My husband and I have been married for eight years.
We have been a unified front of love for 12.
As a result of Valentine’s heading our way on Friday, I have put together five things to do to keep the love alive through long term commitment—five small things to insert into the everyday in order to deepen the connection to one another.
Try them all or choose just one—either way it will breathe some life back into the routine.
For my husband and I, there are times in which our love ebbs and flows from passionate to disdain to roommates to best friends to meeting each other right where we are and loving unconditionally no matter what (sometimes all in one day!). As we navigate these waters of commitment I am reminded that having a road map can be helpful.
Work to make a good marriage, is just that—work—and the payoff is longevity. Sometimes my husband and I float in the work realm without direction and that begins to take a toll—overwhelming with its responsibility. There are moments where we need to reign it in and have a little fun, let go of the seriousness, and remind ourselves of why we are together in the first place.
Here they are (in no particular order)—take a look and have at it—passion to follow.
No more pats on the back, one armed, side squeezes—I am talking about the real deal full on wrap your arms around each other and embrace for 20 seconds. I one thousand percent guarantee the oxytocin will release and the feelings will come alive and a strong bond will ignite instantly.
2. Have a chat.
Set the timer if you must but talk to each other (really talk) for at least 30 minutes straight everyday. Have kids? Put them to bed and then begin the conversation—skip over the “How was your day”? and move into more pointed questions.
Some of my personal favorites: Did anything weird happen today? (Not surprisingly, this question has led to many a funny conversation), What was your favorite thing about today? (This one always makes even the grumpiest of partners smile), If you could have done something differently today what would it have been? (This is one that creates a lot of introspection on all things mindful). Finally, if all else fails, it is also always fun to sit and name three things that about each other that you love the most.
3. Cut out complaints.
Complaints happen. They are a part of our everyday and unfortunately, are the easiest way for partners to nag and whine at each other. By cutting out complaints and calling a “Gripe Free Day” the tone is set for being mindful around what is coming out of our mouths.
For instance, one thing I have noticed when my husband and I call a “Gripe Free Day” is that my way of thinking about things shifts for the positive automatically. Instead of me coming home from work and stating something along the lines of: “Ugh. Why aren’t the dishes done”? I notice this need to complain, turn it around (because I am not allowed to complain) and change it to: “Looks like a busy day! I will help with the dishes.” Not only does changing the tune of the complaint create less stress—it actually makes me want to be more helpful.
4. Create surprises.
Surprises can come in big or small forms—breakfast in bed, a handwritten note in your partner’s lunch, flowers, a sweet voicemail, a sexy email, etc.—anything that can give a little jolt will certainly help create some inspiration in your partner and yourself.
5. Have sex.
Besides friendship, this is a second most important aspect for longevity. There are no bones about it—it must just be done. At first it might feel like a chore but once a rhythm and mindful view of adding it back in as a regular routine is achieved, the excitement of being together physically reignites and (oh my gosh!) fun is had.
By breathing life back into the union, the reminder that the original love that started the journey is always present becomes apparent—even as the years go by.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
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