The death rate of marriages is now far greater than it was twenty years ago. Why is that? It seems it’s a rarity to see couples who have been married twenty-plus years and yet, it still strikes a chord in all of us when we see couples up in years walking together holding hands.
It doesn’t take long to determine who’s dating and who’s settled too far into the comfort zone of married life. Next time you’re in a restaurant, observe the couples around you. Are they talking? Holding hands? Or are they engrossed in their phones, the paper, or simply eating without even looking at one another?
Truth is marriage is the most rewarding relationship I’ve ever been involved in, but it is also the hardest undertaking I’ve engage in as well. It takes daily, constant care to stick and stay together. There are often great sacrifices necessary to create a harmony or team spirit. And the daily skirmishes must be weighed based on priority and importance. One of the tougher skills to staying married is overlooking faults, mistakes, and just plain annoyances.
Here are a 9 secrets that could help your own relationship’s longevity:
1. Don’t lose the flirt.
Good, sexy flirting with your spouse reminds the other that they are at the forefront of your thinking. It’s like the seasoning on a good taco. The taco is nutritional by itself, but the hot sauce adds the zesty flavor and extra enjoyment. Sexy verbal texts, good grooming, and even pizza by candle-light can be sexy.
2. Shower together.
Create your own little world away from the rest of the universe even if for only ten minutes. Generally, lives pull us in two different directions all day long. Starting the day together allows us to check in with one another. And a few moments of skin to skin contact can make all the difference in the world. In the real world, outside of dating, the joy of making love can be relegated to once a week, so ten minutes in the shower to just reconnect is a valuable sticking point.
3. Team Work
Understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses will better build a team that provides a well-oiled problem-solving machine when crisis’s hit—and we all know the crisis will hit sooner or later. A partner you can count on with their unique skills can make a successful alliance. There’s nothing harder on a marriage than having one of the partners discount the other. For the disregarded spouse, it’s like being a world class athlete drafted to the big leagues and then benched because the coach doesn’t recognize your ability to perform. Take the time to observe the strengths in your spouse.
There’s nothing harder on a relationship than when it becomes all about survival and work. If you’re job takes all your time, stay single. If you’re married strive to perfect balance in a chaotic world, by finding moments of fun and intimacy. If you have children, employee grandma, trade with a friend or hire a sitter on a regular basis. It is possible to carve out time, even if it’s minutes; people make time for what’s important to them and our spouses know that. Let go of the idea of reconnecting on vacation or a twice a year extravagant date. Don’t lose those ideas but realize that breakfast once a week, a short drive, or a soak in the tub for twenty minutes can be just as invigorating to the psyche of a relationship.
5. Little Things Matter.
“Please.” “Thank you.” “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” “How’d I get so lucky?” All these little things matter. Write them on a note, text them, leave a card, on the bathroom mirror. Find twenty ways to say “I love you” or “You mean the world to me” and say them often. Do a chore that is typically the other person’s job without saying a word. Leave a voice mail message listing five things that you admire about your significant other. Praise them for doing the day to day mundane tasks they do to keep the team afloat.
6. Sex Play
Talk about your boudoir fun before, during, and after. Like a vacation, a portion of the fun is in planning and anticipation, then actually participating in the trip and then reliving the fun. Treat your sex play with equal anticipation and memories. It’s possible in the discussions that you’ll find out from your partner details that they found exceptionally worth repeating or tabling for the next time. Be open to new ideas. Never act wounded if your partner has a suggestion or you may quench the desire to improve or explore deeper enjoyment.
Happy couples having sex regularly have more potential benefits than just longevity. Enjoying each other in all of the above-listed ways can:
- Lower heart attack risk
- Strengthen bladder function
- Stave off potential cancer
- Lower blood pressure
- Lessen pain symptoms
- Improves sleep
- Increases communication
- Fights against depression
You don’t have to work out together, which can be fun, but you do need to work out even if it’s on your own. Exercise has a way of improving confidence, self-esteem, physical appearance, increasing stamina, lowering stress and escalating intensity during love-making. Hormones and enzymes do their diligence to take orgasms from good to great. Staying healthy may keep you from medications that may interrupt intimacy. And as we age, exercise improves ability and frequency. Strength training and resistance exercises lead to a higher sex drive and better sexual function. Core training keeps strength in the areas needed most often for love making. Cardio exercise, in turn, boosts your libido.
8. Fight Fair
Avoid the blame shifting weapons during a fight. Likewise, don’t bring up old fights if they’ve been resolved. Put away intimidation techniques—no progress is ever made that way. Try to stay on topic; fight one problem at a time. Don’t cloudy the fight with too many issues. Own your responsibility in the fight and be quick to say when you’re wrong. Respect each other’s perspectives and try to see issues from their point of view. Practice grace. Table intense discussions after twenty minutes (done or not) and agree to discuss it again the following day; clearer heads maybe able to resolve the problem when time is given for processing.
9. Big Moves
Occasionally, and not on an expected holiday, birthday, anniversary or planned celebration, women need a big move that says we’re still the one you want. We know you need to work, that kids diversify our time, that we each need ‘me’ time, but we still need your undivided attention or a memory that we can hold on to when we’re living life Mach II with our hair on fire. We miss you.
It’s not a stretch to recognize that falling in love is much more intense and exciting than staying in love. Long-term commitments take effort, strategy, forgiveness, and compromise. But long-term marriages can be like a well-oiled machine. I remember the years I played shortstop and my best friend played second. We’d been on the same time, in the same positions for so long that we became known as the double-play masters. We weren’t better or faster than anyone else in the league but because we knew exactly where each other would be, we could turn an out without looking. Long term relationships can reach that kind of assurance when they learn the tricks of sticking and staying.
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