How to keep that in-love glow in the face of daily living.
That first glow of in love sometimes gets lost in the job of daily living. When children are added, it may seem you then ride the train to nowhere. Your relationship with your spouse gets lost in the muck of breakfast, getting kids up and dressed, off to work and school, back again with homework, soccer, karate, sleepovers, play dates, dinner, laundry, pets, and on and on.
You love your partner and can't quite imagine life without him or her, yet when life takes over, you are seldom alone together. The romance is put on the back burner, and it's all too easy to fall into the pattern of criticizing, berating, and belittling, with each of you feeling wronged by the other. It may begin to feel like the two of you are oceans apart when it comes to intimacy.
Recapturing that "in-love" feeling requires time and attention. It takes prioritizing life and perhaps missing soccer practice to take care of the parents' relationship and assure that the soccer player has a secure and loving home.
Communication is the key to keeping a relationship alive and well. Learn to speak the language of love so that you and your partner are on the same page emotionally and sexually once again. Reawaken your "in love" connection.
1. Really listen and avoid misinterpretations. Be sure you hear what your partner wants you to hear. It's easy to say one thing while your partner hears something else. Reflective listening will prevent this. Reflect back what you hear your partner say or feel. A way to practice reflective listening is by saying, "What I hear is...". Your partner can then answer "Yes," or rephrase what he/she said so that you can hear it the way he/she intends. For example, you can say, "You look great in that black dress." Your partner hears, "You look bad in the red one."
The goal is to keep defensiveness down and to try to hear what your partner is saying. Reflective listening can have the effect of ensuring that you don't feel reactive and angry toward your partner. There is not a right and wrong. We talk and listen through our life filters. When we are not feeling unheard and ignored, our level of emotional intimacy deepens, and we are more inclined to feel sexual.
2. Agree to disagree. If one partner has to be right, and one partner has to be wrong, then you are setting yourselves up for failure. Each partner has his/her own reality. You can spend a day at Disneyland with the same weather, same lunch, same rides, same crowds, same lines, and at the end of the day, one could hate it, and one could love it. You are both right because you each have your own reality. So, if you argue to the death, and one needs to be right so the other is wrong, you will fail. It's not okay to give in and lose your temper by screaming and yelling at each other. Try remembering what it was like at the beginning of your relationship when you were hopelessly in love. Go back to when it was working for you. Look at old pictures together, play music that you played when you were first together, or go on a date to somewhere you used to go together.
3. Understand your relationship evolves. Evolution is not a bad thing. It can, however, erode the emotional intimacy and therefore your sexual feelings for each other. Evolution can enhance these, or it can destroy them. If you forget to take time for yourselves as a couple and stop doing little sweet things for each other or start to hold resentments, then the evolution will be negative. Take an inventory of how you both are feeling about the evolution and stop any negative direction in which it seems to be heading. You can try writing your partner a short note to share what you are thinking. Ask him/her to respond with a note.
4. Time. Yes, time is a very important love-builder. It has been estimated when two people have an affair, they spend an average of 15 hours a week together. So, how much time do the two of you spend, one-on-one, during a week? Between homework, little league, and teacher conferences, when do you have time? Again, carve it out. If two people having an affair can do it, you can manage 5 hours a week with your love. Some ideas include using an early morning to have coffee and read to each other in bed, taking a long bubble bath with music and candles, or sharing wine/tea for ½ hour each evening as parent time. Use your ingenuity and imagination. This is a great communication exercise. Discuss how to make time for love. Your children will thank you as time goes on. Taking care of the parents' relationship provides the children with a solid home.
5. Talking together. Sometimes talking can be in the form of writing. Finding a little love note in your pocket will brighten your day and deepen your emotional intimacy even though you are not physically in the same place. Keeping a notebook can also be a good place to communicate what you both want out of sex. When you get an inspiration or a wish, write it in the notebook. The notebook can be read together and be a way to add fun to your evening. The notebook can also be used to discuss issues you are having about your sex life. Comments in the journal such as, "I am happy with how often we have sex," and "I feel like I want more attention from you during the rest of the day," can be ways to open conversation about meeting each other's needs. It can be a learning experience for both of you and may ultimately bring you closer emotionally and physically.
6. Revitalize with resources. A plethora of resources comes to mind when I think of books about relationships. There are numerous self-help books to assist you building, healing, enhancing, changing, understanding, or mending your relationship. I have some favorites to recommend.
Finding your own personal love language is a great way to increase your emotional intimacy with your partner. When you understand how you feel loved and how he/she feels loved, you will not spend time and energy in the wrong direction.
With that in mind, I recommend The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.
Putting spice into your love life is an easy pick. Laura Corn offers two books that are a great help in this direction:
- 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples
- 101 Nights of Grrreat Romance: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples