Every time I go to weddings and see the happy looks on the bride and grooms faces, I think, “Boy, they’re in for a surprise.” Because that’s what relationships can do to you. They surprise you when you least expect it, good or bad. When you’re dating someone, chances are, they will be on their best behaviour because they want you to find them attractive. But what happens when the wedding guests have all gone and real life starts to sink in? When you realise that marriage is different than dating. I’m so blessed to have received the best relationship advice ever. A piece of advice that has helped keep us together through the good and bad times — be realistic and be kind.

Once the honeymoon period is over, some either stay together despite the initial shocks and some part ways. But don’t forget, there will be factors that will affect the relationship like finances, chores and expectations. Know that every relationship has its ups and downs and that it’s normal to disagree on things. What matters is how you work together as a team. Having realistic expectations doesn’t mean that you have to settle with a partner who isn’t great. It simply means that you have to be OK with a partner who is human, just like you—and who, like you, is imperfect. Our culture puts a lot of pressure on romantic relationships. Unfortunately, that’s not real life.

At the same time, remember to be kind — to yourself and to your partner. Don’t engage in a tit-for-tat mentality. It’s easy to want to quantify how much you do for your partner. However, if you are doing things for your partner, do it because it makes you feel good and not so you can get ahead in the scorebook. Kindness need not be quantified. Most of all, remember to be kind to yourself. Perfection is great but not to the point that you will burn yourself out.


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