Since we photograph a lot of weddings for our career, have a lot of family, and are products of relationships, we thought we’d ask our clients, families, and friends about what they’ve learned while in their relationships. This could include romantic relationships and/ or marriage, parenthood, relationships with family, and relationships with friends. We made sure to add that what was said didn’t have to be advice necessarily, but could be anything including what they’ve humbly learned, realized, or believe to be true. We’ll share with you a few of our favorite things that people have contributed about relationships and then tell you what we’ve each learned!
Midwest Friend, Wife, & Mother Sonya:
On Marriage: "In my 13 yrs of marriage I have learned that a person needs to decide if they want to be happy or if they want to be right. Drop the little things because in the end it doesn't really matter."
East Coast Friend:
On Self/ Ended Bad Relationship: "It's funny how you get out of a bad relationship and recover your favorite things about yourself!"
On New Great Relationship: "A good relationship just inspires you to be your best self."
West Coast Friend & Wife:
On Marriage/ Relationship: "I feel it is a fairly common theme in human’s life to have fantasized over who would be the one they would fall in love with and spend life beside. I was absolutely one of those people. In fact, there are times I read through old journals full of heartache and boy trouble and such memories often push me into deep reflection. Now, such sad scribbles of sorrow can only make me smile, for I had no idea what greatness was in store. However, even though I have received this brilliant gift of love, I find it difficult at times believing it is all real and actually happened to me. Yet, I have found that these thoughts of disbelief help me to strive to cherish and support my partner, no matter what life throws our way. It is easy to love and be kind when times are good, but can be difficult to maintain when we are swimming in waves of anxiety. During such moments, I try my best to remember that the relationship we have built together is a life support, in existence to assist our journey and never to deter it. Constantly reflecting on this notion teaches me that love is simple, love is real, and love is forever worth fighting for."
Midwest Husband, Father, & Friend:
On Marriage/ Relationship: "As someone who went from a bachelor of 35 years to husband and father in less than two years, I have the following thoughts I'd like to share:
There will be moments when you take one another for granted. It will happen and its in those moments where lessons are learned in love, respect and humility.
Sharing a life together requires some sacrifices. It takes time to realize that those sacrifices open up opportunities to share in happiness that is exponentially greater than what one could achieve by himself.
Patience is truly one of the greatest virtues. It gives you a chance to realize that people CAN change.
I fell in love with a strong and passionate woman who could challenge me. While there are times we call one another stubborn, I don't think we wanted it any other way.
I know it sounds cliché, but I can't believe I ever lived without her as my partner and best friend. I cannot imagine a life without her."
West Coast Married Couple, Friends, & Parents:
On Marriage (Husband): "I had to think hard about it. Communication. Wether it's an emoji during a busy work day or making a joke about our day. Communication is very important. Even if the topic is tough, awkward or stressful, sometimes you just have to talk and address the issue. Sometimes breaking the ice with joke helps."
On Marriage (Wife): "Yeah i have to agree with him. Communication is the main key. It does sound like a cliche, but he is without a doubt my best friend. Another thing is respect and personal space, too. Sometimes you need your little time to think and disconnect. Especially when you get into a routine (kids, work, etc...), having the respect for time is good."
East Coast Mother, Friend, & Wife:
On Motherhood: "The craziness of motherhood is counting down the minutes until bedtime, then after they sleep you miss them and spend a good amount of time looking at their pictures/videos and remembering the funny things they said or did that day. "
On Marriage: "Being married and staying married is definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done. There are times you are so happy and so in love and some days you want to strangle your spouse. It isn't all sunshine nor is it all rain. I look at it that you have to take the good with the bad and on the bad days try to remember why you loved that person. On the good days soak it all in because your spouse is bound to make you angry soon enough."
Midwest Family Member:
On Parents: "Listen to Mom. She often knows best."
On Advice: "Also, be respectful of friends and family bringing their concerns to light. Sometimes they see things you can't until you're looking back on things later on. It likely takes a lot of guts to say anything and they don't do it to hurt your feelings. They do it because they love & care about you."
On Family: " Family is crazy-important. It doesn't matter if they're super close to you or not. They care about you, so care about them. You may not be a big-gathering type person, and that's okay. But try to make an appearance because people remember who shows up and who doesn't. Also, never invite people to events JUST FOR GIFTS. That does not give the right message to your guests, especially friends and family. They want to feel valued by you just as much as you want to feel valued by them."
