We are told that relationships need work to survive and thrive. That smacks of hard work and sweaty brows at the end of the day. I would rather say that a successful relationship requires some attention, and that is not that difficult.
So many of the complaints I’ve heard over the years of couples counseling are some form of “You don’t even know I’m there” or “You never listen to me.” Those are the complaints of someone who feels taken for granted. And that’s what often happens and what you want to avoid: you do your things and I do my things and at the end of the day we share the bed and occasionally have sex. That gets boring very quickly.
Remember all the quirky little things you noticed about your lover when you first fell in love? Don’t forget them! Remember those loving feelings you felt for him or her? Don’t forget that either.
Some tips to keep the love light burning:
1. Don’t forget to say “I love you” regularly. If it doesn’t feel like the words are true, why not? If anything gets in the way of a loving, happy relationship….
2. Clear the air. Don’t sweep problems under the rug. Have a candid conversation when both of you are able to give each other full attention.
3. If you notice that he/she doesn’t seem happy, do some research. Ask your partner what’s bothering her or him. You want your partner to be happy in your relationship, right? Even if what you hear isn’t to your liking, you risk it.
4. Listen as much as you talk, if not more.
5. Share your feelings and thoughts. Do you remember your first dates when you couldn’t stop talking about everything? Try to regain some of that desire to share all your thoughts and feelings.
6. Have fun! Make sure there is a place and time in your life to do something fun. Nothing increases the feeling of togetherness more than laughter.
7. If you want some alone time, or if your partner wants it, make sure you all know that’s okay.
8. Tune in occasionally to take each other’s emotional temperature. What mood is your partner in? Can you do something about it or do you want to share something?
None of these suggestions need work. In fact, if you make it a habit, even if you write them in your calendar (!), they will become automatic. Just remember that your partner is a person with wants and needs that may be different from yours. You don’t have to work on the relationship or make him or her happy, just pay attention.