Today, we are celebrating our 6th anniversary as a couple. So yay!
People ask us how we manage to stay together for the past years—without a single break up or even a cool off. Not that we don’t fight or disagree—we actually disagree a lot because we are very different and opinionated people. I think, in all honesty, it’s because we are both in it for the long run, and we accept and love each other for who we are.
I don’t believe articles with titles like “10 secrets to a lasting relationship” or “5 tips to keep him happy.” I honestly believe that it’s a case-to-case basis. Different people mean different relationships. What may work for us may not work for you. So that’s why I’m going to share six reasons why I think we have stayed strong and happy together. As I’ve mentioned, this is a case-to-case basis. This is our story, and you have your own.
- We are our own individuals apart from being a couple. Have you ever read books wherein the girl thinks she has lost herself during the course of their relationship? Mark and I are different people and we do not hinder each other from doing the things we love independently. Instead, we support each other. If one of us is concerned, we will voice out our opinions but we are always there for each other. Mark the individual and Reg the individual exist, and they are happy together. We have never imposed rules on each other such as “no smoking” or “no drinking” or any of that strict stuff.
- We like spending time alone sometimes. We don’t do everything together. He goes to his basketball games alone, and sometimes I tag along when I feel like it. I go to my high school batchmates’ parties without him. He goes to his org’s parties, and I go to my org’s events as well. Okay, now I’m making it sound like we don’t spend time together. We do–we go shopping together, we eat together, we hang out at coffee shops together, and we used to run together too. Sometimes, we’re together but we do different things (he studies, I work or study too). We also go to events and parties together sometimes, but not always. This is because we trust each other, and we know that it’s okay not to do everything together.
- We challenge each other intellectually. We are both very opinionated people, but we respect each other. There are instances wherein we have different sides regarding a certain issue. We discuss, we disagree, and we agree to disagree. We acknowledge each other’s points, and we listen. Sometimes the debate heats up. We both have very short tempers by the way. When that happens, we both quiet down first. We don’t talk for a while until one breaks the ice. Then later on we talk about why we were mad. We don’t talk when we’re both hot headed. We never set this rule when we just started out—it just happened. Fights are part of relationships, and intellectual debates are fun.
- We do not put value in material things and gifts. We don’t buy gifts for each other on ceremonial events such as Christmas, birthdays, or even on our anniversaries. We believe more in investing in memories. So we eat out, or we go somewhere to experience something fun and new. This doesn’t mean we don’t give gifts at all. We love giving each other notes on random days—when one feels bad, has an exam, or has a busy day at work. I buy him clothes he can use, and he buys me stuff for my apartment like laundry baskets and trash cans. We’re not really the chocolates and flowers type of couple.
- We understand that relationships are not perfect. Some couples break up after fighting. Or they cool off. We put ourselves in the position of a married couple. They cannot file for divorce or annulment after every fight. They try to work it out. So that’s what we do. And besides, there hasn’t been a time that I didn’t want it to work out. Maybe because of the overall feeling I have for him—the love is greater than whatever annoyance or irritability I am feeling at the moment.
- We are also best friends. Whenever I see something funny, he is the first one I text or call when we are not together. When we are together, we enjoy teasing each other or laughing at something. We enjoy each other’s company and we support each other as well. People say that friendship is the foundation of strong relationships. While we were not exactly best friends that turned into a couple, I’d like to think that along the way, we found our best friend in one other.
So I guess that’s it! Six secrets for our six years and beyond. Share yours too!