A few months ago I met Garrett and Casey Herrmann, a 20-something couple that impressed me. They were married in September of last year and have a home, a comfortable income and a clear commitment to each other.
Garrett, 28, and Casey, 29, have survived the most difficult stages of their 20s and had some advice for younger 20-somethings that are dating or heading towards marriage.
Here are the tips they shared with me about how they make their relationship work:
Over the short decade in our twenties, we have really learned a lot about relationships. We have had some fail, but of course the only relationship that stood the test of time is the one we are in now. When we were in our early twenties, our views of a successful relationship revolved around working part-time, going to college, partying, friends and being carefree. While these relationships didn’t work out, for a variety of reasons, it allowed us to learn about ourselves, and what we wanted in a partner. Over time your views change (as you think) about “forever,” families and stability. While your views change, so do your expectations in a partner. We are both happy to say, the broken road we traveled and the ended relationships we may have thought were the end of the world, were all part of this awesome journey to our 30s (eeek!).
1. Communicate. Let your partner know how you feel. Happy or sad emotions. Talk it out, don’t text it out.
2. Have just as many date nights in as fun nights out. Cook dinner together and play a board game or watch a movie.
3. Try new things together. One weekend do something that interests her and the next something that interests him. Don’t let the relationship go stale.
4. Be supportive. Understand that you are two different people with different expectations and goals. Support the other in how they think and feel.
5. Be understanding. Times will be tough, with both internal and external influences. People have bad days, just stick with it and remember why you fell in love with the person in the first place.
6. It’s a two-way street. If only one person’s heart is in the relationship, it won’t work. As important as it is to know when to be supportive, it’s just as important to understand when the relationship isn’t meant to be.
7. Don’t rush into a relationship. Remember to focus on YOU and make sure you build a stable foundation for yourself and discover who you truly are before sharing your life with someone else.
8. Spend as much time without your partner as you do with them. Don’t alienate friends or loved ones that were in your life before your partner. Make sure you schedule in time for everyone. When you spend too much time with your partner you become comfortable and that’s when arguments most likely occur.
9. Consider raising a puppy together. It really shows a person’s patience and nurturing nature, especially when the dog has to be let our in the middle of the night
10. Don’t share a bank account or a mortgage with someone you are not married too. We have seen this cause many arguments and much financial strain on couples once the relationship goes south.