How to Stay in Love and Keep Your Relationship Strong
How to Keep Your Love Alive with Your Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Spouse
Love is many things. It's both painful and beautiful, burdensome and protective. Most people want it, some people find it, and a few die never experiencing it. This guide will help you keep the love in your life magical, lasting, and extraordinary.
Valentine's Day, in all its commercialized glory, will come and go, but at the end of the day it's just you and your soulmate. If you put time, effort, and love into your relationship, life as a couple will become even more wonderful than it was when you were single.
The most vital elements of happy, committed relationships are:
- An open mind and heart
- A willingness to forgive and work together for a strong, more lasting relationship
Above all, relationships are not easy, but they are absolutely worth the struggle and effort.
Communication: Not Just a High School Class Anymore
Most people know that communication is a vital part of a relationship, but both partners, in their own ways, have trouble actually opening their mouths and talking about their problems. Here are some common issues each gender has with the other.
Guys: How to Understand Your Girlfriend's or Wife's Communication
You may think we talk about anything and everything. How could we possibly have trouble communicating? The truth is, we fear rejection and being alone more than the average guy does. The result is that most girls will talk about everything except what's bothering them most, out of fear of our significant others leaving us or being angry with us.
- The cure: Reassure her that you love her and will not leave her over a fight or relationship issue. At this point, your love should be strong enough to withstand most things, bickering and fighting included. Tell her that all long relationships have fights, and the most important thing is solving problems to avoid building up resentment that could damage the relationship.
- Do not: Tell her she is being irrational for her fears of you leaving. While we know that you mean it in a reassuring sense, that you would never leave her over something so insignificant, she takes it to mean that you don't respect her opinions or emotions, and think she's a silly little girl. Her emotions, while probably irrational, are what she truly feels and, as such, are valid. Treat her with the respect she deserves.
Girls: Stay Close to Your Boyfriend or Husband with Open Communication
Guys feel a constant pressure to perform and compete, and they constantly feel like their ladies are judging them. If they're with you, they think you're the most beautiful, most amazing thing under the sun, but they have trouble constantly reaffirming their affection. To them, what's true is true and does not need to be constantly addressed.
- The cure: Tell them what you want from them. Guys hate guessing games and are not very good at them. If you want something for Valentine's day, have a heart and at least give them some hints, like, "I want flowers, but I want you to pick out what you would most think I would like, and not roses like everyone gets." Praise them, and tell them how much you enjoy it whenever they do something unexpected for you, so they don't have to constantly wonder if you enjoyed what they did, and if they should do it again.
- Do not: Expect them to constantly be thinking about you, every second of the day. The fact that they love you, to them, is so obvious that it doesn't need constant reassessment. Also, girls communicate so much more non-verbally than guys do, but you've got to open your mouth and speak if you want to communicate with your boyfriend/husband. They hardly ever realize something is wrong unless you tell them.
Next time you have a fight or are even upset with your boyfriend or husband, take a step back and see if some of the problem is caused by your two very different communication styles. If you can begin to see where your other half is coming from, that's half the problem resolved already!
Keeping the Magic in Your Relationship: Maintain Intimacy
A common complaint, and one that too many people panic over, is when people incorrectly believe their relationship is failing because that initial rush is gone.
- "The magic just isn't there anymore."
- "He's not the man I fell in love with."
- "When we first dated, my heart beat faster when I saw her. Not anymore."
The common theme in all of these is that things between the two of you just aren't amazing as they used to be. It's not the end of the world, and it is definitely a problem that can be fixed. Using the communication skills highlighted above, you can fix these issues before they become something bigger.
- Keep kissing. Studies show that couples in failing relationships stop kissing each other on the lips long before they stop having sex. In many ways, kissing is much more intimate than sex.
- Do little things for each other. Give her a foot rub after a long day at work. Buy him tickets to a sports game, and pretend you enjoy watching sweaty men run around a field wih a ball. The little ways you show you appreciate each other add up and will bring the romance back into your life.
- Get away from all other distractions. Rent a hotel room for a couple nights or find a cheap getaway cruise for three nights. Chances are, you were just too stressed and distracted to fully appreciate your loved one, and time away from work and duties will remind you of what's important.
- If you need help, seek it. If these things aren't doing it, there's still no reason to become a divorce statistic unless there is truly no other way. Talk to your religious leader, go to a professional counselor—do whatever you need.
You will always regret a failed relationship if you don't truly believe you did whatever you could to fix the problems. If he or she is important enough to you, you will do whatever it takes to make things work. Don't give up! There is always hope.
Inexpensive Ways to Show Your Love
- Go on a picnic, just the two of you.
- Run or walk at a park together.
- Fix your love his or her favorite meal.
- Reminisce about when you first met.
- Ask each other random questions about your childhoods, secret wishes, and hopes.
- Learn how to do something new together.
- Experience being physically close to each other.
- Hold hands in public.
Keeping a Financially Peaceful Household
One huge cause of misunderstandings and fights in relationships is money: how we earn it, how we spend it, and how we save it. It is vital that couples learn that neither should be solely responsible for the relationship's finances. As always, teamwork and mutual respect is the key.
- Decide how important money is to the two of you. Sure, money is convenient, but at what cost? Is having to send the kids to daycare okay? How about never having the time to go on vacations? Time and money are usually a trade-off, so the two of you need to decide where you stand on the issues.
- Decide how to spend the money. Do the two of you have separate checking accounts, or are they shared? Either way can work, but you always need to talk over big purchases together, even if you're paying for it with "your" money. Otherwise, your significant other will not feel respected because you never considered consulting his or her opinion before bringing home that enormous television set.
- Decide how you are going to save money. You both need to get your long-term finances in order. Money conversations are so much less stressful when you know you have money safely saved and in the bank.
Money problems are some of the easiest issues to fix, if you sit down and figure out exactly what you are unhappy about at this moment. Always make money decisions a team effort, and, through your problem-solving, the two of you will grow closer in the process.