Maybe it’s the summer heat. Maybe it’s the financial crisis. I don’t know, but the relationship questions have been flooding in lately. Everyone wants to get it on, keep it on, take it off, put it back on or trade it in. I’ve already written about how to find the perfect girl or boyfriend, how to get them to commit and how to stop attracting the psychos. It was only a matter of time before I tackled the subject of how to keep things all lovey-dovey once you’ve actually managed to hogtie that special someone. Figuratively, of course. Probably.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume that your relationship isn’t in major trouble. Perhaps things are great and you want to know how to keep them that way. Or, things have petered out a bit and you need to know how to rekindle the flame. If you’re spitefully setting fire to each other’s underwear, this blog post isn’t going to help you.
Also, I should warn you: I’m assigning homework this time. This isn’t just theory anymore boys and girls. If you want the fire back in the bedroom, you’re going to have to work for it. I can see no better opportunity to get you to actually follow through and prove to yourself that this stuff works. I figure, if the promise of carnal bliss doesn’t do it, nothing will. Now that we’ve set the ground rules, let’s get to it. Ready?
Focus on the good stuff
Do you remember how when you first got together you thought your partner was the greatest thing that ever walked the earth? There was a reason for that. You were each focused intensely on what you liked about each other. You literally looked for stuff to rave about to your friends. And if anything not-so-great came up, you pushed it away and refused to look at it. So what if he wore tighty-whiteys? You found them adorable! So what if she uses text speak? She’s sassy! They could do nothing wrong. Sure, at the time, you probably didn’t consciously choose to have this mindset. Your brain was flooded with massive amounts of love chemicals, which helped you to focus in such a positive way. But, my point is, you have the ability to MAKE that decision consciously.
Exercise: Sit down and make a list of all the things you like, love or adore about your honey. Hopefully, you’ll be able to think of at least a few things. Spend a few minutes every day pondering this list and adding to it. These can be qualities they have, or something they did that day that made you smile. Spend at least 10 minutes each day going through the list and remembering why you placed each item there. Do this for at least a week, and watch that sexy babe you originally fell for come back into your life.
What’s that you say? How will they change if they’re not also doing the exercises? The key here is for you to change your own vibration and manifest a different version of them. Now, while it’s absolutely not necessary for them to do these homework assignments with you for this to work, there’s no denying that if you can share this experience, it will multiply the results exponentially.
Stop looking for crap to criticize
When you begin to focus on your partner’s positive aspects, your vibration regarding said partner rises. That means, you begin to feel better and better about them. And there’s nothing that will put the brakes on that process and slam it into reverse faster than looking for crap to bitch about or criticizing each other. And that includes face to face and behind the back criticism, by the way. Stop running to your mom and complaining that he doesn’t put the cap on the freakin’ toothpaste. Who really cares? Try to get a little perspective. I’m not asking you to ignore all the things they do that irritate you, I’m advising you to see the big picture. Does it really matter that she doesn’t know how to program the VCR? Make those little petty things unimportant and keep focusing on what you do like about them.
Exercise: Pay attention to how you talk to and about your partner. Every time you catch yourself criticizing them, punch yourself in the face. I’m kidding – I just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. When you do catch yourself bitching about them, stop, get some perspective (big picture, is this really important?), and refocus on something positive.
Give each other the benefit of the doubt
When disagreements come up that aren’t just about toothpaste or dirty underwear, when the subject matters, even from a big picture point of view, take a moment and breathe before reacting from your gut. Keep this in mind: You love this person (or at least like them a lot). There’s a reason you love them. Do you really think that they’re choosing to take their point of view to annoy you? I ask this only because a great many arguments start and/or escalate because one or both parties seem to assume that the other person is either a.) an idiot, b.) being a dick on purpose or c.) both.
Whatever your partner’s opinion, they have a good reason for thinking the way that they do, just as you do. Before you go into defensive mode (“they’re trying to take something from me, I have to defend myself”), why not give them the benefit of the doubt and just talk to each other. Calmly ask them why they’re reacting the way they are, why they feel the way they do, etc. There’s a story there. Be honest. How many of your fights from the past (in this relationship or another) turned out to be mostly huge misunderstandings that just got out of hand?
Exercise: Choose a fight from your past that turned out to be a misunderstanding and visualize what it would’ve been like if you’d kept your cool and used the technique above. How does it feel to give your partner the benefit of the doubt? How does it feel to stay calm and really listen to the other person? How does it feel to not immediately take everything they do and say so freakin’ personally?
