6 Lessons We Learned in 6 Years as a Couple

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Hi, friends! As our 6 year anniversary quickly approaches, we are reminded of just how far we've come since I said "yes" to our first date at Miguel's Mexican Cantina. We are reminded of the high's and the low's, every date in between, and just how fast the years pass us by. When we first met 11 years ago across the table at a Spanish class luncheon, never did I imagine that I would be waking up next to this handsome man every morning, sharing fresh brewed coffee, and our hopes for the future. Never did I imagine that he would so quickly become my shoulder to cry on, the most important support system, and my person to laugh with until tears are streaming down my face and I'm on the ground with half of the pillows. 

While being with Sam has felt absolutely effortless over the duration of 6 years, I know that this is not true in reality. We have worked at our relationship day in and day out - improving our communication, learning how to compromise, and testing each other's boundaries. A relationship is not perfect from the start; combining 2 entirely separate lives into 1 isn't an easy task and will not happen overnight. I am grateful to have a partner that is willing to learn and grow with me. We are not who we were when we first began this relationship 6 years ago - we now carry the best parts of each other within ourselves. 

As we celebrate our anniversary later this season, we wanted to honor it by sharing 6 lessons that we have learned in the past 6 years as a couple.  

01. Communication is everything

Have real conversations about the important things such as morals, religion, political views, children, marriage, career goals, and your future. Most people say to avoid these tough conversations on your first few dates but, Sam and I got these things out in the open almost immediately. They are important conversations to be had - if you're not talking about them now, when they come up down the road, you might be blindsided to your partner's view on something and it could potentially be a deal breaker. Example: when we first started dating, we discussed openly how we both did not see kids in our future. In the past few years, this view has drastically changed for both of us. The moment that we were feeling a different way about what we originally discussed, we had a conversation and got on the same page once again. Because we inevitably change so much from year to year, it's important to continue revisiting conversations and important beliefs. 

Additionally, if there is one thing that we have learned to focus on in our relationship, it is meaningful communication on a daily basis. If you are angry or upset with something, tell the other person immediately - don't assume they already know. You can't expect someone to apologize or change their actions unless you tell them directly how you feel. The way that you communicate with your partner is equally as important as what you are saying. Thankfully, Sam and I have known from the get-go never to raise our voices at each other, call each other names, be sarcastic while having a disagreement, or say things that we might regret or cannot be taken back. I think this is a huge factor in the way that you feel about each other long-term. 

02. Remember to keep 'dating'

One of the things that I love most about being with Sam is how FUN every day is, 6 years later. We are always cracking up laughing, smooching in public, holding hands, trying our best, and not letting our relationship grow stale. Even on the most stressful, busy work weeks, we make time for date nights. These are nights spent unplugged, catching up and having real conversations, and remembering why we began dating in the first place. 

We also try not to take ourselves too seriously - whether that means sneaking up and grabbing his butt in the grocery store or having a Netflix marathon 'sleepover' on our pullout couch in the middle of our living room on a Tuesday. I have never enjoyed someone's company more in my life.

I just wrote a full post about our favorite unconventional dates (and specific locations for those of you in MD) on the blog last week. 

03. Be on each other's team no matter what

Know that whatever is going on in your lives, you both are 100% there to back up and support the other person. Sometimes we have shitty days that have nothing to do with our partner; we each go through struggles whether minor or life-changing, and it's important to be there for each other through it all. Whether you are a comforting hug, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to vent to, it's important to know that your partner is not judging or criticizing you. If something is going on in your relationship, you work it out with that person - don't run to the closest girlfriend or your Mom to tear your partner down behind their back.

When you change your mentality from "me against the world" to "us against the world", it makes a significant difference in the way that you approach obstacles and life's challenges.

04. Know when to apologize and move on

Swallow your pride and apologize when it is needed. I can't even tell you how many times I've genuinely apologized to Sam after being cranky or stressed out or snapping at him for something as petty as not doing the dishes. When I was younger in the beginning of our relationship, it was definitely harder for me to apologize because I knew that I was admitting that I had acted wrongly. I think that as you mature however, it becomes easier to acknowledge your flaws and work on improving them.

The second part to this is: accept your partner's genuine apologies when given and truly move past it. Don't hold a grudge for the next 5 hours or make them continue to apologize for something that they already regret and have admitted. There is no sense in ruining an evening over something that has already been discussed and resolved. 

05. Never, ever fight about money

Sam told me that this was his parent's golden rule in their marriage (one that we look up to very much). There is so much more to life than money and fighting about it with your partner generally gets you nowhere aside from frustrated. It's okay to have conversations about finances (Sam and I do all the time) but, we never let it get heated or accusatory. You can always make more money - it is not worth damaging your relationship or ruining the night over an argument. 

My advice: If you know that you are especially protective of your money, plan on keeping your accounts and bills separate for as long as possible.

06. Say 'I love you' often

The amount of times that Sam and I say "I love you" throughout the day is actually humorous; if a stranger were around us, they would probably think that we just started dating last month. I have never doubted that Sam has loved me for the past 6 years. I think that sometimes people stop saying "I love you" often because they assume that their partner already knows. Just like telling them that they are handsome or beautiful or that you appreciate them. It is nice when these things are verbalized and not just assumed that they are known. 

Lastly, never stop doing the small, sweet things like picking up their favorite gummy bears unexpectedly, bringing home flowers for no reason, or surprisingly them with a home cooked meal and setting the dinner table.

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It's no secret that Sam has a major obsession with watches; if he could, he would probably buy a new one every month. On the other hand, I have never truly owned a quality watch prior to this month. I am generally a pretty low-key, jewelry kind of gal and I don't wear much more than my classic, Tiffany's ring on a daily basis. However, as our anniversary approached, we decided that it would be fitting to give each other a meaningful anniversary gift that symbolized the 6, incredible years that have passed by. 

We partnered with Henry London which has an amazing selection of quality pieces for both women and men. Sam and I each secretly picked out a watch for one another through their page as a gift. When we got them in the mail, we had to laugh at how similar the 2 designs were. He picked out the Shoreditch Steel Bracelet Watch for me and I chose the Richmond Moonphase Watch for him. I wear mine almost on a daily basis now; the rose gold face is chic, classy, and goes with just about any outfit in my closet. Sam's watch is unlike anything he has owned previously; he loves the elevated design for a fancy night out or special event during the week. They are 2 timeless pieces that we will always treasure and use to remind us of how far we've come as we celebrate this milestone. 

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Photography by Nicole Babcock Photography: Website / Facebook / Instagram

Shop this look:

HERS Henry London watch: Shoreditch; HIS Henry London watch: Richmond

Do you and/or your partner connect with any of these 6 lessons? Let us know in the comments or via Instagram and Facebook!

xo Anna Elizabeth