Four years into a relationship can be like earning a college degree. To some couples, this is still part of the honeymoon stage. For my husband and me, who’ve come to be so familiar to each other, the sweetness and affection sometimes seem to fade. As early as the second year into our marriage, I sometimes felt my energy drained by adjusting to a new life with our twin babies and a husband whose presence I no longer felt.
When we drop efforts for our partners, we can be in danger of losing the relationship. At the least, it can weaken. Sometimes, we make efforts and don’t receive our expected appreciation. This can lead us to feel jaded, and that can pave the way for diminishing love.
For us, in those moments when the spark seems to dwindle, we haven’t let this triumph over our relationship. There are ways to rekindle the flame and keep it burning—ways that are not necessarily sexual, but ways that have worked for us.
1. Look at each other in the eyes. Focus. This is about giving your attention when you communicate, whether it be a simple talk or a deep tête-à-tête over a serious matter. Do not let your cellphone disturb you. It is important to be a full listener to your partner. There will always be a time for other things that you can do when apart.
2. Give a massage. Going to a massage parlor can be nice. But once in a while giving your partner a massage can also be something really sweet. Giving a massage may be physically tiring, but if you do it with love you’re less likely to mind the exhaustion. When you provide your partner the relaxation any body needs, hearing the uhs and ahs from the relief you give is worth it.
3. Scrub your partner’s back in the shower. I personally take pleasure in scrubbing my husband’s back. It is a deeply intimate connection, and after all, you don’t want others to do it instead.
4. Send a thoughtful text at least once a day. Take the time to let your partner know you care and are thinking about them, even if you don’t get a reply. We get to be so used to knowing each other that we assume we’re both ok. Instead, make it a point to send at least one message a day.
5. Give a pedicure. Like a massage, touching your partner’s feet (or hands) is something intimate that you can share. In addition, you can always give an affectionate glance and sincere smile to go with the genuine care you are giving.
6. Bring something when you go home—from anywhere. When my husband comes home from work or travel and he brings me something. I return his efforts by doing the same. When a friend gives me some chocolates, let’s say, I divide it into two for us, or I give them all to him. When it’s my payday, I buy him his favorites snack. Running an errand in the market, I buy him something I think he would like. The thought that comes with these small gifts is always appreciated.
7. Share a meal in a single plate. Sure it can be mushy if you do it everyday. But you don’t have to. It is an intimate way to share, especially when you are able to do this without any hesitation or awkwardness. You can even do this while in a rare group-eating escapade, or when you eat with visitors at home and your plates aren’t enough for everyone. Sharing a meal on one plate can be a symbolic way to represent the union you have made in your relationship.
8. Welcome each other home with a kiss and a warm hug. A kiss is common, but a hug is a requirement that can go with it hand in hand. Your bodies do not have to feel each other only when in the bed sleeping together. A warm, tight hug when your partner comes home can ease them and give both of you comfort.
9. Prepare a meal or snack for your partner. For someone like me, who does not cook, this is one way that sparked our relationship. My husband appreciates this act because I don’t usually do it but I make the effort. Preparing food my husband can take to work also makes him think of me as he eats.
10. Surprise your partner once in a while. Some say this is cheesy or buttery, but I say it’s very sugary! To ignite that spark further, a small surpirse is an effort that is indispensable. Leave a note in your room about how you enjoyed quality time together. Put a message in your partner’s bag that will surprise them during a busy day. Take your partner someplace where you haven’t dined together—unannounced. Suggest an unusual date during an unexpected time. Any of these acts, your partner is sure to love!
Yes, acts of love don’t have to always be sexual. Making love is not the only name of the game, or the salt and pepper of your dish. One ingredient you need to keep things sweet and spicy is to have your own share of efforts towards your partner. These are ways we are able to keep the fire burning in our marriage.
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