I want to build IKEA furniture with you.
My parents have been happily married for 30 years this December, and honestly, watching them assemble furniture will tell you everything about how to do a long term relationship.
The first thing is that they deal with each other as individuals, with individual talents and failings. For instance- my dad is obsessive about reading the documentation and hesitant to use hardware, whereas mom has trouble converting text into spatial information and tends to work things out by handling them. So Mom goes and makes a cup of tea while dad takes 20 to read the instructions, lets dad summarize them for her, and then she’s the one handling the pieces, and he follows her lead about “You hold that” and “push here” etc.
Also, while there’s a definite division of labor based on ability, they make sure that they’re doing equal amounts of work total per day. Mom usually ends up doing most of the direction, and management is hard, so Dad makes dinner afterward.
Another thing is that they know to build their environment to suit them and avoid necessary irritations- never try to assemble furniture on a deadline or when it’s hotter than 85 out. If they start getting frustrated becuase one of the pieces is warped or whatever, they just… Announce they’re getting too frustrated for this and take a fucking break. Eat lunch, have a nap. Everyone gets angry or overwhelmed at some point but anger also kind of makes you dumb so if you need to do something intellectual, give yourself time to chill first, then discuss the problem when you’ve got the spoons for it.
So between knowing each other as individuals, setting a clear plan, working cooperatively and putting in equal investment, they’ve been happily married through two weird kids, three dogs, four remodels, three serious illnesses and 30 and still tell each other “I love you” a dozen times a day.
…I realize I’ve gotten away from the point of this ask but- I;m really fucking good at assembling furniture but I have high expectations of you too, nonny.