The More Practical Side of Love: Keeping Relationships Strong
We fall in love fast. It’s easy, it’s wonderful. We’re riding high and think ‘life can’t get any better than this.’ But keeping a relationship going requires much more than just love.
There are many factors that keep the spark alive which require both parties to be willing to work hard and invest time and effort.
Read on to for some of the best tips to keep your relationship strong.
While it may be true that the first thing to go after many years of being in a relationship is the physical intimacy, it’s important to maintain that aspect of your relationship, even if you have to schedule it in.
Stress, work, kids all put a strain on relationships. Do something new together, let loose and have fun. Take a night off, just the two of you, to rekindle the spark. Don’t talk about work or the kids; just enjoy each other.
You can also keep the connection through acts of kindness, sending warm, affectionate texts, placing ‘I love you’ notes in your partner’s bag, expressing gratitude.
Even a simple touch or hug can solder a relationship. In addition to making you feel good, physical affection lowers blood pressure, decreases stress levels and releases feel-good hormones.
Respect yourself and your partner
The main aspect of any successful relationship is not sexual attraction, shared goals or love; it’s respect. You may find yourself going through times when you’re not that attracted to each other, or your goals have changed.
Showing respect and belief in one another means you care for your partner and you care about relationship. Everything stems from respect; patience, trust and perseverance. Love matures if we devote the time to making the relationship work, which should be a daily thing and not something done only on special occasions.
Relationships constantly evolve. You can be in a bubble of unbridled passion one week, and the next week, you can’t stand the sound of their voice. But that, too, shall pass. Emotions fizzle, and that cute thing that your partner used to do now drives you up the wall.
Don’t try to change it because, let’s face it, you probably have a habit or two that drives your partner crazy as well. So, what to do? Accept it for what it is and move on. Focus on the positive traits and forgive the things you don’t like so much.
There are probably dozens of thoughtful things your partner does for you throughout the week, so let your partner know how much you appreciate them. If you send out loving, positive vibes, they’ll be reciprocated. And, in the same way, if you give off condescending and abusive vibes, that’s what you’ll get in return.
Set up rules
A game plan is crucial for smooth sailing. Set up rules according to what you like or dislike, as household chores, finances, parenting duties, and grocery shopping. You share a life together, and even though it may sound lame and utterly unromantic, it’s pragmatic.
It’s hard, but not every argument requires a speech and a haughty reaction. You can choose how you react during a fight. And it’s that reaction that will determine whether your relationship will end up stronger for it or will cause a rift that will take weeks to heal.
Pick your battles and try to look the other way whenever possible. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s not the end of the world. Being in a relationship means you’re committed to one another regardless of the circumstances.
Every morning you make a choice to love that person, respect them, enjoy their company, rely on them and be there for them to rely on as well. Sadly, many people panic once the initial stage of gazing longingly into each other’s eyes fades.
Give each other space
One reason why we feel so annoyed with our partners is lack of personal space. While we can’t control the factors that boost our stress levels, we can decide to give each other space to go out with friends, do something you enjoy doing on our own without your partner, and vice versa. This breaks the monotony of daily life, brings in new perspectives into your relationship, as well as new things to talk about.
Learn how to fight ‘right’
Your relationship is a living, breathing being. It grows with constant care and support, but it will face battles and beatings, which is good too. Fighting is a normal, healthy part of any relationship. It’s the way you fight that makes all the difference in the world. Here are a few things you should avoid during your fights:
• Name-calling and belittling your partner are 2 examples of what not to do during an argument. It brings contempt and gnaws away at the respect you have for one another.
• Attacking your partner’s character is another thing marriage counselors and psychologists advise against. Instead, blame the act itself, not the person.
• Grudging up past arguments only makes things worse and definitely puts a damper on reaching any real resolution to your actual problem.
• Be open to the idea that in a relationship, there’s no such thing as “winning” an argument.
A final note
That whole idea of ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t exist, nor should it. Real life, with all its unglamorous and messy affairs, is so much more meaningful and satisfying. It’s hard work, I kid you not, and yet through all of it, you’ll still feel that you’re the luckiest person in the world.