With three children and 11 years of marriage together, Nick and Vanessa Lachey definitely have some solid experience in the relationship department. So, it was a perfect match for the couple to counsel other singles looking for love as co-hosts of the hit Netflix reality series Love Is Blind. While the duo gives advice to singles looking to get married within a very short time frame in an isolated pod experience, they also can translate their tips to those looking to find a match in the real world and build that relationship to be healthy and strong over the years.
“We are an open book,” Vanessa Lachey tells Brides. “If someone has a question, ‘What did you guys do here?’ I'm like, ‘Well, this is what we did, and this is the mistake we made.’” Nick Lachey adds, “We always try to take the approach of, ‘This is kind of what works for us.’ Everybody is different. You never want to assume that what works in our relationship is going to work in someone else’s.”
Ahead, Nick and Vanessa Lachey share their advice on how to approach dating when looking for the one, and how to put in the work to make your partner feel supported and grow your relationship.
An Open Approach to Dating
Vanessa says that when it comes to dating, you must go in with an open mind. "You can't script a perfect ending," she shares. "But, you definitely can grow, evolve, and learn. You can navigate in a way in which this was my end goal—meeting a great man who supports me as a woman, me as his wife, me as a mother, me as a friend."
"In life, the beauty of dating is getting to know not only the other person, but yourself and learning through things and mistakes you've made," she continues. "How many times have you woken up the next day after a couple glasses of wine, and you're like, ‘Oh my gosh, did I say that? Did I do that? I'm going to be better next time.'"
Of course, you do need to truly learn about the other person over the course of dating to find if you have chemistry and common values. “When thinking about the pods, I think I would just have conversation starters,” shares Vanessa. “That's when you really get to know somebody. Like, what would you do in this situation? Or, tell me about your childhood? Or, tell me about your first big breakup? How did you feel through all that and what have you learned? Just allow yourself to get to know them.”
Nick agrees, and acknowledges that these conversations can bring up dealbreakers if your futures are not in sync. “I think there's there's definitely life considerations that are important,” says Nick. “Kids—they're huge. Not everyone wants kids. If you're one that does, I think that's a fair dealbreaker at some point.”
Putting in the Work
Whether you're still dating or are married, Nick and Vanessa both share that continuing and growing that bond requires care. “Let's be honest, any relationship is work,” shares Nick. “Anyone who says it's not is just lying through their teeth. Relationships are work, and you're gonna go through challenging times. The one thing that I think that Vanessa and I share is a no-quit attitude. We are committed, we're willing to work, and we're willing to put in the time. I think that's as important as anything else in creating a long-lasting, healthy relationship.”
“Early on, we knew that we had incredible chemistry,” says Nick. “We wanted the same things in life. We wanted to be in a serious relationship. We wanted to start a family, and a similar trajectory.” Vanessa continues, “It worked out. But, we used to say, once we get out of our own way, we can be amazing together. When we were dating, we used to almost self-sabotage our relationship with conversations or with actions, and we ended up taking a break. I had moved from New York to LA and I was living with him. "It's hard to see the forest through the trees," reflects Vanessa. "So, I ended up moving into my own place. We both had time to reflect."
"In that time, he came back and said, ‘I think of all the things that I want, and you have all of them. But for some reason we can't communicate. We are both stubborn. We don't want to get out of each other's way. So let's fix that.’”
Nick suggested couples therapy for the pair and that effort to put in the work transformed the couple's relationship. “I feel like so many of my friends want that for their relationships, but the guys are always like, ‘Oh, I don't because that means something's wrong,’” shares Vanessa. “Even this past weekend, we were both bullheaded and in a fight, and neither one was giving. I had a session with our therapist, and I came to him and I said, ‘I've been reflecting, and I'm sorry I came at you. I didn't even see that I came at you hot with XYZ and I'm sorry.' He responds, ‘Thank you for saying that and my reaction to you was wrong.’"
"You just have to have that respect and mutual understanding," continues Vanessa. "For me, it was when Nick finally said I want to work at this. That doesn't mean everyone has to go to therapy. That's not what I'm suggesting. But, however you can work at making your relationship better, that’s what's going to be I think the lasting factor the missing factor. You can't just assume everything will fall into place.”
Make Your Partner Feel Appreciated
While it's important to work through the bigger issues in a relationship with your partner, the married couple note that bringing positivity and appreciation into your relationship is a key to success. “It's so easy to get lost in the day and not talk to each other or listen to each other. It's so easy when you have three kids, life is stressful, and all these things are going on,” says Nick. “We have a phrase that our therapist likes to say: turn towards each other. I think we have to constantly remind ourselves to do it. That's what we try to do and appreciate each other. You have to appreciate the sacrifice that each of you is making to the greater good.”
“It's also not just harping on what bothers you," says Vanessa. "If you constantly are getting nagged by your partner, at the end of the day, you're just going to be like, ‘Gosh, why am I a punching bag?' It's consciously making an effort to also relay the good. Like, oh my gosh, I couldn't even like open my eyes at 6:30 in the morning, and you had already gotten them out the door? Thank you for taking the kids to school today. You didn't make dinner today? Thank you for ordering food. It's nice to hear the good and not just the bad. You shift your thinking, you start to feel good, and you get excited about wanting to do things for your partner.”