My husband, Adam, and I are quite the anomaly these days: we're high school sweethearts. People are always asking me how we've made it work for so long, and while I'd love to tell them "we just love each other," there's a lot more to it.
I'm the first to admit that marriage—even one between high school sweethearts—takes work. Here's how we do it.
M2 PhotographyWE COMMUNICATE
You've heard it said your entire life: communication is key. I'm positive that the person who first said that was married. I'm very prone to shutting down when I'm upset (any one else find the silent treatment beneficial?), but with Adam, I've learned that I need to talk to him if we are going to make anything better. And it's not just bad things we communicate about—we always ask about our days, how the other is feeling, and opinions on life and world matters.
M2 PhotographyWE HAVE OUR OWN ACTIVITIES
Our favorite activities are together, but sometimes, in order to appreciate your time together, you need a little bit of time apart. Even if that just means taking a bath while your spouse watches his or her favorite T.V. show—finding a moment in the day to decompress on your own, or with friends, is a great way to keep the relationship strong.
WE APPRECIATE EACH OTHER
It's easy to fall into a routine when it comes to doing chores or everyday activities, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if your fiancé is in charge of doing the dishes, give him a little praise when he gets them done. A simple "thank you" every now and then can go a long way. You'll like feeling appreciated, too, when the thank you is reciprocated.
M2 PhotographyWE ALWAYS KISS GOOD NIGHT (AND GOOD MORNING)
This is probably the most cliché item on this list—but it works. No matter how terrible the day or how mad we may be at each other, we never go to sleep without kissing goodnight. Now, I'm not saying you can't go to sleep angry (I believe that sometimes a good nights sleep fixes everything), but the kiss will keep your spirits high and lessen your chances of waking up in a bad mood. A good morning kiss just solidifies that and starts the day off on the right foot.
M2 PhotographyWE NEVER STOP SAYING 'I LOVE YOU'
We've been together 11 years, and we first said "I love you" when we were 15—so you can probably imagine how many "I love you's" have been spoken between us. But, every time Adam says he loves me, it means something, and even if for just one second, it lifts my spirits. You may already know that your significant other knows your love for them, but saying it can make all the difference.
WE MAKE EACH DAY COUNT
Every day isn't remarkable once you're married. In fact, many days can be pretty crummy. But you can also find something special in each of those crummy days. For Adam and I, we try to celebrate the small stuff. Did we save a lot of money during our weekly grocery shop? Did we find an awesome new show on Netflix that we both like? Those things may seem mundane, but if you find a way to celebrate them, or at least acknowledge them, you'll train yourself to see the good even in the worst situations. And it will strengthen your bond knowing you do that together.
Time doesn't matter. It's the love you feel and the love you show that does. Whether you've been together a year or 20 years, as long as you try to show a little love each and every day, your marriage will be golden.
Style Me Pretty Contributor - Jessica Tzikas is a freelance writer, editor, and content manager from South Florida, who recently moved back to the sunshine state after living in Philadelphia for the past few years. When she isn't writing, you can find her reading by the beach, practicing yoga, and exploring nearby towns with her husband.