Say hello and good bye with a proper kiss
I know life gets busy, especially if you have kids. You barely see each other and you’re like two ships passing in the night. One or both of you can barely stuff breakfast in your mouths before rushing out the door. And when you get home at night, you’re exhausted and there’s still so much to do.
Well, I don’t care. Yeah, you heard me. What I’m asking you to do takes seconds, but makes such a huge difference. Just before you part ways and when you see each other again, take a teensy bit of time and give each other a proper kiss. The way people in love kiss. Not a peck on the cheek. Not a peck on the lips. A proper smooch – the kind that makes your kids yell “Ew! Gross!” Make it last at least 5 seconds. When was the last time you kissed liked that outside of the bedroom? This is the person you love! Perhaps the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Don’t be afraid to plant one on them the way you did when you first got together.
Exercise: Go find your partner and make out like teenagers. Best. Homework. Ever.
Make time for great sex
If I was targeting only those of you who’ve been married for several years, I might have titled this step: “Make time for sex. Period.” But alas, even the young ‘uns are complaining about relationship fizzle these days… Again, I know you’re busy, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the occasional quickie, but if your sex life has gotten routine, boring (or God forbid non-existent), you’re not putting any effort into it. Unless you’re new parents; then you get a pass. But since new parents aren’t going to have the time or the stamina to be reading blogs on the internet, I think I’m safely within my demographic here. And no, I’m not just talking to the ladies here. Just being ready isn’t enough to make it great. Yep, I’m really cracking the whip today. Perhaps you should, too, if that’s our thing. 😉
Seriously, pick a night and call it date night. Make each other feel special. You don’t have to go and rent costumes or swing from the chandelier (although… why not?), but what about sharing an uninterrupted dinner, or perhaps a bath with sparkling wine? Put on some Barry White and really spend some time connecting with each other again. If you’re bored or if you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’, it’s because you haven’t given each other the attention you both deserve.
Exercise: Do what you’ve gotta do. It’s all good, baby.
Make your relationship a priority
Essentially, what all of these steps come down to is making your relationship a priority. When you first got together, you could barely stand to be apart. You couldn’t think of anything else but how great they were. But over time, life got in the way. You stopped focusing on each other. You stopped taking the time to tell each other your secrets, your thoughts, your feelings. You stopped spending actual time with each other.
There are some couples with children that actually take two vacations a year – one with the kids and one without. While that may sound crazy to you, think about this: What kind of parent do you think you’d be after spending a romantic week connecting with your honey? If a week isn’t doable, how about a weekend? A night in a hotel? And if you don’t have children, how about spending that next vacation at the beach instead of fixing up the house? Go do plan something special now.
It’s the little things that make a relationship work. Smile when they walk in the room. Let them know you’re happy to see them. Touch when you’re in public. Hold hands and hug. Be kind to each other. Don’t let work and kids and in-laws and TV get in the way. Make your relationship a priority and watch the sparks come back.
Disclaimer: I will not be responsible for any fires caused by genitals exploding in the heat of passion.
Please don’t forget to help a blogger out by sharing this on FaceTwitSumblebook or whatever.
THANKYOU MELODY! 🙂
This is certainly an amazing answer. All your answers are amazing- but I say this here because I was not expecting any part of it.
I have never been told this before. Never. It blew me away.
Like in your other answer on the topic of love-“The thing you need to figure out is why this experience is in YOUR reality.”
What you are saying about me sounds a lot like him! (Der, like attracts like- can’t believe I missed this)You said he has two conflicting vibrations as he shows desire for love but then fear as he draws me in then pushes away. I must have two conflicting vibrations MYSELF.
I would never have thought I had a massive protective wall up. I see myself as so open and affectionate. I also thought I knew unconditional love as I love him when he doesn’t love back. I thought unrequited love is somewhat unconditional. I’ve been really patience even when he’s been cruel.
But I feel you are right as the words challenged me and felt you hit the nail on the head.
I’ve been looking at why he does things. Trying to understand his behaviour. Put some psychological label on his Jekyl and Hyde behaviour. But you’ve pointed out that I don’t understand myself. It takes two to tango. So I attracted a Jeykl and Hyde man. I must have my own conflict hidden somewhere. I adore this man. It says alot about me.
This answer also gives me so much power in my life. If I figured this out it might affect other areas of my life. Why I attracted this.
