We met in 9th grade at Cranston High School West. If you told us then that we would start dating our future spouse at the age of 14 we would have laughed in your face and told you that there’s absolutely no way! Flash forward to 2020, 8 years of marriage, 3 children and 18 years of dating. A lot of love, patience, faith, reflection and trust has brought us here. We are not perfect but we are perfect for each other. We recently had a WHOLE 24 hours to ourselves which included some reflection of how we have grown together as a couple, why we are together and what makes OUR relationship work so well. Here’s what we came up with:
• There's nothing that we wouldn't do to make one another feel loved. For us the little things go a long way. A daily I love you text and thoughtfulness works for us. What makes your partner feel loved and appreciated?
• Keeping a healthy distance from unhealthy relationships. Know your positive circle of people and habits. Eliminate anything unhealthy that may affect your mindset or your families.
• Communication is everything. Without affective communication we would have never survived the growth of who we are today. Communicating our joys, fears, goals, worries and being our authentic selves in a nonjudgmental environment. LISTEN to one another. ASK questions that matter. EXPRESS gratitude. SHOW appreciation.
• Compromise. Let’s be honest arguments happen! We’ve had a few I can laugh at and a few I’m embarrassed of. There have been plenty of times we agree to disagree. Put in the work to compromise without compromising who you are as an individual. Make it work for the both of you without keeping tally of who compromised last.
• Trust. Trust your partner... all of your partner. Including their thoughts, actions and beliefs. Without trust what do you have? Having trust issues? Communicate that to your partner and reflect on ways to that will strengthen your trust. Counseling is a great way to affectively treat this issue.
• Respect. Period. If you don’t have respect for you partner or yourself you shouldn’t be in a relationship.
• Space. Give your partner space. Some time away from family is beneficial and time with friends is necessary. Connection and communication with friends is important for your mental health and self care.
• Goals. Make sure your goals are realistic, attainable, specific and make both of you feel good about yourselves. You can't achieve something that goes against your values. Sharing your goals is powerful and a bonding experience.
• Continue to DATE each other. I can’t put into words how amazing it was to have a whole uninterrupted conversation. Discussing plans, goals and nonsense! We love our kids and they are our light, love and world but time to ourselves really recharges and reconnects us! Dating each other is a great reminder of why you started dating in the first place.
• Intimacy. Keep the spark alive! Unplug, touch and make out!
• Laughter makes the good times better and makes you feel closer through the hard times. Studies reveal that individuals who have a strong sense of humor are less likely to experience depression and burnout. They are more likely to enjoy life and marriage in general.
What makes your relationship work? How do you keep a healthy balance between your relationship and family life? Can you and your partner relate to our list?
Frank and Jan Iacobucci