Dating and marriage today is a great task. Many marriages today fail for one reason or the other. Commitment is fading off and what obtains now ranges from deceit to lies, emotional instability to outright disregard for one another’s feelings. For a lot of people today, ‘commitment’ has become a scary thing. Dating is more like marathon race, trying to date as many people as possible, instead of being committed to one and get to know each other very well is obviously the order of the day.
We all know there is no perfect marriage. Working to improve on an existing relationship to me appears tougher than trying a fresh one. Things do not always go perfectly as fighting, argument, disagreement do occur and it takes 100% commitment from both parties to make it a success.
Despite all these odds, healthy and long lasting relationships are definitely possible. The ability to manage and restore sparks in our relationships when the reality of marital disintegration shows up is what makes a healthy marriage. Look at Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Hilary and Bill Clinton and a few others like them, you would agree with me that they don’t have perfect marriages but they have learnt to weather the storm and face realities of the ups and downs of marriage by choosing to love their mates irrespective of the odds against their marriage.
Relationship building is like a car, the more you service it and treat it right, the more it serves you. The longer the usage, the more the wear and tear. This is the way to look at relationships, you need to work for it to get the best out of it. Everything cannot be perfect, there will be obstacles to overcome but you have to make concerted effort to make it work.
Here are some tips to strengthen your relationship:
Create time to be together: Learn to spend quality time together. Its not about the activity but the fact that you are both doing something that you enjoy. We are often torn between our work, family and everything else going on around us at the expense of the people we care about. Schedule and keep to arranged dates as you would your corporate meetings.
Show Affection: When was the last time you walked up to your partner for no reason, without saying a word and affectionately placed a kiss on the neck? When last did you cuddle your partner, rub her hand or run through her hair or simply hold hands without uttering a word. We show love and affection to our children and often forget that our partners need attention too. The power of touch could be overwhelming, everything is not about sex but feeling each other’s vibes in our own quiet world says it all.
Renew old Traditions: Do you remember when you just hit it off? There must have been some things you both enjoyed doing that made you tick. Did you make a it habit to walk in the park? Or you hung out on Fridays for TGIF? Think back! Renew and improve on what you used to do together just like manufacturers would always slam us with a new and improved product.
Secret Getaways: At a point in our relationships, we truly crave for some quiet moments especially when you have children hovering round you. Map out periods when you both can take a vacation without the children. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip, you may choose to hide away at a hotel in town for a beautiful weekend. Make the outing as romantic as possible. Rekindle your love and refresh your memories of the good old days.
Exchange Gifts: Surprise your partner with little tokens. If your partner loves movies for instance, you may surprise her by picking her up without letting out your mission till you arrive there. Sometimes it could be flowers or card that truly expresses your mind. The fact behind these actions is a way of telling your partner that ‘you are always on my mind’. Small gifts packed with thought are far more cherished.
Exchange Compliments: For some reasons, you may have stopped noticing how your partner looks. Even when she wears that beautiful Victoria Secret or that Pierre Cardin shirt, you simply can’t see! Now imagine getting compliments from outsiders. I am sure you’d feel totally ignored by your partner and would wish the comment was coming from him/her. Learn to appreciate your own and say it, it registers better.
Listen: Cultivate the habit of listening to your partner. Some people only listen to themselves and ignore the other party. Get into a habit of listening to what your mate is saying, don’t wait until things get really out of hand to react.
Act the Kid: Have you ever seen kids play? Take a mental note of their reaction to the world around them at that point in time, they are simply in their own world. No inhibitions, no pretense. Put spice into your relationship, act the kid for a change. A friend once tried to act the kid with the husband, told him to close his eyes while he gave him a surprise but the husband couldn’t see the fun in the whole thing, he simply told off the wife by saying, ‘grow up and stop being childish’. This is very hurtful! We should learn to let go of our prim and proper, holier than though attitude and live a simple life. Enjoy the world of innocence for a change!
Night of Passion: As we grow older in our relationships, we tend to take intimacy and passion as secondary. When relationships are troubled, the last thing either party wants is to be sexual or passionate. However, this could be a part of the healing and rebuilding process if handled properly. Make your intimate time special and memorable as these memories would see you trough the troubled times.
Communication: When rebuilding relationships, you need to open lines of communication. I know the first thing that flies out the window in troubled relationship is communication. Sometimes we feel its easier to be quiet than to get mad meanwhile, healing in relationships cannot start until we talk. You both have to let down your guards and respect each other’s feelings. You don’t have to agree on all issues but you can both decide to work towards achieving peace.
Create Space: As it is important to spend quality time together, it is equally important to give each other a break. This is not the time to date other people but to enjoy ‘preferred activities’. Once you have trust in your relationship, try to respect your partner’s need for space to be herself or himself. This shows great respect for one another.