‘A relationship requires a lot of work and commitment.’
– Greta Scacchi
Proposed to the girl in Oct’13 and talked about grooming and nurturing a relationship: (https://wealthnlove.com/2013/11/10/how-i-made-it-with-my-fiance/).
Finally tying the knot in Sep this year too!
And for you guys out there who have also been in long-term relationships, I believe one challenge that many of us face is keeping the ‘sparks’ alive.
Along the way when things slowed down and got boring, we found that some of the tips below really helped to inject new life and sparks into our relationship.
Of course, we have not been following all the points below religiously, but we can only keep trying 🙂
1) Acknowledge The Importance of Dating
Continue to take each other out on dates. This was probably something we dropped the ball on in the past… but we have been trying to fix that.
The key thing is to treat the date like a special bonding moment, as opposed to just another ‘lazy’ day out.
If some effort could be put in to plan the date, she will really appreciate it.
The good thing is that it need not always be something extravagant and fanciful. More often than not, she just loves to see a little effort and thoughtfulness.
2) Find New Activities To Do
So the next question would be, what can we do on those dates? Especially for couples who have been together for a long time?
Sometimes I ask myself these questions: When was the last time I did something new with my partner? Like travelling to a new country together? Or even something simple like going for a bowling session for the first time?
New activities will inject new life into the relationship. It’s just like getting a fresh coat of paint on your walls.
Try not to get lazy too much like we once did. A couple of years ago, my girl and I decided to stay home on the weekends very often and watch TV. We did this for a few months in a row and it just got pretty boring.
Gotta break the routine.
3) Re-live The Sweet Memories
A friend (who has had many relationships before) told me once that he only has that many tricks in his bag. True that. Sometimes we just run out of ideas on what to do. Movie? Food? Shopping? AGAIN?
Well… for the dudes that occasionally run out of ideas (like myself), here’s a tip you could consider.
Try going on dates occasionally at some of the old places you used to hang out at when you first got together.
When you think of your favourite childhood food that your mum used to cook for you, don’t you just remember how the food tasted like?
You dig into the food, while your mum watched and reminded you not to eat too quickly lest you choke on it. When you reminisced about this, you probably smiled and felt blissful.
That’s the feeling you want to evoke. Good ol’ times. And it makes you think how much you guys have gone through together since then.
It is also for this reason that we took a few wedding photos at our university (where we met) and at the Marina Bay area where we had our first date over 3 years ago. There’s just so much meaning to it.
4) Dress Up On Dates
Even after being in a relationship for a long time, I think that dressing up for a date really helps things along.
When she is dressed to the nines, the date will already start off positively as she is in a good mood and feels happy about her image.
So just throw in a few compliments about her looks – simply because she really looks beautiful.
But of course we gotta put on a decent shirt ourselves and ditch the comfy flip-flops for the day. If not, the date can go awry when she’s dressed for a black-tie event but you are dressed for fishing with your dad.
Been there, done that.
5) Be Playful
Let’s shed that adult image that we put up to fit into society and the workplace.
At the very core of each of us, we are kids. We love to have fun and enjoy.
The only difference is that kids do it anywhere and everywhere without any inhibitions. But we adults do it at ‘appropriate times’, when the situation permits.
With your partner, lets feel free to bring out the inner child in each of us. Have fun.
I love teasing my girl about anything and everything while she responds with a frown/laugh and a poke at my waist. Take the lead on this, man. 🙂
6) Talk Before Bedtime
This is quite a good way to re-connect at the end of every day.
Imagine that the last meaningful thing you do before you sleep each night is hearing your partner’s voice over the phone. Sharing everything that has went on during work or school. It could be an hour-long conversation or even a 5 minute chat.
The key is really about re-connecting with a person that truly matters at the end of each day. And sharing things with each other is always a good act of love.
7) Squeeze & Make Time For Each Other
It’s probably quite easy to have time for your partner during school days. Depending on your choice of career and other commitments, it can be difficult to even spend quality time with each other on the weekends.
Gotta create a calendar so we know what are the upcoming dates, when she has her facial sessions etc.
And then squeeze in time to spend time with each other. Even a few short hours of face-to-face interaction will go a long way for the relationship.
Recently, I have been working late every night and she decided to surprise me by turning up at my office just to see me for a while. Overtime suddenly didn’t feel so bad.
8) Spend A Little Time Apart (Sometimes)
Sounds ironic and contrary to the point mentioned above.
But I do think its good to maintain one’s individuality and re-connect with other people and commitments in our lives. Be it family or friends. Or even ‘alone’ time.
For one, I’m a believer in the cliché statement ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’. And we need not have a long-distance relationship to be able to appreciate this logic.
9) Deal With Each Problem Swiftly
If there’s a splinter in your finger, ignoring it won’t help at all. It will cause even more damage when time passes.
After we persisted and resolved our issues, one thing I’m sure about is this – The relationship got even better and the sparks remained.
It’s like as if we ran a marathon side-by-side and then relished in our ability to pull through it together. That feeling when the tough part is over is especially sweet.
10) Touch More
Often referred to as the “love molecule”. Oxytocin is believed to be highly important in human pair-bonding. Oxytocin is usually associated with helping couples establish a greater sense of intimacy and attachment.
This is a powerful hormone. When you hug or kiss your loved one, oxytocin levels are driven up. In addition, it also increases trust and reduces stress.
So… touch your partner often! And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a single cent unlike a meal or movie 🙂
A wedding will just be for a day. But a marriage will last a lifetime.
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Stay Happy & Keep Working on it!