It takes two to tango: relationships take work

couple on bench in sunset

I have been with my husband for 21 years now. We have been married for 17 years. We have a stricltly monogamous relationship, which works very well for us. Since the theme for the third round of the Summer 100 Sex Blogger Challenge is about relationships, I thought I’d share some tips as to how we manage to still make our relationship work.

Please note that this is what makes our relationship work. This may not be what would make yours work, as everyone is different.


A successful relationship depends on the ability of both parties to compromise. When you put two people together (and for the sake of this article, I am assuming a monogamous relationship, because that is the one I am in), you will have two different sets of needs and desires, two different opinions. Of course, you are likely going to agree on a lot of things as a couple, but not on everything. That is why compromise is so important. Now, compromise does not mean that you have to always give in. Both partners in the relationship should be willing to compromise, otherwise you’re just a bully. The way I usually do it is to determine whether something is worth fighting for. Usually I find it’s not worth the grief and I concede in order to have more leverage when it comes to something I do really want. You need to be a good negotiator in a relationship.


This will come as no surprise to many of you, but communication is key. We can’t read minds (yet), so it is important to tell your partner how you feel and what you want. It is unfair to expect your partner to instinctively know what you want. Having been with my husband for 21 years, we both have a pretty good idea what the other person wants, but we still communicate. I ask him to confirm what I think he needs/wants and sometimes I am wrong. A lot of issues in a relationship can be solved by just communicating effectively.

Checking in

This sort of follows from the point above, but is slightly different. I think it is important to check in with your partner. Not just once a week, no: throughout the day. I am lucky in that hubby and I both work in an office environment where we can regularly text each other. We check in to see how our days are going, what we feel like for dinner, or sometimes just to say we miss each other. I find it helpful to know what mood he is in when I get home – or vice versa – as that way we can adjust how we interact with each other. If he has had a bad day, he may not want to hear about my petty irritations at work. If I have had a stressful time at work, he ensures dinner is on when I get home, so I have one less thing to worry about.

Don’t bottle up

Living with another person isn’t easy. There will be times when you are irritated with your partner. The best thing to do, though, is confront these irritations right away. If you start to bottle things up, it will at one point come to a boil and you will throw out years of frustration in one big sceaming match, leaving your partner baffled as they had no idea they were irritating you. There will also be things that your partner simply can’t change. This does not mean that you’re not allowed to be irritated by it, but you may need to just come to accept that they are just that way. Maybe making a joke of it will help you deal.

It is also important to realise that no one is perfect. While you may be irritated by your partner’s procrastenation, they may find you too impulsive. Embrace your differences, as much as you embrace what you love about each other. Your differences can strengthen you as a couple. I am far too impulsive and hubby is very indecisive. This used to drive me crazy until I realised that his indecisiveness was actually him being cautious and it saved us a few times. At the same time, my rashness will ensure that we do eventually make a decision, and by that time it’s a well thought-out decision.

Keep the spark alive

This one is a no-brainer, but have sex. Lots of sex. Tease each other via text during the day, then go crazy at night. Take some time for yourselves as a couple, especially if you have kids. We are lucky enough that we work in the same city, so we can sometimes meet up for lunch. As we don’t have a babysitter, this is really the only time we can get away and have a good talk.

But yeah, definitely make time for sex, even if you have to schedule time in for it. That may not be the most romantic, and it’s definitely not spontaneous, but we all lead busy lives, especially when you have kids, and it’s all too easy to put sex on the back burner.

Love conquers all

This might sound like a cliche, but love does conquer all. While the butterfly feelings of being in love may disappear at one point in the relationship, your love for each other should strengthen and deepen during your relationship. And hopefully if you follow all te other tips mentioned above, you won’t grow apart as a couple and your love does indeed deepen.

None of the above is a recipe for success, it’s just what works for me and my husband. As I said, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships. We can all benefit from some relationship education at times, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

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