Ever wonder how your relationship went from kisses, smiles and fun, to way too much work?
The good news is that you are not alone, and it’s pretty typical for the passion to wane as relationships grow in length.
We could look for the “why’s” in that all day long, but it really is not going to get us anywhere—and might even have us going ’round and ’round.
What we do know is that relationships ebb and flow. We’ve learned that the initial lust and passion that is felt at the beginning of the relationship is not sustainable and that love evolves throughout our lives. It shifts and changes depending on what else we’ve got going on.
Parenting, careers, taking care of parents—you name it—when these other responsibilities are a part of our lives, our primary relationship often gets put on the back burner.
And therein lies the rub. We’ve got to stop doing that!
Our primary relationship needs to be taken care of—nurtured, fed, and loved, just like we would our own child. We need to create over and over again the kind of relationship we want. Stop expecting the “other” person to do it, because guess what: they are probably expecting the same thing.
Get on the same page with each other and expect both of you to have equal responsibility in creating it.
Of course, both of you have to want it. If one of you wants it more than the other or if one person is not willing to do the work, well then, that is an entirely different issue. The following suggestions will absolutely help you refuel the love tank if both of you are interested in doing so.
We are not going to make it too complicated, and there a are ton ideas out there, but this will get you started.
Have fun, enjoy and feel the love.
1. Date nights are a must.
We all know this. Whether you think it’s needed or not, put it on the calendar, and enjoy the night out with the one you love. And, if you’re a bit more adventurous, plan a trip together, and leave the kids with grandparents or someone else you trust.
2. Know that change is inevitable.
Just because something was one way in the past, does not mean it will always stay that way. Find some excitement in change and the newness that it brings. It’s empowering when we are creating the change we want.
3. Communicate about changes.
Talk to each other about the relationship and new ways of being and doing things when you are both willing, not when only one of you wants to.
4. Stop trying to solve issues when one or both of you are angry.
We are often defensive and blaming when we are mad, and no one is listening to the other. You will not feel heard in the midst of “mad.” It is a big waste of energy. If you need things to be different, plan a night out, go to dinner and talk face to face to each other with compassion and love about your need to renegotiate issues in the relationship. You wouldn’t try to create change in the midst of “mad” at work right? Try your best not to do it at home, either.
5. Find out what you can about what the other person is interested in.
Be able to talk about it at least a little bit.
6. Make time for each other without distractions, even if it is just a 15-min check in on a daily basis.
Resist multi-tasking while communicating with each other—be present.
7. Remember, quality over quantity.
It is not essential that you spend tons of time together, but make the time you do, count. If you primarily watch TV during your “time together” that doesn’t count—that is not quality, it’s quantity. Be with each other doing, talking, sharing, planning, dreaming, loving.
8. Send love notes.
Love texts or love emails or face to face “I love you’s” work, too.
9. Let yourselves be playful, have fun, smile and love one another.
10. Remember to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and support the changes in each other that you both are making.
Since change is inevitable, expect growth and change from the other person and support that growth when it comes along. Keep trust sacred in your relationship. And, if it’s not there currently, make it a priority to build it back up.
11. Find out and really “know” what the other person needs from you in order to feel cared about and loved.
Most often it’s very different from one person to another. Sometimes affection is important, sometimes intimacy and sex, sometimes doing things like housework and taking care of the kids, sometimes is emotionally connecting via communication. Just because you might not need it to feel loved, doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t. When both of you take the time to really “know” each other and give freely (without expectations of any sort) to each other, real and meaningful connection and closeness happens. Isn’t this what we all want?
12. Do some household tasks together, such as grocery shop, cleaning and projects.
Commit to not complaining about doing them while you are doing them, also. Just allow yourself to be in the present moment with the one you love knowing that the mere fact that you are working on the same thing, at the same time, fosters closeness and a shared experience.
13. Surprise each other, at different times, with a meal that you cooked on your own.
Everyone loves to eat, and meals made with love always taste the best!
14. Look at your partner when he or she is talking to you.
And in the eyes, really look, as if you cared as much about what is being spoken as he or she does.
15. Make time for hugs, hand holding, kissing, affection, intimacy and sex.
Get physically close more often.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise