Keep your relationship alive with simple romance.
It really doesn’t matter how excited you are about your spouse initially. If you can’t remain on the same wavelength and sustain a connection over time, you'll struggle as a couple. After working with countless couples and families over the past 18 years, it has become clear to me that finding "the right person" and feeling "in love," is not enough to have a happy marriage.
To maintain that magical feeling of love and special-ness in our relationship, we must be willing to take 150 percent ownership of the quality of the connection in our marriage.
There are certain things we must be willing to do (and continue doing) if staying in love and in connection with our chosen partner is a true goal.
The exciting thing is — it doesn’t matter if your relationship is only 6-months old or if it's 20-years old, the following things will work to deepen your connection at any (and every) stage.
And you don’t have to wait for your partner to do them, too. It’s not about what the other person does or doesn’t do. This is about you deciding that you want to maintain connection, and take that 150 percent ownership for how you show up in your relationship.
So here we go:
1) Take action every day to show your love.
Talk is cheap. Action speaks louder than words. Show your spouse how you feel about them every day, at least once a day.
2) Remember to protect your partner's innocence.
Recognize that no matter how grown up your spouse seems, they are really a little kid inside. (Oh yes, and so are you) We are all really just kids that have bodies that have aged, and sometimes, we need our partner to keep that in mind.
3) Go to bed at the same time.
If you live together, go to bed at the same time together, every night. This is huge! Those calm, tender (or even passionate) moments are your intimate, private time together as a couple, just the two of you. Cuddle and talk, make love if the urge strikes, but sex is not the point of a shared bedtime ... connection is.
4) Don’t let resentment build up.
When your spouse says or does something you don’t agree with or that upsets you, tell them. Don’t just let it slide. This doesn’t mean making a mountain out of molehill, but be sure to give things that upset you the energy that they deserve.
5) Don't treat each other like the enemy.
When you are in a conflict with your spouse, stop your arguing for a moment. Breathe deeply. Start thinking about what you love about them, then remember that they are not your enemy. It's the two of you against the issue at hand, not against one another.
6) Touch well, touch often.
Touch your spouse as often as possible, and get them to touch you as often as well. Skin-to-skin contact increases Oxytocin, a hormone that enhances trust and a sense of safety, reduces stress, and increases sexual arousal.
7) Play together.
Be playful in your interactions with your partner. Have a sense of humor in times of stress. Make each other smile (and even better, laugh!) every single day.
Staying connected requires time and a deep commitment to your relationship.
If you are willing to do all seven of the things I've listed, your relationship will flourish. Even if you just do a few of them, your relationship will fare better than many.