This is huge. There’s huge questions you’ve asked me. I have no clue why I’d do this. But it does give me back the power.
It’s simple but massive. He doesn’t need to change. I could change and that would change the situation. That would be amazing.
Thankyou very much. I hope to find those answers.
You’re very welcome Alice. I’m glad it was helpful. 🙂
Hmmm. Another thing I think about alot. I have a strange scenario- relationship limbo.
Well for the majority of my adult life ALL the sectors of my life had a negative attraction…. However, for some reason the one thing I can do- is attract a “winner” of a man. I would attract a great (but temporary) romance.
I always had a high standard for dating. I wouldn’t be attracted to just any guy. I have high expectations of them to be a gentleman. I like to be courted etc not just text msg stuff. Therefore, that is what I receive.
I’ve never been abused or cheated on. I’d get a great relationship but it would quickly dissolve.
I have had unrequited love. It seems to be a theme. A great relationship that ends rather suddenly or two cases where the love was not returned. I’ve also had two people come after me that I didn’t want.
Recently I’ve had a returned, loving relationship for almost 3yrs long. He could put all other men in the dust in my opinion. I believe this is my soulmate. He was the one that ended the relationship for no proper reason. I asked them and all the reasons were strange. Unlike past relations, there were no signs. We didn’t have any fights. The issues weren’t directly about me. They were about external problems. They still saw me as their best friend. They were still attracted to me!
Well after claiming that they don’t love me anymore they still hang around, enjoy my company and I still love them. Just a bit less because of the hurtful rejection and random explosions of anger where they get frustrated with the situation and threaten to leave.
Now it’s been almost two years in this weird situation. I’m not single or taken. He has promised to remain faithful and vice versa. We don’t date anyone else. I couldn’t just move on as I could in the past as we are still in some sort of commitment.
Normally if someone left me, I’d agree it was best or be happy to move on. I think it’s degrading to chase someone that doesn’t want you. I’d leave them be. I’d sink into my head after only about three months.
But this I can’t and refuse to let go. I see there is a reason for them hanging around. (Not sex- just thought I’d get in first- they are attractive enough to get any woman for sex.)
In the situation where the person is still sort-of with you but lost the romantic love for you but there’s still something there… How do you get it back to a two way street where my love is returned?
I think that at first he wished he could love me back. He is certainly not someone completely separate to me. (Otherwise, it’d be unethical of me to try to change anything) However, we don’t act like a couple anymore. They often refer to themselves as single but have no interest in dating anyone else. They don’t chase others. They also give me random romantic gestures. Something is frustrating them and it’s being projected on me. Our relationship is suffering from something else.
Also if this reconciliation happened I’d have to be sure they wouldn’t just break my heart again. I’d need to be won over into complete trust again.
How do I change this weird situation and end unrequited love? Have you seen this happen before?
People break up (partially) but there’s still enough love there – but not enough love to be a proper relationship. There was never a clean break. They didn’t seem to have the true desire to move away. It seems like they know something is wrong as ended the relationship was so half-hearted.
Does this exercise apply to this situation? What makes these relationship limbos?
*If you decide to talk about this subject somewhere else please remove my name- it’s fine in this bottom end of a comment section, but anywhere else may be too obvious.)
I’m sorry. I feel embarassed this comment got so long. After a reply I might ask this to be taken down. I don’t want this sitting here forever.-sorry.
Are you the love and spiritual God too? How come you know so much about all these great advise? Plus you are very young still.
You mentioned six strategies here to spice up that relationship again. I will start with number 1. So I am naughty only doing 1 out of 6 assignments. I will start a list of things that first impressed me about my wife. I am also going to go one step further – I am going to send that list in an email to here and tell here about all the great things I like about her. I think that will help her know that I am doing something proactively to improve our relationship.
I guess for us it is just a matter of having young kids and no proper home of our own at the moment. How to make time for great sex. But anyway, I will go with the little things first and I will submit my assignment to you if you ask for it in a reply to this comment.
Yes. I am the God of love and spirituality. LOL. But so are you. We all have access to this clarity (it’s just a frequency) and age has nothing to do with it, really. That having been said, I can assure you that I’ve packed a few lifetimes of experience into this one already and will continue to live at that pace. So, I may be “older” in experience years than you might think… 🙂
It would be great if you’d share your experiences with us here! How awesome! And number 1 is a pretty important one, so it’s a really good one to start with. Keep me updated. I’d love to hear how it goes!
how are you?
