Great relationships are a gift to everyone else around them. Magic, connected relationships, are what most married couples are hoping to achieve before we go kicking and screaming into the light. Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman come to mind as one such couple (okay, before he died). Conan O’Brien at this week’s White House correspondence dinner suggested that President and Michelle Obama’s marriage is one to emulate. Even old British rockers seem to make it work. Supermodel Iman says about her long time husband David Bowie “my heart still flutters when he walks in the room”.
So what’s the secret to these kind of relationships? According to the survey out this week in Psychology Today, many marriages simply deteriorate because couples allow their relationships to run on ‘autopilot.” Things get stale, but partners somehow expect expect them to stay healthy and exciting without doing the work to keep them that way..
Here are some of the top 5 things you can do to stay the course and have one of those magic marriages.
Sell yourself and your partner on the relationship.
With very few exceptions, we human beings tend to base our sense of self-worth on the things that are most important to us. It’s common to hear people proudly say, “I’m a manager,” or, “I have a really cool car”. But how often do you hear, “I have the world’s greatest partner? Use your words and tell your partner they mean everything to you.
Communicate with three things:
Eye contact, touch and words of love. Ottawa Psychologist Dr. Martin Rovers says these are the most important things we can do with our partners. They emulate our first memories (parents) who give us eye contact, a loving touch, and tell us they love us.
Be clear about how your partner feels love.
It’s the Love Languages message meaning that some people feel love in a different way that you do. I have a friend who needs a hug to feel love, another who lives for the notes her husband puts in her lunch and I desperately need to be told those three little words in order to feel it.
You can’t fix anyone else.
“The more time you spend trying to change your spouse, the less time you have for improving yourself,”. And as I tell my patients, ” I can’t even manage the fish”. You can’t change anyone else, DO NOT think you can. You can only work on yourself. And its time to work.
Date Nights. It’s time to take your sweetie on a date.
When you’re newly in love and in full courtship mode, you do everything you can to spend every free moment with your partner. Eventually though, work, kids, responsibilities, and life in general tend to get in the way of your relationship with your spouse. The two of you stop doing fun things with only one another, and it’s easy to go weeks at a time without having any serious conversations that don’t revolve around work, money, or kids. That’s why it’s imperative to set aside time to date your spouse. Especially date nights. I have a list of 50 sensuous activities to do on a romantic night. Find them on this site and start implementing one a week.