On Relationships Ending: "Sometimes relationships don't work out when you and many around you really thought they would. It's okay. Pray about it. Talk with friends and family. Reflect. And find a way to move on. Learn from the ups and downs."
Jason on Relationships:
"When I’m asked to remember the things that I’ve learned from my previous relationships before Jenny and I started dating, all that comes to mind is negative. A slue a mistakes and red flags that I had ignored throughout the relationships that inevitably led to their end stand at the forefront of my memories.
Remember the importance of trustworthiness. This may seem like it goes without saying, but a lot of small actions done behind the back of your partner can add up to an inevitable disaster. A trail of white lies can explode into a relationship ending disaster by the slightest catalyst or the largest fiasco. The number of things that I swept under the rug before is amazing; I tend to favor avoidance to confrontation in most cases and this meant many issues went without me voicing my concern or dissent. This is how you learn about yourself however, and even at this point in my life I am working toward breaking my silence when something needs to be done.
Find someone who enjoys your lifestyle. Again, this sort of thing may seem too obvious to be said. Even small things can lead to huge issues over time as you allow them to chip away at your relationship. Now this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be adventurous on occasion as everyone can benefit from experience new things in life. What I am saying is that you need to be with someone who enjoys not only the same superficial things as you, but also enjoys the same sort of lifestyle as you. From my past experience I’ve found the greatest amount of conflict arise from being paired with an extrovert. This sort of relationship was draining for me both mentally and physically. (My bank account also tends to shiver at the ideas of hemorrhaging money on consistently expensive outings)
Don’t change to be with someone, or do things that you truly deplore just to please the person you are with. Yet again this sounds obvious, but I’ve never made claims to having made the best decisions in my personal life. Growing up, I learned from the experience of the family around me and the lasting impression has taken its toll on my actions in a way that it will take years to truly shake. If you are with someone and find it necessary to drastically chance the type of things you enjoy doing, find someone else. I mean this in a positive way, especially when considering making negative types of changes in your life. There is a time and place for most things in life, and if you find yourself at the age of 30 still chasing the dragon of your teens…you may not be fit for a decent relationship until you reevaluate your life.
Don’t make mistakes, don’t concede your own beliefs and actions, and don’t get desperate. There are billions of people in the world so just keep trying until you get it right. Speaking from experience, the misery of being in a loveless relationship far outweighs the loneliness of looking to be with someone. Luckily if you take the time to be more selective, you can actually find yourself in a meaningful, committed relationship that actually brings you happiness."
Jenny on Relationships:
"I’ve always believed since childhood that being ridiculously picky and holding someone to the same standards that you hold yourself is definitely the best policy. I had a checklist of characteristics and things that people needed to have and be. It’s never failed me in the few long-term relationships I've had since age 19, but I have in past relationships swept glaring flaws under the rug if I’ve believed that person is otherwise very well-rounded and intelligent. This last part isn’t always the best policy. Intense anger problems, control issues, and weakness of character should never be ignored. Mental issues are just as impactful as a person’s life skills, preferences, and achievements. Also, trust your gut. People lie for reasons unknown, but trust yourself to know if something makes you uncomfortable. Your feelings matter just as much as your partner’s. Calm communication is KEY & I don’t believe in yelling… ever.
Honesty, a lack of pride, and a lack of sexism + bigotry are of utmost importance. You should always feel comfortable being completely honest and vulnerable with your significant other. You want to be around someone who doesn’t judge you or others based on gender or race. No one who genuinely cares about you should expect you to fulfill a sexist gender role or racist role. If someone doesn’t love you for exactly who you are at the core, then they’ll never fully love you or be content with you no matter how long you date. You can date someone for literally 7 years and they'll always want you to be someone you're not.
Lastly, daily find things that you love about your loved one(s). No one is perfect (even if you have OCD and you always date people with OCD), but you have to appreciate both the big and little things. The big things could include complete monogamy and honesty and the small things could be meals made for ya and the kitchen being cleaned for no reason. Whatever the things, they’re especially important to remember in times of stress. Metaphorically, learn to love the weeds, the cracks, and being lost. They’re actually the best things.
As a sidenote, I realized that I used to be a very cold, unempathetic person. I never cried or let anyone else’s opinion influence mine. After dating for 9 years I have come to morph into a very vulnerable, empathetic, strong person. I’ve learned a lot about people all around the world and ever since I learned to hug in college I’ve become a nicer person all-around. I’m still introverted, but people have helped make me kinder and more understanding. It’s amazing what can happen when you start to see things from other peoples’ perspectives! I'm very thankful that the 2 relationships I've had have made me more loving."