Whether it’s your first date or you’ve been together for decades, relationships are, hands down, extremely difficult to maintain. ”The beginning” is always, of course, the best part because of the excitement of getting to know each other, the newness and the butterflies that come along with all of that. But over time it can get old, complicated and seemingly impossible; which is why most marriages tend to fall apart.
Proudly maintaining an incredible 26-year relationship and friendship with my husband is what has prompted me to write this piece for you. Because we met in high school and grew up together, it hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve found ways to keep our 14-year marriage fresh, exciting and long-lasting. How? Over the years we’ve incorporated these 10 essential, life-changing, relationship-saving tips that have worked for us and that I hope will also work for you to make your relationship last a lifetime.
- Be mysterious; always keep him guessing. This concept goes from the first day on and never stops. It’s human nature for a man (or woman) to be intrigued and interested in what he or she can’t have or think they might potentially lose. Don’t always be so available, let him wonder from time to time, even if it’s just for a minute or two.
- Don’t give too much away too soon. Showing respect for yourself and your body sets the tone for the entire relationship, keeps him interested and speaks volumes to a man. If you’re serious about someone, don’t just add another notch in your bedpost, wait until he’s proven he’s entitled to something so sacred. Also, don’t tell him too much about yourself before or even during the first date; keep him intrigued. Also, that first date should be super special, expect him to plan and treat you like a lady, if he doesn’t, RUN for the hills! How he treats you in the beginning will give you a very clear view of how he will treat you throughout the relationship. Set an expectation and accept nothing less.
- Play the “PET PEEVE” game. Moving in together can change the dynamic of any relationship. Too much “togetherness” can really take its toll. When he leaves the toilet seat up or dishes in the sink, play the “PET PEEVE” game. The object is to stop annoying each other with bad habits; which are entirely natural. You both have to make a commitment to say, “pet peeve!” when you see something that bothers you, the other must drop everything and come running, not get angry, listen and try to change the habit. I promise you, it works, and life-changing in any relationship!
- Never get too comfortable. My friends laugh at me when I put on lipstick before my husband comes home after 26 years together, but it’s important. Why? Because even though he says how beautiful I am without make-up, I will notice a little extra smile when I’ve put some effort into how I look. It’s natural to want to see your love out of their sleepy pants, fresh and attractive.
- Be flexible. This isn’t just in the bedroom, being flexible means being open to doing something unexpectedly or outside of your comfort zone. If you’ve made dinner and your husband or boyfriend calls and says, “Let’s go out!” GO!! Life is short, have fun, make another memory and experience new things, it will thrill him and keep it new.
- Be spontaneous, even with the simplest things. This can simply be buying a couple pints of both of your favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, hiding it in the freezer and surprising him after dinner on a Tuesday night.
- Always put him first and expect the same back. With all of these tips, you must know that whatever I give I expect the exact same back and if I don’t feel that I am getting it, I will tell him. Unless you both are committed to putting each other first, your relationship is never going to work.
- Be a good listener. Communication is an absolute MUST! I make it a point NOT to talk about myself when my husband calls me or at the end of the day when we finally get to see each other again. I ask how he is, I listen carefully and then I expect the same back. Sometimes that naturally works in reverse; which is nice.
- Be whole-heartedly honest. This is another aspect of communication. Even when you know that you’re going to hurt his feelings being honest is essential in any relationship because if you’re not, you’re living in a façade. How do you expect him to know how you feel if you don’t tell him?
- Check in with each other often. Even with all of the bliss that you’ll experience once you incorporate these tips into your life, you have to check in with each other often. That means asking each other if the other is ok, feeling good or needs something. It’s too easy to fall into a routine, get busy, become selfish and not realize the other is unhappy. Communicate, communicate, communicate, can’t say it enough!
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