At some point, I think we have all thought, “Where did the romance go? Is our relationship doomed because there’s no romance? Why does it take so much effort for there to be lifelong romance – if we were meant to be, it would come naturally?”
Here are my answers for you:
- The romance didn’t go anywhere. You, your spouse or both of you simply stopped supplying it.
- Romance is not the foundation to any relationship. Romance is simply the way in which we desire to be loved and feel loved (more often by things we see in “fairy tales”).
- Maintaining romance is work because you actually have to make a conscious effort in wanting to make it work.
You know why we perceive romance as something that is “lost”, or something that is only so apparent in the beginning of our relationships? Because in the beginning of every relationship, we envelop ourselves in this euphoric sensation of “being in love”, which basically masks our efforts towards the relationship from feeling like “work”.
Think about it: you’re with someone new – it’s very exciting, you’re feeling somewhat presumptuous and alive. You can hardly sleep because you can’t stop thinking about this person. You would climb every mountain in this world just to make that person happy, without ever expecting a dime in return. Yeah, that feeling – that’s the euphoric stage. Informally represented as incomprehensible, if you ask me.
You give without limitations, or reason (this is why many become extremely hurt or deceived fairly early on in relationships).
You love without conditions, or expectations (this is why many fail to notice flaws in the beginning of a relationship).
And you live jovially, or judge-free (this is why many are able to ignore stresses from their job, other relationships, or family matters).
But before you know it, that “high” dwindles, and life catches back up to you. Life would be damn near perfect if we could all live and love continually through that euphoric stage, wouldn’t it?
Just like the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” That’s with everything in life. And the same goes for romance. I know we all would love it to work out like in the fairy tales, but it’s more important to realize that those movies and stories depict less than probably 10% of reality in terms of real love and romance.
The other 90% that’s missing? Work. Struggle. Effort.
Just as any relationship requires work – as I’m sure everyone can agree – so does keeping up the romance. It’s not always just about getting the flowers, candlelight dinners and the sweeping you off your feet “romance” – even though that’s a plus. But I am giving you 11 ways to spark and hold onto lifelong romance in your daily lives.
Slip these to your SO, or spouse!
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11 Ways To Spark And Hold Onto A Lifelong Romance
Put your spouse first
Seriously, though. If we didn’t overlook this one, or look too deep into it – I bet we wouldn’t even have to read into other ways of keeping a lifelong romance alive. We’re human – we get caught up with work, have outer family drama, endure sleepless nights with a newborn, or allow stealthy, meaningless issues to invade our relationships when they shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean we should make those issues the sole focus, and allow it to push our spouse onto the back burner.
They are in your life, right? They are there to help alleviate the stress of those issues, correct?
And no matter what, in the midst of all that craziness you have going on – your spouse wants to know they are still a main priority. Is that so much to ask?
Get out of that routine
Break that habit of Netflix on Fridays and/or Saturday nights sometimes. And there may be a time where you break each other of that habit.
You know what that’s called in your relationship over time? Laziness. Yeah, I said it. And whether you feel it as that way or not – there will come a time when you say, “I don’t ever do anything, things just aren’t fun anymore, where’s the spontaneity, we’re so boring, we don’t do the things we used to…” Then, you will see what I mean there.
Don’t let exhaustion, busy schedules, or budget be your excuse all the time. You can stay at home – but do something different with that. Cook together, read a book to one another, or take a walk around the neighborhood.
Make an effort to host a game night once a month, with or without friends, schedule in to have a family picnic or pot luck, or invest an hour each week to each come up with something new and exciting to do together. And make it happen.
Learn to appreciate more of the little things
Romance isn’t all superficial. It is often sparked merely by change in perception, or behavior.
I never realized, since being married, how meaningless it was to hammer my husband over petty things he continued to do that annoyed me. Why? Because I never took the time to understand how hard he works to make me happy.
Instead of appreciating the fact he takes out the trash every damn Tuesday and Friday without me asking (when I can barely remember myself), I cringed at the sight of clothes laying on the bedroom floor.
