Sid and I always get bug-eyed looks when we tell people that we've been together for 18 years. It's typically followed by the same question every time, "What's our secret to making it last?" As crazy as it sounds, there is no secret at all. We work really hard to make our relationship be exactly what we want it to be, not what we see on TV or what we "think" it should be. To achieve this bliss, we've learned certain tools along the way to increase our chances of success. I call it the four C's. It is through these things that we practice that we are able to continue to build our ideal.
1. Compatibility: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but there is no substitute for compatibility. You and your partner can attain all of the tools in the world, but if compatibility between you two is missing, the relationship will go nowhere. Does this mean that opposites can't attract? Of course they can. In many aspects, Sid and I are polar opposites. However, no matter the differences we have, our goals, dreams, and outlook on life is exactly the same and has been since we were 14 and 15 years old. Weird, I know. But when we met, it was like meeting a twin flame. We are each other and it's not something that we try at, it's just natural.
2. Chemistry: Now chemistry in a relationship can come and go. In fact, in a marriage or any long-term relationship, you are bound to run into periods of not feeling the chemistry at all. It is during these periods that we work overtime to restore the connection. We've gone through many seasons in our relationship, some being very dark and depressing. We've had to choose to fall in love with each other over and over again. It didn't just happen; it was a choice. In the moments when we've chosen and committed to loving each other, our chemistry becomes reignited.
3. Consistency: Working on the relationship, consistently, is very important. It’s really easy in marriage and long-term relationships to become relaxed and not put your best self forward. We've definitely learned this along the way. We have found ourselves, in the past, losing focus on issues that are considered important to the other. By ignoring your partner's concerns, no matter if it's intentional or not, a message is sent that you don't care. There is nothing worse than having to have the same conversation over and over. By committing to consistently work on the areas of improvement in the relationship, it ensures and shows that your spouse's needs and wants are also your needs and wants. It puts the two on the same page and allows for the couple to grow.
4. Communication: The final C is communication and it is perhaps the most important. Without open and honest communication, a relationship is bound to have many problems. Sid and I got very lucky in this department as he and I both are huge communicators. We do not fail to address issues. Some may call this trait confrontational or domineering, but we call it what it is. We know who we are and what we want and we're not afraid to make it known. Now this has caused many of arguments and discussions between us. Often times, our wants collide and cause an explosion of emotions. But no matter how frustrated we get, or how mad we may seem at the time, I know that he and I will talk. We spill our guts and lay our feelings out on the table for the other to understand. It is always through this communication that we remind each other why we picked the other and what our love means.
Our relationship is far from perfect and we don't profess at all to be experts in the department. What I will say is that in the many many years that we've committed to each other, I wouldn't trade a second, a moment, a trial, or a triumph. Our love is the sweetest gift that God has given to us. It has produced lots of laughs, hugs, and love manifested physically into three beautiful daughters. Our love and relationship is their blueprint, and I am confident that when they leave the nest, they will take with them the tools to lead productive lives and participate in healthy, loving relationships.