Relationship maintenance is an important part of any marriage or sacred union. But as time progresses, your relationship dynamic will transform through different phases and incarnations. The fiery sparks of your romance will inevitably burn down to a (hopefully) reliable smolder. Although the stability and love of a committed relationship is wonderful, do not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of relationship maintenance. Here are five key ideas to ensure your continued growth and connection with your love in the most passionate ways possible.
1. Go Commando:
You would be surprised how often couples become shy when dealing with expressing sexual desire. At the start of a relationship, sexual energy tends to be heightened during the courting phase. The excitement and uncertainty alone is a huge aphrodisiac. But as you get to know each other and let your guard down, a sense of vulnerability is created. This may result in hesitation or shyness about expressing sexual energy.
Try going to sleep wearing nothing from the waist down (you can wear whatever you want from the waist up). This may seem like a corny tip, but I have had numerous clients test this out with great success.
The idea here is to create a playful energy, and eliminate any barriers to intimacy. By removing a physical layer between you both, cuddling will take on a sensual closeness. Try this for a week, and feel free to blame this experiment on me! I promise the act in itself will create laughter, and you might just get lucky.
2. Validate each other:
A common relationship issue is the feeling that we are not being heard, or are misunderstood by our partner. Unfortunately, our desire to solve the problems of our loved ones often leads them to feel like we're not listening. Men in particular struggle with this issue, even though it is coming from a place of good intentions.
Rather than trying to fix anything, a more effective response is to simply listen. For seven days, pick a time once a day to validate each other. During that time, each person should express three things that they felt or experienced that day. These do not need to be life-altering statements, just check in with your partner.
The goal here is to repeat back exactly what your partner says, so they know you are listening. If she says "My boss was so mean today! She embarrassed me in front of the whole office!" then you say "Wow honey, it sounds like she was really obnoxious. I'm so sorry you had to go through that." Refrain from offering comments or advice. Just look into their eyes and validate their experience. When we bare witness to our soul mate's experience, we are showing support, connectedness and reminding them that they matter.
3. Practice Shalom Bayit:
Shalom Bayit is a traditional Jewish idea that translates to "Peace in the home." It is the concept that we should always choose being happy over being right. During the evolution of any relationship, minor disagreements will present themselves, sometimes several times a day. Try to create a scale in your mind of what really matters. So your spouse doesn't load the dishwasher the way you like? Is it really worth an argument or a snippy comment?
Of course, there will be times when you need to speak up if you really disagree with your partner. Just make sure to choose your battles wisely. You don't want to be the couple that is constantly bickering.
4. Choose Your Own Adventure:
Routine can be a safe and comforting aspect to any love relationship. You may have your favorite restaurant, where the waiter knows you by name and you relish your regular dish together. However, routine can also lead to monotony. It's important to remember that new experiences create new sensations, and discoveries create passion between the two of you.
It doesn't have to be a far excursion. Try picking a new neighborhood and explore it together. Take in a museum, or go to that new park. Stop for a drink at a new bar, or take a dancing class together. What we're doing here is creating a story. Adventure creates new synaptic connections in the brain, and it will also create connections between you both. You can even plan a real adventure with a weekend trip! Choose a magical location that entices your senses. When we share a new experience with a loved one, we create memories that last a lifetime.
5. Disconnect from the outside world:
In today's climate we are inundated with being taken away from our home. From text messages to email, phone calls to news, the distractions are everywhere. Try to create a 24 hour window of no outside stimulation. Commit to this rule together.
For 24 hours unplug from the phone, internet, email, and texting. Instead, cook, watch movies, read, or take a walk together. What is it about them that makes you want to be better and stronger? As you replenish your souls, remind each other why you love your partner.