Being in a relationship with the same person for 10 years is no easy feat.
You will feel the highest of highs and at some point the lowest of lows. You will experience death together, the loss or growing apart of friendships, you will break each other's hearts and rebuild them piece by piece. At least, that is what I have had to do.
In our one and a half year of marriage, I have had to humbly accept the fact that yes, despite being together for so long as a couple, marriage is a whole different ball game.
Being married millennials and creatives living in Los Angeles on the pursuit of our dreams, we have not been able to follow the same "marriage rules" our parents, siblings or any other married couple we know has. What may be completely out of the question for our parents -- i.e. studio sessions with the opposite sex well past 12 am, meeting anywhere you can to get a script finalized or working with people one-on-one in their homes is definitely not ideal -- it's a large part of not only the LA creative culture, but also the industry. It often puts us in positions that are uncomfortable to say the least, but we are learning and growing through it together.
While we are both still getting the hang of what it means to be married and making, breaking and rewriting our own rules as we go, I have found a few things that help me stay sane and keep moving forward no matter what, the main thing being not sweating the small stuff.
1. Sh*t happens, let it go.
I used to be crazy. Not in the literal sense but I definitely fell under the category of crazy girlfriend. I broke TVs (well just one), yelled and cussed in his mother's house, threw things during arguments -- I was that girl. I had a lot of mental turmoil I hadn't dealt with from my past relationship and let all of that negative energy seep into the next relationship. Every little thing triggered me into a full-on meltdown. It didn't matter how small or big the issue was, I reacted the same. Everything that went wrong felt like the end of the world to me and I simply could not let it go until the situation was resolved to my liking while ignoring his feelings and how he might have wanted to handle the situation.
In taking a step back and really looking at not only how bad I was hurting him but also myself, I made the decision to start thinking, acting and reacting differently. You have to realize that everything that someone else does is not a reflection of how they feel about you and not allow everything that doesn't go how you want it to, to push you over the edge. When you face conflict with your spouse, ask yourself is this going to affect me tomorrow, next week or next year?
There are so many fights we now look back on and laugh, not even remembering why we were mad or what we were fighting about in the first place. If it's something small, you have to start letting go, sis or you will literally drive yourself crazy.
2. Keep your girlfriends out of your bedroom.
Your girlfriends should not know every intimate detail that goes on in your life. Every fight, misunderstanding, and makeup session does not need to be relayed to your girlfriends. I used to tell my friends everything; it was my way of getting things off my chest and just feeling better. Before I got married, I made the decision to stop doing that. It's not that I don't trust my friends but I also know that confiding in them is in no way going to fix whatever situation my husband and I are going through.
How many times have you confided in a girlfriend, then you and your man resolve your issues and your friends brings the issue back up to you and you find yourself back in that negative place emotionally?
It's not that they are purposely trying to bring up old news, they could just be checking on you, but now you are mad all over again. Or maybe when you first confided in them, they were more mad than you were, which made you think you should have reacted differently or more harshly to your spouse. Unfortunately, even when well-intended, sometimes girlfriends can heighten disagreements between you and your partner. As much as you may just need a good venting session, try instead to write out your thoughts -- get everything you need to say out, every curse word, every bad name -- then delete it. Try talking to your spouse once you are calm and let him know how his actions affected you and really listen and try to understand his feelings as well. If you absolutely feel like you have to tell a friend, tell one that is non-judgemental and understanding so you know you won't be hearing about your fight weeks later from her.
3. Trust your gut.
I have an amazing intuition and my husband does as well. We know when we are lying. We know when something is wrong, even when the other one is smiling and seemingly happy. And we know when to give the other person space. As creepy as it may sound, my husband is literally like my twin; we share many of the same bad habits and we just seem to know each other deeply. In trusting your gut, you have to know what you should make a big deal over and what to let go of. You should also know that no girlfriend's advice is going to be greater than your own intuition and feelings. It doesn't matter what your parents, society, or best friend feels you have to do, you know what you feel is right in your marriage and what you can or cannot live with.
Look at your own moral compass and decide what situations are things you two can move past and what are deal breakers, and talk about them as the topics come up.
You chose your spouse for a reason. You loved him and decided that in some way your life would be even better if you marry him. Marriage, especially as millennials, will always come with a learning curve but if you married the right man, despite anything that can and will come your way, the good will definitely outweigh the bad.
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports