Finding, sustaining, growing, and enjoying a satisfying relationship with your partner is one of greatest joys and challenges we have as human beings. We have generally been blessed with a tremendous desire to love and be loved; to listen and be listened to; to take care of and accept care from others. And yet meaningful, sustainable relationships often elude us.
Here are 7 tips for keeping the love alive:
1. Know who you are and what you want.
You’ll never get what you want if you don’t know what it is. As people look for love, they often take what comes their way rather than seeking what and who they want. Knowing the type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with comes from knowing who you are – your values, interests, what you can/will tolerate and what you won’t.
- Tip #1: Know who you are in order to know what you want.
2. Learn how to disagree and speak your mind.
Avoiding conflict is death for a relationship. It may seem like you’re on the right path by never, ever arguing or disagreeing but avoiding conflict requires repression of anger, which leads to the depression of feelings and the loss of connection. Passion is extinguished in this type of environment. Learn to fight fair and keep the slate clear.
- Tip #2: It is okay to argue and disagree. It’s how you resolve your conflicts that counts.
People often underestimate the critical role of passion and physical connection in a relationship. Consciously create romantic opportunities, ask for what you want, talk, and do the things that keep your collective fire going.
- Tip #3: Make the time to be physically connected in the ways that you and your partner enjoy.
4. Don’t allow other responsibilities to take precedence over your relationship.
We all have great responsibilities in our lives. No one goes through easily. There are regular stressors and responsibilities for all of us. Remember that in order to keep your relationship alive, you must not let your responsibilities to take precedence over the relationship. This includes the responsibility of raising children. Carve out time to make sure your relationship remains a priority.
- Tip #4: Make your relationship a priority.
5. Take responsibility for your actions and affirm each other.
Say, “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake or hurt your partner. Say, “Thank you” when your partner does something for you. Recognition and affirmation are two of the best gifts you can give each other. Spend them freely.
- Tip #5: Take responsibility for the things you do and acknowledge the things your partner does for you.
6. Communicate your needs and desires.
Don’t take on the persona of, “I shouldn’t have to ask – he should know.” This is one of the greatest mistakes people make in a relationship. Couples often complain, “But if I have to ask for it, the real meaning/pleasure/gesture is lost.” The problem is, however, that people can’t read our minds. They’re not always tuned in or on the same wave length. Maybe they just don’t know. This is why it is critical to ask for what you want!
- Tip #6: Ask for what you want.
7. Get help if you need it.
If your relationship is in trouble (no matter whose “fault” either one of you thinks it is), seek out ways to make it better. Find a relationship coach, a therapist, a marriage counselor or books. If you care, don’t give up – keep searching and talking and striving until things get better. The answer rarely lies in changing partners.
- Tip #7: Get help when you need it.