You want to grow old together… so how can you and your partner keep from becoming another break-up statistic? How can you keep things rewarding and satisfying as the years go by? How can you stay happy together? To get some insight into this elusive realm, we asked a few long-term happy couples just those questions. Here’s the advice they had to offer:
Our world gets crazier every day, and it can be all too easy to find yourself afloat amongst countless competing demands that can take over and drown your relationship if you’re not careful. Make a concerted effort to schedule regular time together – time set aside for you and your partner without the kids, the cell phones, the daily demands – couple time! It may not be possible to pay for a babysitter and an evening out on the town (but if you can, go for it!), so take what you can get and make it special: A 30-minute walk together while your child is at dance class, a leisurely cup of tea after dinner once the kids have left the table, a few stolen moments in the shower together in the morning before work.
Routine can be murder on relationships, so be open to trying new things, new activities, new hobbies, new foods, or new vacation destinations. Little changes can give you new things to talk about and to look forward to, and will help keep your relationship fresh.
Keep in physical contact. Hold hands when you’re walking across a parking lot or driving in the car together. Snuggle up on the couch when you’re watching TV in the evening. Play footsies under the dinner table. Stay intimate. Pause for a hug when you cross paths in the kitchen. Steal a smooch. These are just a few of a million little gestures to keep you from feeling like roommates rather than soulmates.
Remember when you were first together, you’d go out of your way to say nice things to each other, and would never dream of saying something that might offend your partner? Why should that change just because a few years have passed? Keep the compliments flowing, and keep the criticisms to yourself.
Talk with each other – stay interested in each other’s lives and ever-changing and evolving interests. Don’t assume that your partner will stay the same as the person they were when you first met. It’s natural for tastes and inclinations to change over time. So keep up to date and stay tuned into what the person you love has become.
Just because you’re together for the long haul now doesn’t mean you needn’t worry about your physical fitness – encourage each other to keep or get active and to eat well – you’ll both feel better for it. And as you did when you first met, put some effort into your appearance. Let your partner know that they’re still worth dressing up for!
Looking for more ideas? Feel like you’ve tried some of these to no effect but don’t want to throw in the towel? Your EFAP counsellor can work with you and your partner to open up lines of communication and help you develop new patterns and habits to revive your relationship. Call 1 866 833-7690 or visit workhealthlife.com and inquire about our online program – Enhancing your Relationship.
1. The 5 Love Languages – the Secret to Love that Lasts: Garry Chapman
2. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships: John Gottman