After making the decision to live an intentional life one of the very first things I did was divorce my Husband. I spent a lot of time thinking about what had gone wrong and I how I could avoid making the same mistakes in the future. What I figured out is that is was all about communication. Not only the way we were communicating but also what we were not communicating. I had realized that we spent a lot of time avoiding the difficult conversations that we were supposed to be having as partners. When you are married and raising a family together there are so many variables at play. Children, home, finances, careers, in-laws, and so much more. At the end of the day juggling “life” can be so damn exhausting that when you get home and see that your expectations were not met you become aggravated. The biggest thing we don’t factor in though is often times we don’t even tell our partners what our expectations are! Then we get pissed off because they didn’t know what we were thinking. Think about that for a moment. We got pissed off because someone didn’t read our minds.
I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned from my past relationships because I am putting them into full play in what is the greatest relationship I have ever known. What I have come to realize is that fate brought us together but that is not what is keeping us together. It is us making an effort everyday to make sure that it is great.
Whether you are in a new relationship or are celebrating a lifetime together these are 7 things you can make sure you are doing consistently to keep the flame alive.
#1. They are not trying to hurt you that is just how you feel
When your partner does something that makes you angry remember that it is not what he/she did that needs to be addressed it how that thing made you feel that needs to be talked about. We often times get angry and start pointing fingers saying “you did this” or “you did that”. This causes your partner to get defensive and shut down. Instead, allow yourself to calm down before addressing the problem and then begin with “when (insert offense here) happened this is how it made me feel”. Your partner will also have an opportunity to speak his/her feeling on why they did what they did. The two of you will have a clearer understanding of each others feelings which will be a game changer for the long haul.
#2 Keep the games for Monopoly night
When you begin dating someone who is when the groundwork for the relationship is laid. Unfortunately we play these games and then things get to a rocky start. An example would be after you meet someone and you are super excited to contact them but you practice the “3 day rule”. You know, waiting 3 days before contacting them so you don’t see too eager. That is so ridiculous. If someone waited 3 days to contact me I would assume they weren’t interested. Then I’d start questioning their intent after they did finally contact me. If you are excited to contact someday….CONTACT THEM. If that person gets scared off because of your eagerness it is safe to say that person is not for you. If you find yourself saying “I don’t want them to think __________” you’re setting yourself up for failure. You have no idea how a person is going to react to anything. Go through with what you want but do it intentionally. The less games you play the less chance you have of losing.
#3 Learn their Love Language
In the book “The 5 Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman he explains that most relationships start to change course after about 2 years. He believes it is because we are not speaking to them in the correct Love Language. We tend to show our love the way we would want ours to be shown but that doesn’t work for everyone. The languages Gary talks about are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and gifts, If you receive love through someone telling you how wonderful you are but your partner receives love through physical touch it would be important to know that. You would have to make it a point to show love not in the way you would want it shown but instead in the way your partner would want it.
#4 Dont Assume Your Partner Knows What You Want
You get home from a long day of work and all you are thinking about is spending some time with your partner. You have this vision in your head that when you walk in the door they will greet you with a hug and kiss and sit next to you conversing about the day. When you walk in that is not what happens and you get angry but don’t tell your partner why. You hold your partner accountable for expectations that were never verbalized. This happens so often and escalates to a point of no return. Instead of being angry when those expectations are not met let your partner know what it is that you want. It is unfair that we hold our partners responsible for knowing what we want in our heads.
#5 The Little Things are the Big Things
When we begin a relationship we are our best selves. We go out of our way to send little texts, leave little notes, prepare surprise meals, and so on. After some time we do less and less of that until it’s not happening at all. Make sure that you are always doing the little things. A note in his/her lunch is such a great way to show someone you are thinking about them. Sending a random text telling them you love them or that they are on your mind. Those are the things that leave the biggest impact.
#6 Talk About Your Favorite Memories Together
We all have those days or nights with our partner that will forever be engrained in our minds. It is important to talk about those favorites! The more you talk about those things the more likely you are to keep creating wonderful memories together. When you reflect on something that made you really happy you tend to try to do those things over and over again. You tend to keep things new and fresh as well as exciting.
#7 Don’t be Shy
When it comes to how we like to be touched or kissed we usually don’t tell our partner how we like it and then risk never experiencing it. You then begin to feel unfulfilled and things go awry. When they do something you really like it is important that you let them know so they keep doing it. The trickier part is when they do something you don’t like. That is when you put a positive spin on it and let them know that one thing that they do that you really love. You are able to change course without hurting their feelings and you get to experience what you really like!