How do some couples keep the flame burning bright after a decade of marriage? How do they, even after twenty years together still manage to be so totally in love? Have you ever found yourself pondering over such questions? If so, you, like so many others, believe that there is a secret recipe for a successful marriage. But truth be told, marriages are only as strong as the individuals within it. Therefore, if both parties are not dedicated in making the union a success, no amount of tips and hints will help. Bearing this in mind, I have compiled a list of the many ways we can keep the fire alive and burning.
Focus on ‘us’ not ‘me’
A marriage is a partnership, but quite often, many couples get married and continue to live like they did when they were single. Although it is important for some ‘me’ time, it is also important to share your experiences with your mate, as this builds bonds and brings a couple closer together. Because most of us spend over 10 hours a day at work, it is understandable that you end up confiding your frustrations and joys to your colleagues, and when you get home, you have nothing much to say to your partner, having unburdened yourself on your work mates. The problem with this is that, you are left with literally nothing much to talk about when you get home and this may result in your partner feeling excluded from your life.
Find time to be together
It’s easy to suggest but impossible to do, but do try and make some time for each other every day. Even if it is for an hour, simply sharing the mundane daily goings-on will make your partner feel included in your life and this feeling of inclusion will bring the two of you closer together. Try to make it a point to spend at least one day of the week to re-explore each other. A romantic dinner, a trip to the cinema or theatre, a walk in the park, any of these simple activities will help restore or maintain intimacy between the two of you.
A little time to be kind
The stress of our daily routines often makes it too easy not to be as polite or civil to our partners as we could be. It’s important to remember that our partners need and deserve that courtesy the most. So take the time to recognize all that your partner does each day, show your appreciation for the efforts by thanking him or her for things done and give high praise. It’s easy to get so swamped and overwhelmed by work that you simply forget to tell your partner that you love them. Make an effort to tell and show your partner how much he or she means to you. Hold his or her hand, give a kiss on the way out the door, put a love note in the lunchbox, and compliment your partner in public. All of these acts demonstrate your love for your husband / wife.
Listen with empathy
Communication is the key to a lasting relationship. Developing good listening skills can help you build and maintain emotional empathy. A good listener doesn’t just understand the words another person is saying. He or she also understands the meaning behind the words, and acknowledges that the meaning was understood. This type of listening is called empathic listening and makes the speaker feels that what he / she says is of importance. Practicing empathic listening can lead to good relationships, emotional intimacy, and contented marriages. Unlike just hearing the words someone says, empathic listening demonstrates to the listener that you truly understand and care about what he or she thinks and feels.
Relive your courting days
Remember how much time you spent together before marriage? All those late nights spent just walking around, simply enjoying being next to each other? Those marathon conversations you both had about nothing and everything? Relive the exhilaration, the fervour and the closeness that you both shared. Don’t postpone it for tomorrow; life is so fragile; there may not be a tomorrow. As morbid as this may sound, you should value the time you have together, so if anything bad should happen, you would have no regrets.
Finding your soul mate is something that each and everyone of us dreams of, so if you have found the man / woman worthy of this title, cherish them and live every day together like it is your last.