Whether it’s that he leaves you a love note every morning, yet you bear and grin it over the fact there are hairs all over the sink each morning. Even if he tells you how great your cooking is every meal, but he doesn’t do the dishes the way you want.
Learn to pick your battles, and appreciate more of the good things you tend to ignore. Often times, we overlook all the good because of one, itty, bitty, bad. We must stop doing that. If we focus on the good, the bad will weaken, lessen or diminish entirely – easy concept.
Dig out extra time for one another
Yeah, yeah, yeah – you worked 40 hours this week, the baby needs your attention, or you haven’t seen your friends and family in months. But what about your spouse? What about his needs being met?
I’m not saying to dip out of work early all the time, neglect your child or ditch seeing friends and family ever. There does come a time where priorities need some balancing and rearranging, even if that’s an hour of your time. And those being a constant excuse from investing in your relationship only speaks: my spouse’s needs aren’t as important.
Make time. Sometimes it’s cancelling happy hour with friends after work, sending baby to grandma’s for the day, skipping the gym to catch a lunch hour with your SO instead, calling your family more often rather than living up to every Sunday dinner, or getting to work earlier so you’re actually out on time.
It’s OK – your work friends won’t even remember it, your mother or mother-in-law will be more than willing, your body will forgive you, your family will and should understand, and your boss will see you’re working just as hard. Your life won’t fall into a shambles by giving up a little of your time. Just as every relationship builds on compromise, it also builds on sacrifices, too.
This has to be a more willingly mutual effort, but one that has several benefits to any relationship. Take turns, or offer up doing something to alleviate one another – the dishes, making dinner, sweeping the floors, taking the dog for a walk, or getting up with the baby in the night.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be chore related – take turns planning a date night, or planning time for each other out of your busy schedules.
Romance is all about a give and take. Give without limitations or expectations, and you shall receive.
Get a little nostalgic sometimes
Get out the wedding album, video or photo album – make some popcorn and reminisce together! I do this every couple months with my husband – it helps us reflect on the good times then and the better times that await for our future. It “revamps” our emotional spirit for one another, so to speak.
It doesn’t necessarily require physical objects to reflect – it’s easy enough to set aside time to reminisce the years you’ve come together, how things have changed, improved or need change and improvement. You can do this during dinner, in bed before falling asleep, or while having your morning coffee together.
All in all, we do sometimes need a little pick-me-up as to why we got together, or married, in the first place. And I think we all need that reminder every now and then.
Take care of yourselves individually
Nobody has ever said that letting ourselves go is the way of Love. Maybe life implies we should – but we most certainly should not. More so, we should go out of our way sometimes. There are bound to be certain things we tend to halt out of complacency – more along the lines of how we treat ourselves, and take care of our physical appearance.
Your spouse may have even tried to initiate something in regards to this – but unless they said it in the right tone of voice, it probably came off as an offense. Try not to see it that way.
I know each time I change up my hair style (which is very far and few), my husband mentions his liking. Same goes for painting my nails, using perfume rather than just deodorant, or a change of pace in outfit choices – he goes out of his way to let me know he enjoys my efforts. So, with that, I attempt to do it more often. Not just for him, but for myself, too!
Whether it’s a fresh haircut, or color (because he raved about those blonde highlights you did last summer), wearing that sundress for absolutely no reason (even if you never left the house once that day), commit to that 30 minutes of yoga every morning, attempt new hairstyles instead of slapping it up in a bun (I’ve been so guilty of this…), or slab on a little makeup every now and then.
It’s not because your spouse is all about your physical beauty – but that they love to see you making an effort to impress them and taking care of yourself.
Touch each other more (without reason)
You know, I remember running errands with my husband one day and I happened to see this couple walking together – holding hands, as he puts his arm around her (Yes, I was creepily gawking at this point). But I had this moment to myself where I thought, “Why don’t we do things like that more often?” And I knew something was wrong when my instant, conscious reaction was, “Why do we need to?”
