Show me a vibrant, loving relationship that has lasted over seven years, and I will show you two people who have carefully, respectfully and wisely gone out of their way to refresh their relationship, repeatedly. All relationships wane after a time, regardless of how it started, or why it started. Those who are on their second (or more) relationship have an advantage. They know what didn't work. The issues that were a problem before might not be the same this time around, but we can certainly use all the insights we can get.
Keep your best foot forward, even after all those years.
A rule of thumb I discovered, which has yet to fail, is that the real person you are going with does not reveal themselves until about your third year together. To me, this means you have to wait until well into the fourth year before the worst aspects of your mate rear it's ugly head. If we could all remain as we were the first few months we were together, polite, anxious, considerate, courting....how many divorces would not happen? In the perfect world, we would all wear rose coloured glasses, too. Remember how you acted, way back when? Extra care was taken in almost every aspect of yourself, your appearance, your attitude. If your mate made a major faux-paus, you forgave him immediately. Do that now. Go back to the way you thought about your spouse in the beginning. When you fell in love.
I don't even remember where I heard this story, but it impressed me at a young age. The writer was interviewing a woman, a best-seller author, if I recall correctly. After an hour or so of conversation, in some subtle manner, she made it clear the interview was over and she was asking him to leave. Her explanation was that her husband was due home within the hour, a time she always reserved that time for preparing for his homecoming, both her personal appearance as well as the home. I grew up thinking, "This is the way to go."
Somewhere along the line, my mate and I realized that his home coming kiss had gone from, "You two need to get a room" comments from my daughter to a peck on the cheek as both of us were distracted by so many different things. Okay, we don't need to go into a passionate groping every day, but certainly we should drop what ever we are doing, take just a few minutes out to fully pay attention to the other, a full, genuine, sensual hug and kiss. The homecoming ritual is fairly standard, and acceptable. He comes in the front door, fights off the hopping, groveling, barking dogs, checks the mail placed carefully in the same location for him every day, makes his way to the kitchen (through and amidst the ever excited dogs awaiting their 5 pm cookies) where I am usually starting dinner. We hug and kiss for a bit, then I prepare him a glass of wine, and he inevitably fixes me my drink (which I have purposely not made) and prepares the coffee pot for my morning the next day. After that, it is a toss up where we end up, but we cover the day sitting in several pleasant "parking" areas. It's truly a small thing, but it serves us well to remember the routine and try not to break it too often.
Think back about when the honeymoon stopped, and why. Bring it back. Re-ignite the affection
Want a penny for every joke you hear about how women cease to want sex in a relationship? When I hear the jokes or run into someone who is in that position, I feel sad. I would guess that in order for the sex to have dissolved, the affection did, too, and probably first. Once the respect fades, the affection and sex are following close behind. If you are experiencing a loss of respect, move fast to repair it before it becomes a giant snowball rolling downhill out of control. Meanwhile, try and re-ignite the affection AND the sex in your relationship. Quick. It's a rare mate who does not wander from home if they are not happy at home, intellectually, spiritually, physically. If it isn't working, try an fix it, again and again before you give up.
Another old adage: men want sex, women want affection. Even if it is true, it can be a fair trade, but glory to the couple who want both. Affection shows itself in every aspect of a relationship, any time, any where, where sex is generally reserved for private times. If you are ready for some repair work, start by increasing your affection, anywhere, any time, with the hope that it will be noticed and returned. Move on from there.
More about that here, but, it might get quite blatant, (it hadn't been written at this point) so if you push the link, you agree not to be offended by any sexual language or presentation.
Make giving a priority.
Unless you are married (going with, living with, etc) to a complete jerk, the more you give, the more you get. The smallest of things are well appreciated and can make an incredible difference in a relationship. My coffee is made for me each and every day. I don't do well before that first cup and can do little else besides stagger to the coffee pot, so every morning when I see a freshly made pot, just for me, I bless my love, drink to his health and try and come up with another little thing I can do for him in response to the many little things he does for me. Don't forget to make a point of thanking your love for those little things!
Hot towels fresh out of the dryer when he gets out of the shower. The garbage cans taken to the curb on Monday nights before he gets home so he doesn't have to deal with it after a long, tiring day. Doggie presents in the yards magically gone, it doesn't sit well with his stomach. Placing a fresh flower in a bud vase on his night stand. Neglecting the outside hand watering on purpose sometimes, knowing he loves to end his day watering his garden. Making sure all the secret ingredients to his favorite dishes are on hand, just in case he feels like cooking, again, his perfect end of a day. Placing the newest Sunset in the reading room. Making sure the house is picked up before he comes home.
All this make you think you don't want to be his frickin slave? Don't be. But, do you want to please your mate? Really? I am an equal partner, will always be an equal partner, and so these things for my love. What I get in return is astounding.
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