Everything seems beautiful in the beginning and circumstances wear out even the most blissful relationships. Before the arguments, responsibilities, and kids, you were thinking of ways to spend more quality time. By the umpteenth year, you're contemplating ways to get away on your own. It's a process that all long-term relationships endure. But this process, ironically, can also strengthen your loving bond: the more you overcome together, the stronger you become together. Once you realize this fact, you and your partner can work towards reestablishing that lighthearted magic that was abundant in the beginning. Believe me that if it was there once, it can be revived. Take these tips to reignite the romantic spark and uphold your chemistry well after the first few years:
Anticipate change. People are constantly changing: who you are now is not who you were last year, last month, or even last week. But unlike a teenager passing through puberty, change isn't always obvious. It's easy to become oblivious to your partner's changes because you see this person so often. Understand how your loved one is transforming and adapt yourself to him or her. In the case of physical change, make it known to your partner that you notice the new look: always compliment a different hairstyle, weight loss, fresh wardrobe, etc. Remain well ahead of changes by preparing for the next phase of your relationship and strategizing how you'll pass through it side by side. You should also ask yourself this question regularly: is my relationship evolving, or only changing? A relationship should not only shift, but shift positively over time as both partners work to resolve outstanding issues. Evolve in the same direction as your significant other. If this is not happening, it's time to evaluate at what point the relationship became stagnant.
Keep out external influences. Nothing kills the magic of a good relationship quite like a jealous friend, a spiteful mother-in-law, or the drinking buddy who cajoles your partner to stay out all night. Such negative influences must be cut out like weeds. Come to a mutual agreement with your partner to adopt an us-against-the-world mentality: never to speak badly of one another to outsiders, not to allow yourselves to be swayed by other people, and always to consult each other first.
Maintain emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy the glue of any love relationship. It is knowing what your partner needs before they even get a chance to ask--feeling their emotions, needs, and desires as if they were your own. Emotional intimacy is much more powerful than physical intimacy because it delves deep into your loved one's wishes, fears, and hopes. Maintain this sense of intimacy with your partner by paying attention to how they're behaving day by day: what's bothering them? What can you do to relieve their worries? Comprehend what it is that your partner needs most from you at any given moment--is it to be nurtured or to be left alone? This sense of "knowing" your significant other will keep you perfectly in tune as a couple.
Go on new adventures. The daily grind becomes boring to say the least. Doing the same things every day can quickly kill the spark. Break out of routine as often as you can. Travel with your partner, even if it's a road trip or a weekend getaway. Try new restaurants and take up new hobbies. Even if it's something out of your comfort zone, find joy in the fact that you're engaging in a different activity with your other half.
Ask. There's a wrong way and a right way to communicate. The wrong way is bombarding your partner with all of your problems as soon as they walk through the door after a long day at work. The right way is waiting until they unwind, then gently bringing up one subject of genuine concern (one, not twenty). Ask about their day before you begin. Find out what's important to them, what are their plans, how can you help, etc. Listen intently when they open up to you before responding. It's important to get your partner to let their guard down before embarking on a subject you're keen to discuss. Your partner is more likely to be receptive if you're already engaged in a comfortable conversation.
Be sexy. Many men and women find that their sex drive dwindles after years of being with the same person. Adrenaline and dopamine levels drop with time and with them, the rush and excitement that accompany intercourse. While this is normal, it is not a good indication. Sex is an integral part of any good relationship; the moment that it dries up is the moment a key component of the relationship is lost. Beware not to lose your sexual appeal to your lover, or you run the risk of them searching for it elsewhere. Strive to maintain a desirable image for your loved one. This will boost your self-esteem, too. Take a bit of time to get ready when they're on their way, eat well, and exercise regularly. Such activities will not only help you look good for them, they'll make you feel good about yourself. Sex can certainly become better with time if the couple gets creative and invents new ways of pleasing each other. Get a little daring and try intercourse in different locations and positions or order an erotic movie together.
Most couples simply stand by and allow the spark of their relationship to fizzle out in time, partly because they believe there's nothing to be done. But with the right actions and added awareness, both partners can rekindle the romantic fire so that it burns more strongly than even in the beginning.
To keeping the magic,
Dr. Carmen Harra
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