call them, “disagreements.” I think how you handle the tough times has more to do with the longevity of a relationship than the good times. No matter how much we disagree on something we’re never mean to each other. At the core of every argument is the two of us just wanting to be heard and understood, and over the years we’ve become pretty good at recognizing that.
We also do this thing where if one of us is being unreasonable and we realize it, we drop this line from Old School ”Don’t say sorry to me, say sorry to the baby”. It’s kind of like a safe word for arguing that’s just so silly, we can’t stay mad.
We Have A Lot of Inside Jokes
Like, seriously… a lot. I can’t explain them, but I’ve compiled a short list of my favorites for your confusion:
YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!
We Watch Fails Twice A Week
Every Tuesday and Friday night to be exact. If you’ve never watched fail videos, might I recommend a good place to start? It’s not uncommon for us to lie in bed and laugh out loud for half an hour straight, and really those are some of my favorite times we share together. Laughing together is THE BEST.
We’re Excited For The Future
And we talk about it! We share our pictures of a future together and use those to shape a shared vision of what we want our life to look like. Anything from where we want to live or what we want our career paths to look like, to which plants we’ll have in our living room when we finally have a home with an abundance of natural light, or what we’ll name our future dog (spoiler alert: it’s Radley). We’re excited about our future together and we let each other know it all the time.
But We Enjoy Today
Even with an eye to our future we don’t lose sight of the good times we’re having every day. Liz is admittedly better at this than I am, but I do my best to remember that life is a collection of moments and it’s important to enjoy as many of them as you can. I’m lucky to spend so many of mine with Liz.