“They do not love that do not show their love.” ~ William Shakespeare
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” ~ Khalil Gibran
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” ~ John Lennon
Love is not enough to keep a relationship going. There are ups and downs and hurts and joys that wear away at the fabric of long-term relationships. Here are three ways to rekindle that spark and keep your relationship strong and vibrant.
“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.” ~ Rita Mae Brown
As time goes by we all fall into communication ruts. Our conversations feel like the same old thing because they often are the same old thing. We end up not only discussing the same topics like how the kids are doing in school, how our day went, what to do for the holidays, and where to go on vacation, but discussing them in the same way. We unconsciously dig deep communication ruts and then feel trapped by them.
One of the best ways to break free from this trap is to ask questions. This opens up new information, allows new topics to be explored because you are no longer mindlessly going through the motions.
There are always things you can discover about the person you are in relationship with, even if you think you know everything there is to know.
These questions can range from the serious to the silly; the point of them is to interject some new energy into your conversations and reconnect to that sense of fascination you felt when the relationship was new.
You can ask questions from the past like what was your favorite book as a child, or what did you want to be when grew up and why?
You can ask relationship questions like, in what ways do you think we operate best as a team and how do you think we can improve?
Or you can even ask silly questions like the would you rather game – you know would you rather have all the light be green or never stand in line again? Would you rather be the first person to explore a new planet or invent a drug that cures a major disease? Would you rather not be able to eat your favorite food the rest of your life or only eat your favorite food the rest of your life? You get the idea – these are just funny questions to spark conversation. You can Google them for cute ideas.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin
One of the things that tends to fall away with time is a sense of connection. These moments anchor our relationships and without them we feel adrift and alone.
It’s important to physically and emotionally reconnect with your partner.
Hold hands as you walk down the street or have dinner.
Stroke their face and smile at them.
Look them in the eyes when you speak to them.
Give each other foot rubs at night.
Notice the frequency with which you do (or do not) connect with one another each day. If your relationship is lacking in this way then do your part to recharge this important aspect.
“Some think love can be measured by the amount of butterflies in their tummy. Others think love can be measured in bunches of flowers, or by using the words ‘for ever.’ But love can only truly be measured by actions. It can be a small thing, such as peeling an orange for a person you love because you know they don’t like doing it.” ~ Marian Keyes
When negativity builds up in a relationship we tend to hold our Thank Yous hostage. We tell ourselves that they should have done things, or they had to be asked to do that (sometimes multiple times) so they don’t deserve a thank you for it.
Stop it!!! You will only create a lonely existence within your relationship if you continue to make appreciation something that has to be earned. Give it freely – the only thing it costs you is maybe some of your indignation.
Say thank you early and often – say it when they pass you the butter and say it when they put gas in your car.
Look for specific opportunities to surprise them with your appreciation. Leave sticky notes in places they will find them with loving sentiments on them. The key is to be specific – saying I admire you is not as powerful as, I admire your patience and I noticed it when you spent an hour helping Johnny with his homework.
Do not discount the power of sticky notes! Do you have to ask 100 times for them to unload the dishwasher? Leave a surprise sticky that says I appreciate it when you unload the dishwasher – it makes me feel like we are a good team. This type of positive connection is much more powerful than the 100 times you asked – which I’m guessing weren’t without some tone of disapproval or criticism.
You have the power to turn your relationship around by turning around your attitude and actions. Break free from the mindlessness that has blanketed your daily interactions. Infuse some new positive, loving energy into your relationship and watch how it blossoms like a rose after a long winter sleep.