How We Make It Work

17 Years Married, 21 Years Together

I'm not going to lie, it has been hard at times.We feel like we are an oddity sometimes because both of us were virgins before meeting each other and we had not even dated anyone else before. We had really only been friends for about 2 weeks when we started dating. S and I worked together and the first year I didn't really even like him because he and his friends were the good employees that knew how to do everything fast and without help. I was 16 and it was my first job. I wasn't as fast as some of the other people, and I wasn't the pretty one either. 

Once his friends started leaving for other jobs, he started talking to me more when we all sat there after work waiting for our rides to pick us up. One night I was taking some food out to some guys in their car in the parking lot, waiting for their order to finish cooking and they were flirting with me and asked to take me to the club that was on base nearby. S was sitting out front talking to his friend who was the manager on duty that night and when I was walking in they asked me what was going on, I said they invited me to Lasers. He said, "Did you tell them you were spoken for?" I just laughed and went about closing up. About a week later we were sitting in my car at the beach where we normally went to sit for hours and talk, and I got up the guts to grab his hand and I said: "Am I spoken for?" He squeezed my hand and said yes and we kissed. 

So here we are 21 years and 2 kids later. We are the couple everyone just knew would be together forever. People always ask me advice on relationships and I always start with telling them it starts with BOTH people being willing to communicate. I have had friends try and try but when the other party isn't into it or trying as well, then that is your first flag that it isn't going to work out. You also cannot have someone who is always the 'whatever you want' person, because what is the point in being in a relationship if you make all the decisions and do everything yourself...what's the point of that other person besides a warm body and an additional income if there is no teamwork?

  1. You have to be willing to sit down and tell the other person that there is something they do or say that hurts your feelings or irritates you. Now I'm not talking about all this millennial political correctness or hippie dippy type "you hurt my feelings" talks. I'm talking about if there is something that he or she brings up all the time that you are trying to get past or forget and them bringing it up makes you feel stupid or that they think you're stupid. That is important to talk about.

  2. The second important thing to keep in mind is HOW you talk to the other person. This took me a long time to get right, mostly because I was a selfish partner. It was partly his fault as well for always putting me on a pedestal and making me feel like a queen. I mean a queen that gets whatever she wants, not like this is my woman y'all look at my amazing wife. I had to get him to actually stop giving in all the time.

    I know you might be reading this and thinking what the hell is she saying, she got whatever she wanted and she made him stop. YES! Spoiling me, made me spoiled. It hurt the relationship and it hurt us financially. It was ok if we went overdrawn as long as I was happy and got that cute stuffed animal. He had to learn to say "maybe we don't get this right now because we have to pay for gas and groceries, but we have an extra payday this month so how about then", or even to say "Do you really need that, you already have so many". He grew up in a household where the mom got what she wanted and the dad did whatever she said. So when we were dating it was great and cute, but when we got into living together it should have settled down.

    So now when I tell him there is something he does that irritates me I say "When this happens it makes me feel like you don't think I'm smart enough to handle it on my own". He then thinks about it, reassures me he doesn't think I'm incapable of anything, and he promises to try not to do it in the future BUT (and this is important) he asks that I give him some leeway or a probationary period to stop. Let's face it, we don't all think before we talk so things might slip. But we give each other that look that says 'Dude seriously we just talked about this' and we get past it.

  3. GET PAST IT. We all want to keep track of who wins and how many times the other did something stupid that we can bring up in an argument later...right ladies?

    Don't do that. I mean if it's something like drugs, alcohol, or cheating then hell yes, bring that up. But if its something like not putting the toilet seat down, let it go Elsa! Just be happy they lift it and don't pee all over it for you to sit on. Pick your battles.

  4. If they don't seem to care when you bring up things you feel need to change or tell you to just get over it and aren't willing to discuss it, then it's not a healthy relationship.

At the end of the day you need to ask yourself, do I see myself growing old with this person? Do I have conversations about nothing and everything with this person so when we are old and the sex is gone (you know it happens) will I still like talking with them? Is this person my best friend first? If you feel like you can tell this person anything and talk about the nonsense stuff like what would you take with you on a deserted island if you could only have 4 things, then you have a winner.

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How We Make It Work
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