College sweethearts Ashley and Aron Bruhn not only live together; the twosome also maintains Hither and Tither, a blog of their lives and adventures, as a pair. The couple knows what it takes to a build a solid relationship, and they're here to fill you in.
1. Treat your partner as you would any best friend.
2. Don't romanticize drama. Your partner is someone you want to see happy, not hurt. So when you do fight, fight clean. You know their soft spots: Guard them rather than exploit them, and apologize when you're wrong.
3. Talk to each other. A lot. We go on plenty of walks together, which means quality conversation while we're not multi-tasking on the internet or catching up between commercials. It's a time to share dreams alongside mundane details of the day, a bit of juicy gossip, or maybe a joke.
4. It never hurts to hug or kiss when one of you comes into the room. As often as possible is best.
5. Appreciate your partner. It sure is nice not to be dating, to have found that special person who loves you as you are at your least glamorous, but at the end of the day you both still want to feel special and appreciated.
6. The happiest couples I know don't take each other for granted. We still aspire to impress the other; we pay each other compliments and say "please" and "thank you."
7. Marriage shouldn't be work. I've never been a fan of that phrase. Yes, you have to care for it, tend to it. But with the right person, it should feel like fun!
8. We say, "Let's take ten minutes." Whenever there's an unpleasant task, like picking up a messy room (which for us means our entire, tiny, Manhattan apartment), we agree to each take ten minutes and focus on accomplishing the task together. It's much easier than one person taking on the responsibility (and being left to sound like a nag), and the task becoming some amorphous chore: "We need to clean." Finding ways to manage the practical details of making a life together, no matter how minor, are important.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.