So much of our discussions about love and romance focus on the initial infatuation stage of a relationship. Though I am generalizing I feel that we as a culture are raised to anticipate the Cinderella romance, or be swept away by Prince Charming. I am fully aware that as a contemporary romance/erotica writer I perpetuate this notion, however, my characters are gritty with realistic character flaws. You will not find a single prince charming in any of my books. This is also why I thought it important to say a few words on the subject.
It’s not always roses, chocolate and incredible sex all the time…
So what happens after the initial infatuation stage begins to dwindle? The couple that once could not stand to spend a single moment apart, now finds the romance factor has begun to fade. Perhaps small amounts of resentment forms with inequity of shared chores or one finds the others habits a tad grating. The reality of true love is being there for one another through even the toughest of times. Love is not for the faint of heart, it requires an open mind, compromise, listening and understanding.
Couples therapists will often recommend the following to keep a healthy strong love alive for a life time.
LISTEN! Actively listen to your lover, ask questions, give answers. DO NOT just say “Oh yeah” or “Mum hum”!
APPRECIATE your partner and make sure they know just how much.
STAY ATTRACTIVE! No this does not mean you have to be an underwear model, but stop hanging out in your flannel pyjamas stained with ketchup and dress like you want your partners eyes to widen with appreciation when they see you. When you look good, you feel good and feeling good means feeling sexy 😉
INCLUDE your partner, but also make sure that you each have your own space/privacy.
BE HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY! Ok, I don’t think this means you should stop hiding your shoe purchases, I mean really. But it is crucial to a relationship that you do these…seriously.
GIVE RESPECT! Such an over used word. But when you truly respect your loved one it will change how you interact on every level.
TELL YOUR MATE WHAT YOU NEED! Inside and outside of the bedroom this is a crucial aspect to being happy in your relationship. How can our partners satisfy our needs if we do not tell them about it? I don’t know about you but I have yet to meet a real mind reader.
ACCEPTANCE! Every single person in this world has a few short comings. So accept your partner for who they are. Fixing a person within a relationship should never be on the agenda.
GROW INTELLECTUALLY! If you do not keep your minds active, what on earth are you going to talk about? I just saw a commercial on t.v that showed a couple (post kids bed time routine). Who were munching on Fruit Loops and Playing Mario Bros video game. Funny. But seriously, that can only last for so long before it gets old.
CULTIVATE VARIETY! Have a life full of change and step out of your routine/comfort zone-often.
SAY NO TO CHEATING! Recognizing that we live in a world with many types of relationships, in general if your partner has not given you the go ahead to search out new sexual or emotional experiences-DONT!
Lastly DO NOT ASSUME your relationship will LAST FOREVER. Relationships are a commitment to doing all of the above. Many relationships have ended because despite being in love they did not build a respectful, caring and considerate relationship.
I have to admit that upon reflection of these guidelines even I who consider myself a very happily married lady have fallen to not always abiding buy these rules. I do half listen to my husband ramble on about baseball or work from time to time or forget to communicate my needs. However, in my humble opinion, perfection is rarely attained, all any of us can do is reflect and strive to improve. Besides, I can always charm my husband with a back massage or homemade peanut butter cookies 🙂
I want to hear from you, what do you do to keep the love alive in your relationship?
For some cool facts above love and incidentally where I found some of the information above. (#43)