How to Keep the Flame Burning in Your Relationship
It’s sad to say, but the divorce rate is still at 50% in America. Why so high? No one knows for sure. But we do know that it affects people all over the country, with our children paying the highest price. Marriage and relationships are hard. Everyone that’s ever been in one knows that much. There are good times, there are great times, and there are bad times, and even worse times. Life is like a roller-coaster, and marriage is no different. Read on for some tips on how to keep the fire burning in your relationship.
Find your best friend! Hopefully you are already married to them. It’s no secret that great relationships are based off of a good “friend” foundation. Personally, I married my best friend. We met in high school, and while there was definitely chemistry and attraction, we were friends first. We went throughout high school dating other people, but going to the same parties and had some mutual groups of friends. We really had a chance to get to know each other, and even sort of grew up together in a sense. We developed inside jokes, memories, and a foundation of real friendship. Throughout the years, the friendship expanded to lust, and after high school we began dating. We’ve been together ever since – 10 years later. Being friends first has strengthened our relationship ten-fold. We know each other inside and out, and we truly enjoy being together. Being friends first really helps as you get farther down the road into your marriage – we all know the flame doesn’t always continue to burn bright, 20 years later. But the friendship is something that never blows out. The friendship is the rock of your relationship. The stability. The comfort. So find your best friend, and if you have married your best friend, you’re already there!
Keep the “newness” alive. One of the most exciting aspects of a new relationship is learning about your partner, and feeling that spark and the butterflies that come along with it. So what do you do after you know everything there is to know about your spouse and everyday life and routines take their toll? Add some spice! Try new things together! Start a mutual hobby. Start a collection. Try new restaurants. Travel to new places! Be adventuresome! Advance your knowledge of each other by learning new things together. It also helps to keep photo albums or video tapes. Every so often, remind yourselves of your history together. Watch old videos/DVD’s of things you’ve done together. Look through old pictures. Rekindle your memories and keep them alive.
Don’t ever stop communicating! We hear it all the time. Communication is KEY in any relationship. Well, it really is the truth. Life throws us curveballs – all of us. And you won’t be happy 100% of the time. When one of you feels down, or angry, it is important to communicate in the proper way. Not expressing feelings and thoughts about difficult issues – money, work, kids, illnesses, other relationships, etc – can really put a damper on a marriage. Always be honest and never keep things inside. Relationships are all about support, even and especially in hard times.
LAUGH OFTEN! Laughing in general keeps you happy. Laughing with your spouse keeps your relationship healthy. This is one of my favorite parts of my relationship with my husband. Luckily I married the funniest person I know – so this part is pretty easy for me. Laugh – about anything and everything! It keeps us young, and it keeps us feeling alive. Laugh about movies, TV shows, books, songs, memories, word slip-ups, funny happenings throughout the day – ANYTHING! Some of my best moments with my husband are just lying in bed laughing – sometimes even about nothing (yes, he’s that funny.)
Don’t stop flirting!! Most couples get too comfortable with each other after they’ve been together for a long time. This can be good, but it can always be bad. Comfortable couples tend to forget to flirt. Give your husband or wife the “eye” from across the room at a party, event, or even just in the grocery store. Make sure you let the other one know you are still “in” to them. Don’t let life’s busy, hectic, routine way interfere with the simple foundation and attraction that brought you two together. Send your spouse sweet notes or texts every once in a while. Poke fun of one another – this will help with the laughing, too. Just be sure you do it tastefully! Don’t hurt feelings, and don’t do it too often. Done in the right way, a little playful banter back and forth is good for a relationship.
Keep the bedroom hot! We all know that life can get in the way of an active, busy sex-life. People get tired after they work all day, make dinner, care for the kids, etc. Again, don’t let life get in the way of the basic principles of your relationship! This is especially true for sex. Make sure you’re having it, and more than a few times a month. Not only is it crucial to your relationship, it has many health benefits as well. And don’t let it get boring or routine! Spice things up – depending on your comfort zone, add some fun – erotica, music, candles, etc. Again, try new things! Don’t become boring and predictable. And again, don’t get too comfortable. Wear lingerie from time to time. You don’t have to always be in a full set of makeup and done up hair, but remember to still try to look good for your man. (same goes for men!) Try not to “let yourself go” – meaning – you should still want to be attractive to your spouse years later. Don’t forget that. Oh, and an obvious one – stay away from temptations. Simply put, this is a big deal. Infidelity and addiction (in any area) can be serious wounds to a relationship.
Don’t forget to do the things you used to do to “court” each other. Flowers and candy go along way. Broke? No biggie. You don’t have to spend money to keep your spouse happy. Sometimes the little things mean so much more. The stigma exists that men don’t do anything around the house. Doing a spontaneous load of dishes or load of laundry – when it isn’t typically your chore – goes a long way. You know what makes each other happy. You know what makes your spouse light up. Don’t forget those things, and don’t stop doing them! Just because you’ve already “won the girl” (or guy!) doesn’t mean you’re done courting. Marriage is work – forever! Don’t get lazy.
Keep saying “I love you.” You should say it every day. And mean it. Too often we say it just as a habit, or because we have to. Don’t let that be you. Say it and mean it every time. Be affectionate as often as you can. Don’t ever let your spouse wonder if you still love them as much as you used to. Healthy marriages are always growing and evolving, and healthy couples continue to love each other more and more throughout the years. That doesn’t mean they don’t have problems. It just means their foundation is strong enough to get through the bad times as a stronger, healthier couple than before. Don’t forget why you got together in the first place. Don’t forget what you love about your partner, and tell them that every once in awhile. Give complements. Don’t forget memories. And learn from your mistakes and your troubles. Don’t stop loving each other! Be the 50% that makes it!