More often than not, it’s the simple things in life that matter most—you know, those little things that go easily forgotten, like taking a moment to breathe during a stressful day. And wouldn’t you know it, it might just be those little things that hold the secret to a healthy and happy relationship.
Joyce Catlett, coauthor of Fear of Intimacy says: “People can have a lot of trouble staying close. They get into relationships and think they’re automatically going to know how to make everything work, but figuring out how to stay passionate together is really a skill.” Luckily, anyone can learn these skills—even you! Here are five relationship habits that’ll keep the love alive:
1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T Each Other
…it goes a long way! By and large, the number one secret to a thriving, everlasting marriage is respect. It is the catalyst for all things beautiful in a relationship: trust, connection, authenticity, and love. Unfortunately, respect—in all its seeming simplicity—is too easily overlooked, leading to criticism and all the ugliness that eventually causes both spouses to wonder: How in the heck did I ever fall in love with this person?
Respect is an act of will. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on the things your partner can’t do for you. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things they can do. Appreciate and respect them for that.
2. Catch Romance While You Can
Successful couples learn how to build romance at unexpected times and in low-impact ways. Whether it’s during the daily commute via text or an unexpected embrace while washing the dishes, it will make a world of difference. In other words, the next time you have 15 minutes to yourselves, make good use of it!
3. Play Together
Ever heard the saying “The couple that plays together, stays together?” Separate interests aside, exploring new ground together strengthens your shared experiences. Couples who take on adventures together get a sense of daring and accomplishment that can really jumpstart chemistry! Something that gets your heart racing, like a competitive tennis match or jogging, does wonders for the libido too.
4. Take Some Me Time
The key here is to balance couple time with alone time. “Every good marriage is based on an awful lot of separation,” says Steven Nock, a professor of sociology who studies marriage at the University of Virginia and author of Marriage in Men’s Lives, “People need to have a separate life and existence to feel validated as individuals. They can’t live solely as somebody’s partner.”
Going shopping with your girlfriends while your husband’s out golfing with the guys isn’t a sign you two are drifting apart! On the contrary, it can make you closer. By taking breaks from each other and nurturing your individual needs and interests, you gain a greater appreciation for what your partner brings to your life. Plus, you’ll have plenty to chat about, which also builds your bond.
5. Fight Fair
Believe it or not, there is correct way to fight. And learning how to fight correctly could make or break your relationship. Why? Because if you’re constantly cutting each other down, you’re constantly harboring resentment.
“There is no such thing as a relationship without disagreements,” says David Wygant, author of Always Talk to Strangers. “But if there is an understanding that your partner can come to you with any dissension without being attacked, you will have an honest relationship comprised of ‘open discussions’ rather than ‘fights.’”
In short, try your best to talk your way through an argument. If you’re throwing verbal punches, chances are the argument has escalated to a personal level— don’t let your emotions dictate your behavior. Focus on the issue at hand. You might just come out of the fight a stronger couple.
Relationships are not always champagne and roses! But if you love each other and are committed to making it work, then it truly can! Remember: there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage—just beautiful moments.
i♥moms wants to know, what’s your secret to keeping the love alive?