The Steele Maiden: Advice for Couples - Our Relationship 10 Commandments

I was determined to share more personal stories on the blog this year and you all agreed that relationship tidbits were something you’d like to see. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day (hello lovers!) I wanted to share Adam and I’s Relationship 10 Commandments. I first heard of this idea on a podcast I listen to faithfully (Happier with Gretchen Rubin) and loved it so much. I had never written these out before, but when it came time to think of what the 10 ‘pillars’ of our relationship were – these came very easily. I don’t like to think about them as rules, more like lanes on a road. We’re racing along best when we’re keeping it steady between these 10 guidelines.

I can’t stress enough that Adam and I in no way think we have a perfect relationship. And what works for us, could be all wrong for others. Also, several of these were completely stolen from other couples that we admire or bits of wisdom we’ve heard throughout life and applied to our own relationship. But regardless, it’s a fun exercise I thought I’d share. And if you try it too (you could make one of your relationship, your family or just yourself) I want to hear what makes your list! Without further ado…

OUR RELATIONSHIP 10 COMMANDMENTS:

  1. ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM – from the very beginning, we decided it was us against the world. We’re a team of two, trying to figure out a way to win in this crazy game of life. If I do something great I want to look back and see Adam cheering, and if he falters I want to be on the sidelines yelling ‘you got this!’.
  2. LIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF GROWTH – No relationship is perfect. Ours certainly isn’t. But if we’re always trying to make it better and trying to grow together, that means more to me than some idyllic version of #couplegoals.
  3. TALK TO ME – honestly, communication (as it pertains to a relationship) isn’t either of our strong suits. But we both agree that communication is really crucial to a solid relationship. So it’s something we work on and remind ourselves of all the time.
  4. SIGNATURE MOVE – A sense of routine and pattern of habits has always been super important to me. Adam has always winked at me from across crowded rooms and keeps his hand on my hip-bone until I fall asleep at night. I always link my arm through his elbow when we walk on the street. It’s a constant physical reminder that the other person is there.
  5. ACCEPT THE WHITE FLAG – if we’re in one of those silly, bickering moments and the other person tries to break the mood (with a joke, a hug.. a white flag if you will), let them. Unless it’s some sort of major fight that you really need to work through, accept the attempt at apology and move on. Life’s too short to spend it pouting.
  6. FRESH EYES – A lifetime is well, a long time. And I think all too often people settle in to thinking they know every single story the other person has ever told or thought the other person has ever had. I try to actively learn new things about Adam, share new things with him and generally look at him with fresh eyes.
  7. SUNRISE/SUNSET – We try to start the day together and end it together. That means if I have to stay up late to do work, Adam stays up too. While we’re at it, we kiss good morning just like we kiss goodnight. The world can take you in a million different directions throughout the day – but at least we know we begin and end it together.
  8. PAY IT FORWARD – The whole ‘I did the dishes so you should do the laundry’ life sounds exhausting to me. Just carry your weight. I like to think we’re both good about not keeping score. My Dad always told me ‘relationships are give and take’ and I think some years you’ve got to give more and some years you’ll need to take more. If you’re with someone that’s willing to do the same, it all comes out in the wash.
  9. OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS – You know the saying. People can definitely evolve over time, but I think at our core we are who we are so it’s best to come to terms with that. I’m damn stubborn and Adam is slow to adopt new ideas. I suspect that when we’re 80 we’ll still be that way so best to find a way to love those aspects of each other now.
  10. TAKE YOUR MEDICINE – I read once that couples can get common colds (your little passing everyday fights that cure quickly) or cancer (the incurable, killer kind of differences). But that most couples have, well, diabetes. A disagreement or issue that you will carry for a lifetime but that – if kept in check and treated regularly – is not really a big deal and you can still go on to live a fully happy life. Maybe you have differing political views or one of you has a tendency to be a workaholic or struggles with anxiety. Not deal breakers, but you need to recognize the diabetes, communicate (hello #3) and be sure that you’re treating the issue. We have our flare ups but we typically can see them coming and take our medicine so to speak. 

The Steele Maiden: Advice for Couples - Our Relationship 10 Commandments