This is the third blog I’m reading today on relationships (It appears love is in the air) and for the record i think your article was very frank and honest.
tighy whiteys!! that set me off(laugh), however you do make a valid point that one tends to overlook or tolerate minor flaws in a relationship because they actually mean the world to each other.
Focusing on a lot of the negative habits/behaviours simply enforces constant criticism and disaffection.
Giving one the benefit of doubt promotes trust and i believe this strengthens the relationship.
Finally your tip on making ones relationship a priority is spot on because true relationships blossom as a result of the time, care, attention, love…. put into developing it.
Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of the day.
I know right? It’s not just me, the whole blogosphere is filled with yummy love energy. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective.
Making out like teenagers IS good homework, thanks!! 😉 I haven’t been with my current beau long enough for things to start fizzling, but I think if I follow this advice NOW instead of waiting until they do, I’ll be in pretty good shape!
Prevention is better than trying to clean up the mess afterwards. Keep that fire burnin’! 😉
I liked this article. My relationship with my husband is excellent. However, it took about 7 years of both of us concentrating on nothing else. We have learned so much about each other and the simplest things are so much fun now.
Congratulations on consciously building your relationship so successfully. I can only imagine how great it must be after 7 years. Wow.
Relationships like blogging takes up a lot of our time and the more that we put in the more that we get back.
I totally agree with focusing on the positive aspects of our partner. It’s easy for us to nitpick on little things that we don’t like about our partner.
You’re so right. It’s an input-output thing. If we don’t put anything into the relationship, we can’t expect to get much back. 🙂
Thanks for adding this insight.
These are great ideas, Melody!
I like to leave little love notes around the house that my wife will discover throughout the day. We also give each other long massages that sometimes turn into, well, better “massages.” Regular date nights are a must too. Life can get so hectic and crazy and it is so easy to forget that while you are a team, your teammate is also an individual who needs to be seen that way.
Thanks for the awesome (and very funny) post, Melody!
That’s so sweet! Thank you for sharing your personal experiences here. Massages are definitely a wonderful and intimate way to connect. It sounds like you and your wife are keeping the flame alive – consciously. 🙂
I am having a hard time finishing this article because I have two black eyes from punching myself in the face. 🙂 This was some seriously good stuff and I love the humor it makes it easier to read and I can’t stop smiling laughing at the same time. I feel like my face is going to explode. I have been married for 5 years and with my wife for 10 and to make sure we can make it 50 I try to invest time doing preventative maintinance. I want to work on my relationship before things fizzle out and I have to rebuild it. Thanks for these great tips. This one makes the bookmarks!!!
You may stop punching yourself now. I think you’ve learned your lesson. 😉
Thank you so much for your wonderful words and validation. With your dedication, enthusiasm and perhaps a broken chandelier or two, I’m sure you’ll make those 50 years and more.
Oh wait…forgot to add. Hygiene and physical maintenance are a MUST to keep any relationship going. I notice a lot of ppl tend to give-up looking good and maintaining their physical appearance once the relationship matures. If YOU can’t see yourself as a smokin’ hot chick / hunk…chances are your significant other doesn’t see it either.
I’m not saying only the best-looking people have a great time in bed, I’m saying the people who carry themselves as the best-looking people have a great time in bed. Self-esteem is a must. The day you stop looking after yourself and think it’s okay to look like you fended-off 370 barbarians before jumping into bed is the day you’re just not sexy anymore. 🙂
Ok yes. Hygiene is important. If you want your partner to still want to do the nasty, brush your teeth. 😉
I think the most important thing is self-confidence. Confidence is sexy no matter what size you are or if you have a few more wobbly bits than you used to. If you have some cushion for the pushin’, be proud of that. If you have a post-baby belly, be one hot momma. The human body is gorgeous, no matter what, but we have to feel that way. And people that feel great about themselves, do tend to take better care of themselves than those who don’t. They still may not look all Hollywood, but they do tend to wear clothes that fit well and show off their best assets, get regular haircuts, and take some time to do some special grooming from time to time. Not because they feel they have to, but because it feels great to treat themselves.
I find 369 barbarians is my limit. More than that and it all just goes to hell.
