Before we begin, I’d just like to break the ice and apologise about failing to post a blog since… November 2017. Ahaha that is shocking (nervous laugh). It’s now practically April 2018. That’s 5 months of absolute silence and yet I’ve still quite confidently continued to use the phrase ‘Oh ya, I’m a blogger’ every time someone has asked me what I do for a living. In any normal job I’d have been sacked off within about a week of just simply not turning up. But since I work for myself I’m gonna let this one slide, and considering I found out I was pregnant in early December – I have decided that it’s the perfect excuse for neglecting my supposed career. In fact, it’s quite possibly my excuse for absolutely anything and everything these days. Just ask Paul. If he hears me say the words ‘I’m pregnant’ one more time I believe his head might actually fall off.
Pregnancy is hard. I feel sick all the time (even now at 19 weeks), I no longer possess the energy required for housework, I practically exist in my pyjamas, I go to bed at 7pm most nights, I cry a lot, I’m constantly eating weird food and I spend hours moaning about how absolutely nothing fits me. Writing lengthy blog posts and giving in depth beauty/life advice hasn’t really been top of my priority list, but I’ll try harder from now on – I promise.
Anyway, back to the post!
I was drawn towards this subject because well, my lovely boyfriend and I have been labelled ‘Couple Goals’ hundreds of times, and I just wanted to make sure that you understand the ACTUAL definition of ‘goals’(in the real world, beyond social media) and are clear on what you should reaaaally be aiming to achieve within your own relationship.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already be aware of my belief that the majority of its content exists as a smoke screen of lies and a carefully manipulated highlight reel of everybody’s best bits. Of course, we are not going to upload minute long snippets of our nasty arguments, share photos of our swollen pink ugly cry faces and caption them ‘hate the bastard’. Womp. Nobody wants to see it, it’s attention seeking and above all else – it’s personal. So it’s up to us to take responsibility for our own perception, look beyond the highlight reel and remember that what looks like ‘goals‘ on Instagram, may actually be the sugar coated surface of relationship hell. You just never know, so don’t compare. From my own personal experience, I must note that the profiles set out to purposely display ‘utter perfection‘ are generally worn as mask for the most unfulfilled, unhappy, insecure people. Just bear that in mind the next time you go scrolling and almost vomit with jealousy.
If you’d like to achieve #couplegoals status on the gram, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Get yourself about 20K Instagram followers. Buy them if you must.
Step 2: Regularly post adorable photos of you + bae. You could fake laugh to create the ‘ole ‘omg we are having so much fun and no one can stop us’ vibe and fool as many people as you can in to thinking your relationship is absolutely fucking perfect 24/7. You could also take your clothes off and both lie together, semi-naked wearing nothing but your Calvins and take snaps with your selfie stick.
Step 3: Remember, as long as your relationship looks flawless on Instagram, you don’t need to worry about anything else. You must value other people’s opinions over your own happiness. If you’re miserable, do not fret – everybody thinks you’re happy and that’s all that counts.
Step 4: Regularly check in to make sure you’re receiving compliments such as ‘N’aww’ and ‘OMG Power Couple’, ‘God, I wish I wasn’t so single‘, ‘I can’t cope’… then kick back, put your feet up and revel in the misfortune of other people’s jealousy for a hit of dopamine and a false sense of self worth.
Or you could stop chasing approval and actually get to work on some real goals for you and your boo. My boyfriend and I have a beautiful, funny, warm, loving and stable relationship, 90% of the time. The other 10% we spend practically falling apart. But that’s absolutely okay with me, because we are 1000% committed to learning, growing, improving, forgiving and evolving together. I do not believe that two completely individual human beings, with different upbringings, separate values and varying life experiences can find one another, suddenly agree on absolutely everything and spend the next 50 years laughing and snogging.
I am absolutely sure, however, that our partners/soul mates come in to our lives to challenge us. As soon as I met Paul, I sat across from him at the dinner table and in my heart I absolutely knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was ‘the one’. I also knew from that moment it was gonna be one helluva ride. And it sure has been. The best ride of my life, might I add. When I think about how much we’ve grown over the past two years, I can’t help but be proud to have fulfilled my idea of ‘couple goals’ in my own life. And it has absolutely balls all to do with our Instagram followers (even though I love you).
So here are my top 5 REAL LIFE couple goals, that I think you should cherish and nurture every day in order to have the most beautiful relationship possible.
1. Unshakable Trust
If you wouldn’t bet your life savings on the fact that your partner didn’t even so much as sniff at another woman in da club on Saturday, then you need to get clear on why. If your man is off to spend a weekend in Ibiza and the thought alone makes you want to die, there’s something off. You should be able to sleep soundly, confident in the knowledge that he’s completely committed to you and only you. And this rule swings both ways, it can’t be one sided. If your still texting your ex and flicking through bumble, then you should probably ask yourself why you’re in a relationship at all. (Obviously if open relationships are your thang then the above does not apply, but you still need to have healthy boundaries which require trust.)
