Relationships often go stale and dull when couples settle into complacency, especially if they last a long time. The burden of keeping a home, looking after children who demand constant attention, while holding down a job, can rob the partnership of its freshness, vibrancy and excitement.
In Britain at least 34% of divorces involve children under 5! That’s a very sad statistic mainly because parents are not aware of how to blend a new child with their romance. They focus almost exclusively on the newborn (women mainly) while unintentionally excluding themselves from their partners. Soon enough, romance is killed or put on hold, one parent (mainly men) begins to feel resentful at the lack of attention and might look outside for comfort. Separation or divorce is not far off! So children can actually destroy relationships, if parents aren’t careful.
However, the main problem with many relationships is that couples soon begin to take each other for granted. They stop affirming and reinforcing each other and start being mean and critical instead. They gradually lose all the things they did when they were dating because they feel more secure with the partner in the bag. Many don’t bother to celebrate their partners anymore and, gradually, things go down the drain. But that does not have to happen, if there is real love in the relationship.
The following suggestions to rekindle romance should be of some value.
1. Tell each other ‘I love you’ as often as possible. It is the greatest compliment to tell a partner how we honestly feel, but some people do not believe in expressing genuine feelings to their loved ones. Many believe it is ‘unnatural’ or they could be ‘overdoing’ it. Yet there is no law against having positive feelings and telling someone about them regularly. The most loving things are done spontaneously, and as often as we feel the need to do them, not according to particular schedules. It could also be the last thing they hear from you!
2. Praise and appreciate each other. As relationships last longer, appreciation tends to gradually decline. We begin to become meanspirited with praise and gratitude, because we come to see every action as automatic. Yet praising someone’s efforts, no matter how small, helps to REINFORCE them, to value them and leaves little room for neglect.
3. Leave love notes around the home for them in unexpected places. There is nothing more endearing than loving surprises, especially when one least expects them. Leaving little messages of love, sending spontaneous texts, or just taking time out of a busy day to call to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ would really make that person feel special.
4. Establish routines for young children: Put them to bed at a set time each day. That should allow you both time together when they are in bed. Try not to take them with you to ‘adult’ gatherings. That should give you more time to enjoy each other’s company, especially with other adults. Most important, try to go out at least twice each month (wining, dining, cinema, concert, dancing etc). These allow you both quality time together doing something lighthearted, while giving you time away from the children. In this way, you will always have some time for yourselves, and quality time for your children.
5. Walk hand in hand when outdoors. Whatever you are doing, do it lovingly, especially walking together. Hug, hold hands, kiss his face now and then, kiss her hand, demonstrate that love to the world. Walking hand in hand gives a wonderful feeling of belonging, togetherness and joy. It encourages closeness while communicating or enjoying activities together. Moreover, on a practical level, regular walking keeps the weight down and encourages a more healthier lifestyle. These public actions might be restricted by cultural conformity, depending on where you reside.
6. Highlight the difference you’ve made to each other. This is a very important aspect, to AFFIRM someone and to let them know, constantly, how their presence has changed your life. We become different people the minute we meet someone because we are happier, more joyful, more purposeful and far more loving. When things go sour, we tend to forget those early magical moments. But being with someone new, who really gives us butterflies and adds meaning to our existence, is always a life enhancing experience.
7. Spend a whole weekend in bed making love, chatting and affirming. Having a healthy sex life is crucial to communication, to keeping the relationship vibrant and partners together. Yet this is the part that really gets thrown by the wayside, especially when kids are on the scene. Forget the chores and everything else. Book a room in a hotel, if possible, and allow yourselves to be pampered. This would be a poignant reminder of why you came together in the first place: to love each other, not just to have a family or keep a house.
Dating and romancing shouldn’t stop when the two people marry or settle together. That is the time the real dating should begin to keep that romance fire burning brightly for a long time to come. It could save a lot of unexpected heartache and loneliness down the line.
BEFORE YOU GO…..
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