Hugs! (still non porn-y)
The key to making a relationship last and grow is nurturing each other continuously. Love and relationships need effort. Many of us unfortunatelly think that they don’t need to work on their relationship once they get together. If we don’t nurture our relationships daily, then eventually they will die. This is why spending some time together daily is very beneficial to rekindle love and keep the relationship strong. Another important element is to realize that we are responsible for our happiness, not our partner. Instead of saying “she/he made up upset,” we have got to take responsibility of our thoughts and realize that happiness is an internal emotion. Another way to make a relationship prosper is to practice unconditional love. We have to make a difference between our partner, who we love and her/his actions. We might not like a certain behavior, but we love that person. Thanks for sharing Melody, great post!
You said it Dia: We tend to take our relationships for granted. This is why everyone wants a commitment. Once I’ve got you, you can’t leave me. No matter what. And then we proceed to get complacent and just allow whatever will happen to happen.
You’ve made such important points here. Making anyone, especially our partner, responsible for how we feel will always end up with one or both parties being unhappy. And they blame each other for that unhappiness. Surpassing that belief will lead to true freedom in relationships and the ability to connect at a truly authentic level.
Thanks for this incredibly valuable comment.
Hi Melody, I mentioned last week that the secret to LOVE is surrender. When we are having hypnotic love affairs with our egos it is the cause of all human tragedies. I made an interesting discovery while going through a phase in my life when I was fussing and insisting in relationships – my ego felt like it was ‘an important somebody” (even though no one else saw me this way). I also noticed that now that I’d come up with a scheme to satisfy my ego’s urge to feel like ‘an important somebody’, I felt compelled to fuss and insist over things that really didn’t matter to me. I was slow to admit it, but it was time for me to stop fussing and insisting; it simply wasn’t working for me and my relationships. The habit of fussing and insisting wasn’t satisfying my inner urge to grow and develop in the least; as a matter of fact – fussing and insisting was downright dissatisfying … and I was doing it to myself! Once I got to the truth of the matter I was able to surrender and allow a harmonious loving relationship – one of my life’s greatest joy.
Thanks for sharing your amazing wisdom here. Ultimately, as we discover who we really are and clear out all the blockages that keep us from doing that, our relationships are going to get better and better. I’ve personally seen a tremendous improvement in not only the quality of partners I attract, but in how I relate to them, how open and authentic I can be with them and how much or how little I tend to worry about what they think/do/say.
We all ultimately want to love unconditionally, but generally, we’re too afraid to allow ourselves to do that.That’s where all this “work” comes in. 🙂
Like Fred, I’ve been in a really long-term relationship (I’m 24 now) before this and we fought like two chimpanzees from opposing tribes. The upside? Fantastic make-up sex. No wait….mind-blowing make-up sex.
So if you find yourself fighting like crazy-folk, take just ONE second in between to imagine her in the buff. Or with the sluttiest attire. Seriously. Just do it. And see what happens. It’s like an adrenaline-shot to the sex glands if those even exist.
Strangely enough though, I’m dating a girl now and we have a LOT in common so we don’t fight a lot. When it comes to the bedroom we’re laughing more than doing anything else. It’s awkward and funny and for some reason really corny this time around. :p The strange part is that it’s the best time I’ve ever had with a girl in bed. Lots of fun. Even though we’re making fun of ourselves most of the time and not really all lusty and porn-y. 🙂
I guess the decision one needs to make is whether or not the constant fighting is worth the fantastic make-up sex… A relationship is the sum of all it’s parts, not just the naughty ones… 😉
Non porn-y Hugs,
You’re more and more inspired Melody! lmao Keep it up
Thanks Cooke! I fully intend to. Having way too much fun to quit… 😉
Haha, I love the way you write. There is something to it that flows really well.
In my most recent relationship, before I decided to forgo monogamy, sex is about the only thing we had. The only way we connected (giggity). And honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
I had been in a seven year long relationship (I’m 23 now..) prior to that where the sex wasn’t that good – even though we had a lot in common – it really was less fulfilling in a lot of ways.
I don’t care what anyone says. If it isn’t working in the bedroom, chances are working in the real world are pretty slim!
Great article. 🙂
OMG Fred. I just had this vision of you dictating “giggity” into your mic, chin thrust and all, and had to laugh so hard.
I agree with you – although I see bad (or unsatisfying) sex as more of a symptom than a cause. If you’re not connected on some level, or taking the time to connect, the sex isn’t going to be great either. Just as a lot of other things in the relationship aren’t going to be great. Even in the bedroom, it’s what we focus on that counts. 🙂
Hahaha. That is fantastic.