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.
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