If you’ve got the basics covered – like being faithful, remembering to talk to each other and having great sex – you might be wondering what else you can do to make it through the years. Here are seven lesser known ways to keep the spark alive that have worked for me and my husband for over twenty years.
1. Have Secrets
Everyone will tell you that good communication is vital in keeping love alive, and it is. But it’s also essential to keep some things to yourself. If you suddenly develop a crush for the intern in Accounts, don’t do anything about it, and also don’t tell your other half that you were tempted. What’s more, your partner does not need to know how much you spent on those shoes or that gadget you craved, if you have your own bank account. You’ll both be happier, if you forget to mention it.
Most of the time, honesty is the best policy in relationships, but not always. The answer to the question “Do I look fat in this?” is not “yes” if you want your relationship to survive. And if he’s feeling like a loser, there’s no need to agree with his assessment, even if you secretly think he could have done things better. It’s time for an ego boost, not honesty.
3. Don’t Share
Talk about your day, your plans, your dreams, your ideas, your interests – yes – it’s important to talk, but don’t share every thought and every detail of your life. It’s no more fun listening to you going on about the minutiae of your boring day at work than it was experiencing it. And if you have a tendency to complain all the time about every minor thing, that kind of sharing can drag your partner down as soon as you open your mouth. Unless you have a really bad day (when it’s good to get support), share to communicate and uplift, not to offload your frustration.
4. Lead Separate Lives
Spending time together is important, but there’s such a thing as too much togetherness. The more time you spend together, the less you have to talk about, and the less interesting you are. Someone who relies on one relationship for everything, seems needy and less attractive than someone with a degree of independence. If you each have your own friends, interests and hobbies, as well as those you share, you can keep the spark of interest and attraction alive forever.
5. Be Selfish
Keeping love alive involves patience, tolerance and compromise, and all those good things. But don’t give up your own needs entirely, for the sake of your relationship. While it can feel good for a time to get your own way, no one respects or loves a doormat forever, and especially not a doormat who is unhappy.
6. Be Irresponsible
It’s all very well taking your responsibilities for the kids and the mortgage seriously most of the time, but now and again it’s important to shake off your cares, and pretend you are teenagers again. Do something a bit mad (though still legal!) together and laugh like you were sixteen and not forty-six with car payments and school fees. Create memories that will keep you going when you are really old and not able to get up to mischief.
7. Forget Valentine’s Day
Now, I have to admit, it’s probably safer for your relationship to actually give a gift or flowers, and book a table on Valentine’s Day, if that’s the expectation your other half has, but I hate the commercialism of it all, and we made a pact early on (about year two, I think!) to ignore the whole event and treat it like any other day, though we generally laugh and wish each other “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Romantic gestures are great now and again, but what really counts is the love you show day in day out. Show it. Mean It. Live it. You can’t make up for hundreds of days of ignoring someone with a wildly expensive gift on Valentine’s Day.
|Written on 6/1/2013 by Ana Wilde. You will find Ana at her blog http://lovefromana.com where she offers step by step practical advice to create your perfect relationship. You can also download her free guide “How To Be Irresistible – Attract And Keep Him Forever” here: http://lovefromana.com/freeforyou/|