Being in love is truly one of the greatest feelings in the world. Those intense feelings of happiness, nervousness and excitement you experience just with the simple thought or presence of your partner being next to you IS what is termed "spark" in relation to romantic relationships. However, over time, many of us seem to believe that all good things must come to an end, and to a certain extent they unfortunately do. The dynamics of your relationship can eventually start to change as you settle into the routine of everyday life and struggle to keep up with the roles and responsibilities of being a partner, spouse or a parent. Although it may seem impossible to reignite the flame and desire you once had towards your significant other, I am here to lend you some advice on what has worked for other couples in keeping the spark alive in their long term relationships. For the purpose of this article and for privacy reasons, I will be referring to each couple using fake names.
DON’T DITCH THE DATE NIGHTS
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, date nights can be particularly hard to work into our busy schedules. I get it, you’ve had a long day at work and have been sitting in traffic for at least an hour. By the time you come home, you only have an hour or two to spare to get in that workout, prepare and have dinner and check up on your partner before getting ready for bed. I asked three couples what they do to keep the spark alive in their relationship and they all emphasized the importance of making time for date nights.
One married couple by the name of Raj and Priya explained, "With our busy schedules, we don’t often find the time to go out, but we do make it a habit to carve out some time for each other when the kids are asleep. You just gotta get creative! We sometimes order Hello Fresh and try to create new meals together or we’ll take our kid’s art supplies and make a paint night out of it. Date nights don’t always have to be fine dining at a restaurant or a movie". Priya goes on to explain, "I think it’s important to show your partner that you are thinking of them and pre-planning an evening together helps us rebuild our love for each other."
Pradheep and Suganya who have been dating for almost 4 years now also mentioned, "We try to plan an activity at least once a week together, usually on the weekends. We love being outdoors, we usually like to go on hikes together or road trips or sometimes we’ll ride our bikes together." The main takeaways I got from interviewing these couples was that it didn’t matter how their time was spent, but rather they made a conscious effort to spend quality time together and found creative ways of showing their partner they cared.
PUT IN THE EFFORT
Along with putting in the effort with date nights, most couples also stressed the importance of putting in the effort with their overall appearance. It is inevitable to become lazy with ourselves and overtime we begin to get comfortable with our partners and lose interest in our general upkeep. However, this can really put a damper in your relationship in terms of creating desire and attraction. For example, styling your hair up in a messy bun and wearing your favourite Tamil nightie to sleep is by no means going to turn up the heat in bedroom. At the same time, skipping out on your bi-weekly haircuts to Diana’s and allowing your beard to grow as long as Dumbledore ain’t gonna make your girl scream, unless you look like Jason Momoa that is.
Ram and Shalini, a couple who have been dating for 7 plus years mentioned, "our similar taste in fashion is what drew us to each other in the first place. We try to make it a habit of not letting ourselves go. When you look good, you feel good." Pradheep and Suganya also attested to this by saying, "we both value our overall health and well-being and to us staying active and eating healthy keeps us looking and feeling our best." Raj and Priya also agreed that "when it comes to creating intimacy, you HAVE to put in the effort to look good; not just for your partner but for yourself." Based on their feedback, it is safe to say that looks do matter and any effort is appreciated with creating romance with your significant other.
MAKE TIME WITH FRIENDS
A lot of times when we find ourselves in relationships, we tend to neglect our circle of friends. As much as it is tempting to spend every waking moment with our lovers, it is important for us to have a life outside of our partners. Even though your partner is considered to be the most important person in your life, they cannot claim responsibility for fulfilling your needs of companionship or replace the bond that you share with your friends.
Pradheep and Suganya routinely schedule a boys night/girls night at least once every month. For Pradheep, having a night out with the boys is a way for him to let loose and forget about the stressors of life. It allows for him to feel a sense of freedom and it in turn makes him appreciate Suganya that much more. Suganya on the other hand says that she looks forward to a girls night to reconnect and catch up with her girls as she barely has the time to keep in touch, especially with everyone’s busy schedules. Therefore, just as you would make your partner your priority, your friends are equally as important to the health of your relationship in the long run. If they are your true friends, they will always make time for you, so it’s only a matter of finding that balance to maintain your relationship and friendships.
LEARN TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WITH YOUR PARTNER
Learning to communicate effectively with your partner is integral for healthy relationships. In fact, the lack of communication is the gateway to more arguments and resentment which can drive you further away from your significant other. When I asked our couples what their thoughts were on communicating with their partners, it was interesting to hear their take on what effective communication looks like to them. Shalini explained, "I think communication is the biggest thing every couple suffers with. When we get frustrated with our partners, it’s natural for us women to pick up the phone and call up one of our girlfriend’s to have a vent session. But I don’t think this is necessarily healthy or addressing the issue at hand. If you aren’t able to communicate your frustrations with your partner, that problem will continue to linger until you’ve eventually had enough and you’ll soon blow up! Start by talking it out with your partner, but make sure to bring up these bothersome topics at the right time and place. The best time to address these issues with your partner would be during pillow talk or when your partner is less stressed and is in the mood to listen to you."
Ram’s take on communication was that, "changing the way you say things or by changing your tone of voice can make all the difference with getting your points across. I think couples need to learn to take a step back and be in their partner’s shoes. Instead of blaming your partner by usings statements like, "you never do the dishes," try rephrasing your statements with the words "I feel." For i.e."I feel overwhelmed when the dishes are left in the sink for me to clean every night. I would really feel supported if we could work out a healthy compromise of one person washing the dishes and the other drying them to take the load off my shoulders after a long day at work." Based on Ram and Shalini’s point of view, it is safe to say that couples could really improve on their communications skills by being more empathetic towards each other and by keeping their private matters to themselves. When we let feelings of anger and resentment fester, it is hard to reignite the passion and desire you once had towards your partner.
With this sound advice from various couples who have gone through most if not all stages of a relationship, we can learn a thing or two on how to navigate our own relationships with a bit more awareness and understanding. There is always room for improvement in any relationship and these tips can help you and your loved ones maneuver the everyday challenges couples face with creating romance and intimacy.
**Looking to create your love story? Join the other couples who have dated and got married through myTamilDate.com!***
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