Relationships take work! And if you want it to grow into something long-term, you’ll need to know how to protect your relationship, especially while you’re engaged and trying to plan a wedding! I wanted to talk more about an Instagram post from last week focused all on your relationship. In thinking more about how you can protect your relationship in general, I thought it would be helpful to share one thing I’ve done in my own relationship with my husband, Justin.
As a little bit of background, Justin and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary at the end of April 2020. Prior to that, we dated off and on for seven years after meeting in college at James Madison University. And let me tell you — we were off. and. on!
While we were dating, I found myself asking “how can I protect this relationship?”
I knew early on that I loved him and saw a future with him, and didn’t want my family and friends to have a negative view of him and our relationship just because we kept breaking up!
So here’s the one thing I decided to do to protect our relationship and what we were building together…ready for it?!
I simply decided not to share the inner-workings and intimate details about our relationship!
It’s pretty simple when you think about it, but it’s not always easy to do when you might be eager to share how your relationship is going with family and friends. It actually got to the point where my family didn’t even know if we were together or not because I just stopped sharing!
If I told all the negative things that were happening in that moment whenever we broke up, I knew I’d be planting seeds of negativity or doubt about our relationship in the minds of those who cared about me. Justin was (and is!) a wonderful person! We just weren’t quite on the same page about a few things at the time, and that’s okay!
I didn’t want there to be permanent consequences from what I thought were just temporary situations.
Because when you go through a breakup and run to family and friends for support, they’re sometimes likely to reciprocate the same tone and emotions that you’re displaying, and give negative feedback as well. Does this sound familiar? — “Girl, you don’t need him,” “you’re better than that,” “you’ll find someone else.” That’s not what I wanted to hear from the people that I loved! I wanted them to love him just as much as I did.
And if you’re really serious about pursuing a long term commitment with your partner, engaging in and listening to that type of negative talk isn’t going to be helpful if you want your relationship to grow!
It is normal for a couple to go through things and have experiences where they’re not always on the same page. You’re literally trying to get to know each other and figure out if you’re compatible and how you might navigate merging your lives together! It takes work and you won’t be on the same page 100% of the time! But the hope is that you’ll be able to resolve your issues and move on, which may be easier for you to do than for your family.
Have you ever experienced a situation where you’ve dealt with a road block in your relationship and moved past it, but family and friends were still stuck and hung up on the one or two negative things you said about your partner? It almost seems like they’re dangling it over your head and like to remind you, “well, remember when he did this…”
That’s not the experience I wanted for myself. Protecting our relationship meant choosing not to share about the hardships we went through.
And if I really needed support, I knew there was a very small circle of people I could trust and get advice from who not only supported me, but supported Justin and our relationship together, who prayed for us and wanted to see us succeed as a couple.
You will have a lot of well-intentioned family and friends trying to give you “advice” along the way, but at the end of the day when you stand before everyone and say ‘I Do’, it’s just the two of you up there, not you, Mom, best friend Jenny and that random co-worker you talk to sometimes.
Protecting your relationship means you’re careful not to open the door to negativity that may cause a division between you and your partner. It’s something that requires work every day — not just while you’re dating, but when you’re engaged and all throughout your marriage.
What are you doing in your own relationship to protect what you’ve built? We’d also suggest taking these other five steps when times get hard in your relationship. If you have other tips or ideas, please share with us by adding a comment below!
Post written by: Christina | Photo Credit: E. Losinio Photography