Go on a Date
Especially for married couples, but even for some “dating” couples, start dating. Often people become very comfortable in their relationship and sitting around on the weekends, watching movies is about as exciting as it gets. Ask your mate out. For example, actually call them and ask, “If you do not have any plans for Saturday night, would you like to go to a concert with me?” It is crucial to relationships that they keep the fire alive by enjoying the act of dating. There are many people in long-term, successful marriages that will tell you they go out on dates every week, which has been a huge bonus for their relationship.
Start a memory box to store old movie tickets, brochures from cities visited, concert ticket stubs, old ski lift passes, cards attached to flowers received, old love notes or letters, birthday cards or anniversary cards from your mate, anything that the two of you did together. Every once in awhile, pull the box out and look at the items with your mate. Reminisce about each memento, and keep all the special times in your life close to your heart!
Keep the Kids Out of It
Whether married or dating, if there are kids involved, it is crucial that they are not used as pawns in any situation. For example, if your mate wants to get intimate and you are not in the mood, do not say, “I need to help the kids with their homework,” or if something that needed to be done was not taken care of because you forgot, do not blame it on the kids by saying, “I was taking care of the kids and did not have time.” In the first scenario, be honest with your mate and tell them that you are very tired and while intimacy is important, you would prefer to make sure the kids are in bed on time so the two of you can have some quality time together. This opens an honest line of communication and does not place ill feelings on the kids, especially since it is not their problem to begin with.
Listen to How You Talk
When working on your relationship, more than likely you and your mate have settled into a pattern of speaking to each other. It might be with short, blunt answers, heavy sighs as though bothered, or with negative remarks. Pay attention to not only your words spoken, but also the tone in which they are spoken. Be positive, cheery, and respond in a way that will confirm to your mate that you are listening and truly interested – that you have time to listen and communicate. In addition, add terms of endearment into your conversation. Instead of “Good morning,” try, “Hi honey, good morning!”
Intimacy is a huge part of a successful relationship. Choose a book from the bookstore and try to bring a little excitement into your relationship. Do not be afraid to experiment and learn new and exciting ways to please each other. Keeping intimacy alive is healthy and not a bad thing whatsoever!
Turn the Computer Off
Often the computer becomes a replacement for a lack of something in the relationship. It might be just surfing, playing games, or getting involved with websites that promote pornography. If you notice that your mate is spending more and more time on the computer, take this as a sign that even if not doing anything wrong, they are choosing to spend the time with the computer instead of you. In other words, use this as a sign that something is missing in your relationship. Start by talking and searching to confirm what it is bothering your mate and then work on making it better!
Keep some tradition in your marriage, which relates to the vows you took and the fact that marriage is sacred. Treat each anniversary as a celebration of your love and the time spent together. Follow the traditional anniversary gifts and see how creative you can be. The first year anniversary gift is paper. One husband bought his wife a beautiful Chinese drawing on rice paper, signed by the artist, and had it framed for her. Make this fun, exciting, and keep traditions alive.
Control Your Anger
Every relationship has difficulties, and sometimes, there can be some intense arguments. For the sake of your relationship and the love you have for your mate, keep your anger in check. First, when people are angry, hurtful words fly, usually not even meant. However, after spoken, it is too late to take them back – the damage is done. Another problem with anger is that the word “divorce” can easily be thrown around. You may not mean it, but you know it hurts, thus making you the winner of the argument. NEVER talk about divorce in your relationship, even if just teasing. If you need to go to another room to cool off, and then do that, but whatever you do, do not allow your anger to take control of your relationship.
One of the main reasons other than fidelity that marriages fall apart is due to finances. When couples are struggling with money problems, tempers flare, frustration builds, drinking may start, and it is an all-around unhealthy situation. The minute there are any signs of financial difficulties, the two of you need to immediately sit down and figure out a plan on how to deal with the problem. If needed, go to see a financial consultant or a credit counseling service to help you get back on track. Do not allow your finances to get out of line or your relationship will certainly suffer.
I Forgive You
If something has happened in your relationship causing the trust to waiver, you will have many things to work through. When your mate has done something that requires you to forgive, you have to forgive, REALLY forgive. Once you have worked through the issue either together or with professional counseling, and you tell them that you forgive them, you can never hold that over them again. As an example, if your mate has had an affair and the two of you choose to work it out rather than throw the relationship away, once the problems are resolved and the forgiveness is said, it is done! This means that you cannot stalk your mate to ensure they are where they said they would be, call or page them throughout the day, constantly ask for reaffirmation of your relationship, it means that you forgive and put the past behind you and then move on in a new, strong, and healthy relationship. It will not be easy, but you can do it with the right help, attitude, and commitment.
While having disagreements is normal and sometimes when controlled, healthy for relationships, the place and degree of discussion are important. Keep your disagreements private. Being at a party or anywhere around family or friends and breaking into an argument is a great way to break down a relationship. Not only does it cause embarrassment for your mate, but it also puts a negative light on both of you from the people witnessing the fight. If you are in public and think you need to argue, at least find a quiet corner or separate room where you can discuss whatever it is bothering you.
Strong Family Ties
When in a relationship, not only are you involved with the love of your life, but also the family of your mate. It is important to build a strong, healthy relationship with the families as well. Even if you do not see them often, having a good connection with your mate’s family will make life for everyone much better all the way around.
If you know of another couple from work or your church that has been married for many years and continued to have a strong relationship, ask them if they would mentor you. Being around positive influences and watching someone who leads by example is a great way to learn how to have a good relationship for yourself.
As a special gift, have a 12-month calendar created with pictures of special times spent between the two of you. Arrange the pictures to coordinate with the months and then as a Christmas or birthday gift, or just as a special surprise, present it to your loved one.