Lies always get found out, and the more you lie, the less likely your partner is to trust you in the future. Earn trust by being open, vulnerable and completely honest.
As humans we have a super strong need for connectivity and a sense of belonging, which is why communication is so important for a fulfilling relationship. Most of the arguments in my relationship come from hidden emotions (on my side), and having recognised this, I know I need to work on saying what I really feel more often. It’s very tempting to hide our true feelings and then start an argument about something totally off subject, just to release our build up of emotional tension. It’s far healthier to calmly explain what’s upset us, and work through a solution together. One huge habit we’ve both come to understand the importance of, is making requests instead of demands.
Demand:‘You’ve not done the fucking dishes’
as opposed to:
Request:‘Please could you do the dishes if you have time this evening?’
We all have needs. It’s hugely important that partners take time to really listen to one another, and hear what the other person is saying. If both people can communicate their needs, without judgment or critcism, a loving channel of communication is opened and conflicts can be resolved easily. As Marshall Rosenberg said, “Let’s never try to teach anybody anything, or change anybody. If that’s your objective, you’ll create resistance. Saying what we don’t want, doesn’t make clear what we do want.” Which takes me on to the next point…
3. Respect your Partner’s Needs (Apply the 5 love languages)
We all express and feel love differently, and understanding those differences can seriously help our relationships. In fact, it’s one of the simplest ways to improve them. The term ‘5 love languages’ was thought up by relationship counselor Gary Chapman. His book, Five Love Languages is pretty fabulous if you’re not sure where to start. (I believe it to be the perfect wedding gift.) Discovering my love language changed everything for me and it finally made sense of what seemed like a never ending battle to please my boyfriend, by only doing the things that I personally found pleasing to myself. You see, we don’t all have the same love language. I thought that buying him thoughtful gifts, smothering him with affection, constantly sitting on his lap and going for long romantic meals was the answer to a happy relationship. Yet he didn’t seem to care about gifts, he wasn’t really in to snuggles, and he just complained that I never unloaded the dishwasher.
I noticed that he spent a lot of time in the kitchen doing house hold chores, went weak at the knees every time I cooked him dinner, showered me with compliments constantly and would be eternally grateful if I gave him a back massage.
We were speaking completely different love languages.
His love languages are: Acts of service (loading the dishwasher, back massages and being helpful) and words of affirmation (compliments, positive reinforcement).
Mine are: Quality time (gazing in to each other’s eyes, long meaningful conversations) and physical touch (cuddles for days).
Now that we understand what makes the other person tick, I can focus on making him happy by carrying out more acts of service, and he can focus on giving me the quality time I need to make me feel so loved and fulfilled. I also know that he responds well to compliments, and he knows that I need regular cuddles in order to feel loved. Compromise 🙂 What a beautiful thing.
You can do the test here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com. There is also an explanation for each language so you can better understand what it is both you and your partner need to feel fulfilled.
4. ‘Us’ not ‘Me’
A successful relationship requires teamwork. Teamwork requires support, encouragement, understanding, patience and love. And above all else, you are stronger as a team. Constant battling over who is ‘worse’, or who is ‘better‘ is a recipe for disaster and unhappiness. When you’re entirely focused upon yourself, keeping score, getting even and ensuring that sure you’re being treated the way you expect to be treated, with no care for the other person, you’re not actually in a relationship with your partner—you’re in a relationship with your thoughts and judgments about the other person. You’re focusing on yourself, what you can get, and where your partner is constantly failing to deliver.
Focusing on the two of you as a team totally shifts your perspective. Suddenly it’s not “me versus you”; it’s “us” and “let’s figure this out together.”
It’s not “I hoovered the house every day this week, what have you done?” Instead, It’s “We’re a team. I do the hoovering more than you at times, and you do a million other things for me at times.”
It’s not “If you cared about me you’d call twice a day”; it’s “I’d love to talk to you more.” (Remember, request vs. demand)
5. Keep it Fresh
If you want a relationship to last, you have to stop it from drying up all together. It happens. The honey moon period is over when you find yourself lying on the sofa, farting to your heart’s content, spilling Ben and Jerry’s down your double chin without a care in the world. Spending years by someone’s side can result in a level of contentment that breeds laziness and total lack of effort. Especially these days, I notice that Paul and I can be side by side for hours and yet both be sitting with our heads buried in an iPad or an iMac or an iPhone or Call of Duty (rolls eyes) or simply just watching the television. There’s always a sodding screen.
Relationships are a commitment that need nurturing, they need excitement. It might just fall under my favourite love language of ‘quality time‘, but I whole heartedly believe this is an imperative part of any lasting and healthy relationship. It’s where true connection happens, it’s where you become present again, and you take a moment to actually stop and appreciate one another. It also gives you chance to communicate your feelings in a calm and loving environment, where you’re both feeling heard and valued.
So the next time you’re feeling bored and underwhelmed, book a weekend away as a surprise, treat him to a nice meal or cook dinner together and then have yourselves a long hot bath and a very early night, ehehe.
Date nights are the tits.