Remember in the beginning. You were painting the town. Meeting for lunch. Bike riding at the beach. Maybe even a weekend away every now and then.
Life was easy and fun. You took care of your responsibilities which may have been few. Your partner took care of their responsibilities which may have been few. Maybe you met in college when Mom and Dad were still footing the bill to some degree. Your roles were just to enjoy one another’s company.
Those were the days! Being in love felt free and easy!
Now fast forward 5, 10 even 20 years. You now own a home, you have a couple of kids (maybe approaching college), you are planning for retirement, there are bills to be paid, your parents are aging and you aren’t feeling as energetic as you once were.
Well as I’ve pointed out before in my blog Benefits of the Long Term Relationship you’ve done what’s normal and natural. You’ve moved from falling in love to being in a relationship. Both can be wonderfully fulfilling and have incredible benefits.
However, keeping the love alive requires some energy. With all the responsibilities it’s hard to let loose and relive those times when everything was free and easy. Here are some ways to help you let go of life’s burdens and once again enjoy those loving feelings:
Leave the House: Being in the house can be a constant reminder of what needs to be done. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, paying bills etc. Go explore what’s going on outside. You don’t have to make it expensive or plan something elaborate. Just get out of the house!
Be Alone Together: Once you’ve decided to go out, don’t take your favorite couple with you. Make sure that during your date you talk face to face at an intimate level (about thoughts and feelings). Share what you haven’t had time to share with your partner or even had time to think about yourself.
Dream: Many women fight me on this one. We all love our kids. Dream of the days when it will be just the two of you traveling or having quiet coffee in the backyard. Of course we want the kids to visit but the time alone together will fill you up in ways it hasn’t in years.
Reminisce: So now that you’ve had so many years together, you have many many shared stories and memories. Each connects you and will bring, not only a smile to your faces, but will connect you both once again.
Focus on the Positive: With busy lives and demands, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thinking. I am incredibly guilty of this. My day gets overwhelming and I begin to dislike everyone. On vacation, however, I fall back in love. What does that tell you? Wake up each day and tell yourself to keep your focus on the positive. Believe it or not, it’ll help you feel more loving towards your partner.
Address Needs: Everyone has needs. It’s important that you express your needs and that you listen and fulfill your spouse’s needs. Unfulfilled needs leads to resentment. Depending on the need, try to spice it up by doing it fun and spontaneously. So maybe your wife needs you to help clean the house once in awhile. Hire a maid and take her out for the night.
Space: Couples who are together 24/7 can become dependant on each other for their happiness. It’s hard enough to make yourself happy all the time. Having someone else dependant on you for their happiness is just too much. Make sure you each get some happiness and satisfaction outside the relationship. Go out with friends. Join an exercise group. Anything that makes each of you independently happy will put less pressure on the relationship to make one another happy.
Attend to your partner’s love language. Everyone feels loved differently. There are plenty of books now which can help you identify your’s and your partner’s love language. If your partner feels loved by words of affection then give him/her those on a regular basis. Don’t make your partner an elaborate meal if affection is what feeds his heart. Food is not the way to every man’s heart.
You can keep the love alive! Don’t get caught on in the minutiae of everyday life such that you drift apart. Feeling love and being loved is what keeps us going. Choose to use the 8 tips above to keep your love alive!