Each week of the month, I took on a different element of Falling in Love starting with Yourself, Your Life, Your Work, and lastly, Your Partner. Ironically, as the universe works, as I was working on this last one, I was asked to be a source expert on a similar topic on Prevention.com for the article: “6 Ways To Have A Happy Relationship.” Check out the article where I provide six tips on keeping love and intimacy alive. Below I’ll outline four.
1) Get a daily dose of Vitamin F in your Daily Relationship Diet.
Have a sense of fun in whatever you do; whether magical or mundane. It’s so easy to get into the TRS (Terminal Roommate Syndrome) where all your time is spent about the logistics of the relationships versus reaping the benefits of being in one. Find ways to be playful even in your challenges. One of my male clients decided that instead of criticizing his wife when she continually left the sponge in the sink, he would make a mockingly playful siren-type sound, twirling his finger in the air shouting “Sponge alert!” “Sponge alert!” His wife’s response is to hysterically laugh and fire back, “Please officer be kind to me, it’s only my 97th offense!” and then they both laugh. Humor shifts perspective and allows us to move from criticism to creativity, a much-needed ingredient in relationships. By the way, you can extend that same sense of fun and playfulness to dating.
I remember years ago being on a date with a guy that was bragging endlessly about his achievements, to which I let out a huge laugh. He looked horrified. “I’m a real blowhard aren’t I, just going on about myself,” he said. To which I smiled, put my hand over his tenderly and said, “No, it just sounds like you’re at an interview and you’re trying to get the job of my boyfriend and we haven’t even looked at each other’s resumes yet.” To which he smiled, took a deep breath, and said, “Thank you. I need to not take dating so seriously.” We ended up having a great date and then going out for a few months. Humor plays a huge role in courtship as well as relationship.
2) Set a date night.
“My sister has five children, a part-time practice, and has been with her husband over 25 years. When I asked her what the secret was my sister said, “Date night, two times a week!” What anchored her 25+ year relationship through life’s busyness and obligations was a mid-week jaunt to their shared love; art museums, and a weekend date night of a movie and dinner. Married or co-habitating couples who go on regular dates come back to their lives and their relationships with fresh eyes. They are reminded of how they felt in their early “hormone drenched” days of courtship.
3). Learn and speak your partner’s love language.
Most marriages end not because people fall out of love, but because people have lost the ability to speak their partners love language, leaving their partner without the experience of feeling loved. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch, according to Dr. Mark Chapman, a marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages. If you need a clue what your love language is most important to your partner, just ask them to share a few stories of when they felt most appreciated and loved—and make sure to recount your own.
4). Show some appreciation.
It sounds so simple but most of us don’t actually verbalize our appreciation for our partner. Try taking five minutes once a day to look your partner in the eye and let them know something specific that you appreciate (whether it’s fixing the drain or the fact that he kisses you good night). It is far better than any slinky lingerie, or testosterone-enhancing cologne. But why not try both?!
I hope you took the time in February to fall in love with all aspects of your life. Feel free to comment, share your own insights, and of course pass along to others who would benefit from this posting and the article.