The very next thing I learned about happiness in relationships is almost the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone who is already with their life partner, and that is this: Try, try, try, try try. Try to never start taking each other for granted.
Because once you start, it is very difficult to stop.
When I first moved in with David, we were both afraid of taking each other for granted. Actually, I was afraid of being taken for granted—like I had been with my ex-husband—and he was afraid of taking me for granted.
We are still afraid of this sometimes.
One night during the second year of our relationship, I dreamt that I was still married to my ex-husband. I was unhappy, but he wanted to stay together even though he had been gone for the entire summer and I had started seeing David while he was gone. He knew there was someone else, but he never asked me about it. I didn’t know whether I should leave him because he was not mean to me and I figured that if I stayed with David, things would become just the same with him after a few years or so and I wouldn’t be happy then, anyway.
When I woke up, I realized that part of me was surprised that after nearly two years with David, we were still so happy and content.
Why am I so surprised? I thought. Other people wouldn’t feel so surprised.
Then I realized: It’s my way of making sure I remember how fortunate I am. It’s my way of remembering not to take him for granted.
And that is what makes it work out so well.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.