You do not have to be a world-renowned artist to make something homemade and special for the love of your life. Even making a special, personalized greeting card would be appreciated and show your mate that you care enough to take the time needed to make something by hand.
If your mate has a meal, that is by far the favorite above everything else, go all out and prepare everything to order. Before they arrive home, put on something nice and a little sexy, light some candles, and have a wonderful surprise waiting.
Trip to the Pound
If you and your mate love animals, take a trip to the local animal shelter and pick out a dog or cat that needs a good home. Adopting an animal that needs a home can be a wonderful way to have something that you both can care for and love together. This will open up for long walks, taking your new dog on a walk, or hours of playing with a sweet and funny cat.
Day at the Movies
Have a movie marathon some rainy or cold Saturday. Put all your errands and chores on hold and head to your nearest theater. Hit three or four movies and mix it up. Buy the theater popcorn and drinks but sneak your own candy in. This is a great way to spend some fun time together, holding hands or cuddling, while sharing some laughs and maybe tears watching a variety of flicks.
A Walk in the Park
Spending quality time together where you can talk and just enjoy each other’s company is critical to a good relationship. Plan a nice walk in the park to include a comfortable blanket to sit on the grass with while having a good old-fashioned picnic. Take this time talk, watch other people with their kids, and then just walk around, hand-in-hand.
Name A Star
As a special gift, ask your mate to join you outside at night when the sky is black and the stars shining brightly. Point up to the universe and state, “See that star over there? That is your star. I bought it for you.” Then present them with the certificate showing that they do in fact have a star named after them. This wonderful gift will last a lifetime!
Create a coupon book filled with any number you like of 20-minute massages. One day when least expected, when your mate comes dragging in the door tired after a long, hard day at work, present this along with a gentle kiss. Although you are the one offering the massages, if you remain faithful to your coupons and never grumble, your love life will more than likely be enhanced and before long, your mate will be the one giving you massages.
Dinner by the Fire
Order in some of your favorite food, open a bottle of fine wine, light some candles, and lay out a cozy blanket in front of a roaring fire. Enjoy feeding each other food, sneaking little kisses in between. This wonderful romantic moment will help build your relationship even stronger. This kind of gesture shows your mate that you really want something special from your relationship and that spending quality time together is a priority.
If things have been a little stressed in your relationship, do something extra special. Start by creating a trail of rose petals from the door to the kitchen where your mate will find a note to go to the bedroom. In the bedroom, have another note next to an overnight bag telling them to meet you at a specific hotel restaurant where you know the ambiance is cozy and romantic. The note should direct them to ask for you at the restaurant where you will be waiting to enjoy a fine dinner together. After dinner and cocktails, gently lead your mate by the hand to a beautiful room that you have reserved for the night. There on the bed is a robe and a red rose. This will do more for your relationship than you can imagine.
As a wonderful keepsake, create a photo album for your mate. Include the parents or siblings to come up with some special childhood and teenage pictures. Include family, friends, special occasions, and times of the two of you together. Whenever the two of you feel as though you are drifting apart or taking one another for granted, pull out the photo album as a reminder of the incredible person in your life.
The Art of Gift Giving
Everyone loves to be given a gift, especially as a surprise or “just because.” Just remember while giving gifts is a beautiful thing to do for the person you love, there are five key essentials for making your mate know that you are giving just because you love them. First, put some thought into the gift. Do not just pick up something at the last minute so you are not empty handed. Second, make the effort. Even if you have a busy schedule, be sure to schedule time to shop. Third, give with the right attitude. You give because you appreciate and love, not because you want something back. Fourth, plan what you are going to give. Find something that is important for your mate and not necessarily to you. Finally, add the element of surprise into the gift giving. Using this equation is sure to impress your mate and leave a lasting impression.
Perform some extensive research on your mate’s family history, which will involve some help from the family, and create a website especially for your mate’s family where they can share information, pictures, family recipes, and more! This will take some time and planning but very little money. Myfamily.com is a great site that is extremely reasonable. This will not only touch your mate’s heart, but the hearts of the entire family.
A Day at the Spa
For couples where the mother or father stays home and takes care of the children all day long, show your appreciation for the hard work that takes. Hire a babysitter for about four hours and give your mate a gift certificate to a local spa where they can enjoy a relaxing massage, mineral springs, sauna, mud wrap, or whatever special treatments are available.
Find a charity that you would both like to contribute to and give something special in both names. For example, if there is a synergy house near where you live for unwed mothers, go in together and purchase a crib or baby clothes. Another option would be if a local park needs donations, find out what kind of trees they need and purchase a tree together. Make this something special where you go shop together and then present together. These types of kind acts are great for bringing couples closer together and help both people love and appreciate each other even more for their kindness.
While some people find thunderstorms to be scary, they can also be viewed as being romantic. If you have having a thunderstorm in your area, without putting yourself in harm’s way, sit out on your porch if the storm is still off in the distance, or cuddled on the couch near a large window and just watch the lightening together.
Take Pride in Yourself
Every relationship goes through down time. Just because the flame has become a mild flicker, that does not mean you have lost the love for each other, it just means you need to add a little fuel to the fire. When couples have been together for a long time, the makeup comes off, the nice clothes turn into over-sized sweats and tee shirts, and instead of cuddling on the sofa or floor, one sits on the couch and the other in the recliner. Step back in time and start getting dressed up more on the weekends, invite your mate to sit with you on the couch, dance together in your living room to some music, or take a walk, hand in hand. It is important not to let yourself go, even when your relationship reaches a “comfortable” state. By taking pride in yourself means that you take pride in your relationship. You might also want to get a new haircut perhaps an emo hairstyle which are young and hip.
Part 3 is now out there, and it’s the last one, I promise!