It’s not easy to maintain a healthy relationship. In fact, one of the questions I hear from clients most often is, “How do I keep the romance alive as the years go on?”
Here are 6 steps to help you tackle this tough topic.
1. Realize they are human and imperfect:
So many people worry about why they DON’T like someone. They are either too short, too old, too young, have the wrong career, etc.
Instead of doing this, I challenge you to look at them and see what you DO like and admire about them. Figure out if they have your must have qualities—the things you actually need in order to keep this relationship going long-term.
For example, my must have qualities in a partner are, brilliance, a sense of playfulness, and loyalty. I am sure that many women who met my husband before I did might have thought negative things about him, but I overlooked anything negative because I saw all of the shining elements he had that would make me happy for the rest of my life!
2. Look at the good, forgive the bad:
We have a tendency, especially as women, to have the memory of an elephant for all the things that our partner ever did wrong. We hold on to these memories for years, and bring them back up when they least expect it.
According to Dr. Helen Fisher (the genius behind the chemistry.com and match.com matching systems) there is a specific chemical in the brain that appears in scans of those who are in happy long-term relationships. This chemical allows them the ability to forget the bad and focus on the good. If you are lucky enough to have this chemical naturally, good for you! If not, you have to create this pattern for yourself.
Using myself as an example again, when my husband does something that makes me really angry, I’ve learned that it is best to walk away. I leave the situation and take a walk or a shower, and spend time thinking about all of the amazing qualities that my husband has, and why I love him so much. At the end of these thoughts, I feel so lucky to be with him that I forget why I was mad to begin with! This is a learned way of thinking—a behavior that I’ve reprogrammed my brain to do. I encourage you to give it a try.
A key aspect to a healthy relationship is touch. Holding hands, hugging, cuddling before falling asleep, and just overall being connected to each other physically, is so important in maintaining a bond and intimacy throughout the life of a relationship.
Don’t discount the importance of touching each day!
4. Kind words:
Words and phrases of affirmation like, “I love the way you handled that situation,” OR “Thank you so much for cleaning the dishes,” not only makes someone feel good, but they also make them aware that you are proud of them and pleased to be their partner.
These kind words will make your partner feel loved, and therefore more confident to love you back.
5. Quality time:
Remember that quantity does not mean quality. Quality means making a date with your partner, whatever kind of date makes the most sense for your lifestyle.
Whether it is every night at 9pm when the kids go to bed, every Saturday night, twice a week— it does not matter! As long as it is specific time that you have set aside, it will do the trick.
Make sure there are no distractions during your time together. Put the phones, books, and computers away, and the kids to bed. Focus on each other. This kind of boding will solidify what you have together and continue to make your relationship stronger.
6. Regular sex:
Sex is a huge part of healthy relationships. One of the things that we spoke about at the Matchmakers Conference is that it is easy when both people in the relationship are on the same page about how often they want to have sex. The issue comes in when people differ in their sex drives. When one person’s is high and the other’s is low, the reality is that each person will have to make a compromise to accommodate the other.
Sex is a key to longevity and happiness in a relationship. It creates a connection that only the two of you (hopefully) share in. The more sex the low sex drive person has, the easier it becomes, and the more they will start to crave it. The important realization is that it is not only about the sex. It’s about spending time together that will benefit the continual boding within the relationship.
If you follow these top tips I guarantee you will create a long lasting relationship that will be full of happiness with the person you’ve chosen to be with. Best of luck!