My heart sank. Why have we become the couple that has to find reason to be intimate? Are we kidding ourselves? That isn’t the goal of Love, to eventually stop doing things because there’s now no reason. Granted, both me and my husband are not overly dependent on PDA, so that is why I was taken back. Plus, I tend to over-analyze a lot, so my brain’s wiring usually runs like this:
Does he want to be touched? –> What if he doesn’t want to touch me back? –> How long should I do it? –> What if he asks why I’m touching him? –> Do I need to justify myself? –> What if he doesn’t like it?
You get the jist. Doesn’t make any sense – doesn’t make sense to me typing it out or saying it allowed, either.
Touch each other, damnit. Do it – don’t think about it, just do it. Graze by one another, grab each other’s hands, hold hands, or embrace in a hug – because you can, and you want to. Even if it’s putting your hands through his hair, wiping off toothpaste from his face, adjusting his tie, leaning on him when you’re talking, grabbing his face or shoulders when you kiss – something, anything!
It’s only common sense that romance is sparked through physical touch – so make more of that happen in your time together.
Turn off all media when you’re together
Phones, Ipads, computers, beepers, pagers, landline, television, stereo, radio – whatever! Part of the problem today is we are all so undoubtedly connected to the outside world, and we either:
A. Don’t feel guilty about it, unless we’re made to feel guilty about it,
B. Don’t really care how it affects us and others regardless,
and/or C. Fail to understand how it can sabotage our relationships.
For the Love of God – turn OFF your cell phone when you’re together, or silence it. The world survived before cell phones even existed – life can surely wait in line for your attention, or leave you a voicemail if it’s that important. And by together, I mean when the time is solely to focus on each other, whether planned, given or out of spontaneity.
It’s a work in progress – me being a full-time blogger and writer, and my husband as a police officer. We are both equally bound, as my husband likes to call it, to our leashes. Meaning our phones, computers, his radio and work phone. There are times when my husband finds it difficult to set them aside in order to give me warranted quality alone time – free of distractions. And the same for me, since our schedules for work constantly change and are polar opposites.
So refrain from answering that call, reading that text or email, checking that snap, tweet, pin or post to your Facebook. Turn those unhesitating efforts toward your spouse, because more likely our problem is that we silence that portion of our lives too often. And that can hinder the spark of any romance in a relationship.
Don’t only treat one another like parents, or spouses
I don’t think it’s vastly understood how often we get into this ‘rut’ of being a wife, being a husband, being a mom, or being a dad. And I understand – that’s life, and that’s how it works – but we get so accustomed to that as our way of life, that it consumes us and takes us over to a point where we know nothing else.
We defend this illusion of, “We chose to become parents, now we have to act like parents!” This is true, but we say this as if now we have definitively swept our wifely or husbandry duties under the rug. Like, “We’ll get to that (meaning us) again later in life…”
Woah, woah, woah – WOAH. What happened to treating our spouses not only as our husband or wife, but as our friend, companion, or lover? I know it’s always easier said than done, but part of the reason our efforts change is because we allow them to.
What does this have anything to do with romance? Well, that husband, or father – they’re still that friend, soulmate, companion, or lover they once were. And same goes for wives and mothers. Continue to confide, console, listen, and create intimacy in their growing role as not only a husband, but a father. It’s important we remember to realize their true value and meaning, and not allow ourselves and them to forget that.
Learn each other’s Love Language
I’m now totally convinced this profound theory has remarkable impacts on how we love our SO, or spouse. After reading and reviewing this book multiple times, The Five Love Langauges – by Gary Chapman – it’s safe to say that most of our struggles in attaining the love we desire, to give and receive, is solely dependent on our love language, and the language of our spouse.
There are five love languages – words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Each person’s primary language of love (how they want to receive love) could be entirely different to another’s. Most of the time we fail to understand or fulfill our spouse’s love language – automatically insinuating that they want the same love language as our own. In turn, this can create resentment, emotional deprivation, and starvation of love.
I highly recommend reading this book, in order to fully understand how to commit and express heartfelt love to your SO or spouse. And it’s one crucial way to bringing back the romance in every relationship.