How to Keep Love Alive in Long Term Relationship
Pop culture, from songs to movies, books and television shows – there is no shortage of attention paid to how to meet and greet love. Falling in love, boy-meets-girl and all those Top 40 song lyrics: who doesn’t enjoy that delightful thrill? But once the newness is over and the notion of “long term” steps in, how can you keep love alive?
Love is a Noun
I know, I know – love is a verb. Play along for a moment. Think of Love as if it were your child, separate from you and your partner but conceived by both of you. You are sharing in the raising of this being and you both need to understand Love’s development and needs. Love was born and had an early stage or infancy, during which you both lavished care and attention on Love. This is a no-brainer, right? In the beginning, you are both on your best behavior with Love, and you kind of expect to spend a lot of time and attention on being in love.
But Love does change. It can’t help it, and that’s not necessarily bad. As Love changes, you and your partner need to change along with it. You need to change your attitudes about Love and change your behavior towards each other. Love might not need as much daily fretting over, but that doesn’t mean neglect is the only alternative. As Love matures, love needs:
- Privacy. Public displays of affection are fine but privacy will be key in growing and deepening Love. Privacy can be tough to come by if you are living in an elderly care facility, but even in difficult circumstances where privacy is not easily obtained, seek to have at least some privacy on a regular basis. It is in those private spaces that Love can grow
- Communication. Mystery is the antithesis of intimacy, and intimacy is food for love. Over time, long deep talks about life, the universe and anything else that comes up will feed and nurture love. And, the more you communicate when all is well, the better practice you’ll have for when times are tough.
- Grow independently. Yes, you alone, separate from your partner. Treat challenges, tough spots, or arguments as opportunities for spiritual growth and don’t be afraid to turn inward. Let Love push you to be the best version of yourself you can be.
- Grow together, as a couple. Try new things, take on projects, explore new hobbies.
This segues nicely into the next set of suggestions, which is:
Love is a Verb
You have to “do” love. You can’t be passive about loving. Love is work and play, and to make love stick around you have to make love, quite literally.
Try the “DSD” intervention: Do Something Different. Shift the routine, change things up. If you always watch TV after dinner, suggest a game of scrabble or a walk around the block. Try a stay-cation instead of going away, and use the money saved to go on dates you might not otherwise splurge on. (Despite what you may have heard, this can work well whether you are living on your own or in assisted living housing. It may just require a little creativity).
Make new friends. Connect, either online or in your community with like-minded others. Try a church, a hiking group, or AA, but try reaching out and filling your needs to be social and connected. If you are both happier individually, you may find that it is easier to be in love.
Look at your partner through someone else’s eyes. Try this as a game or exercise – look at your partner and maybe even jot down a list of 5 or so of his/her top attributes. What does his boss appreciate about him? What do his children admire about him? What do her best friends love about her?
What About Sex?
Of course keeping your sexual connection alive and well will play an important role in keeping your love alive. Lots of tips and tricks for staying excited about each other all add up to one thing: if you treat love as a noun and as a verb, and you prioritize privacy, communication, commitment to your own growth and commitment to your growth as a couple, then you and your partner will find it a whole lot easier to start playing with sex tips and tricks. Allow the sexual connection to be rooted in a loving and intimate commitment and the sense of play and adventure can be rekindled. Specific tips?
- Use the DSD intervention in the bedroom (or, for even more fun, use it out of the bedroom!).
- In this technological era, use text messages as a way to ignite the mood. Subtle suggestion and innuendo can be a true delight! Are you a technophobe? Then hand write a note and tuck it somewhere special – lunchbox, pants pocket or in the mirror’s frame.
- Carve out time when all the electronics are turned off. All of them, cell phones, television, even Facebook. Unplug from the outside world and let your partner know that you value time alone with him or her.
- Kiss or caress your partner as a lover, even when you are not warming up for an afternoon romp. Show your partner that he or she is on your mind in that way, even when you are zipping out to work or golf. Give them something to dream about while you’re gone.
Love can stay alive and well, well into its golden years. The trick will be for you to stay present and open to loving yourself and your partner as you change, because let’s face it – change is the one thing we can count on!
Publish Date: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 19:05