One day you’re passionately in love professing eternal pledges of togetherness and then a couple of years later your partner can’t do anything right and feels like a ball and chain you need to cut off. Everything your partner does begins to annoy you from banking to the bedroom. You want to go solo, but you still hold on to the memory, the slightest possibility of reviving an ember of love back into the flame of romance: Partings are indeed a mixed bag of sweet sorrow. Motivation is the key to success. While it takes two to tango, it takes only one to trigger change. Here’s how to restore your relationship:
Begin to affirm your partner in your mind and in your words. Don’t focus on the little mistakes. Nagging chokes all feelings of love; criticism erodes confidence. When one partner feels insecure and unappreciated, there will inevitably be an escalation of harsh words, for an offense is the best defense. Confidence is the key element in bedroom performance. If a man does not feel like a good provider, appreciated for his contribution he will not be able to make love.
Respect your partner regardless of monetary success. We tend to value income more than other attributes like creativity, wit or kindness. When a partner loses a job, common to this economy, or settles for a lesser paying job, often tension ensues in the household. Recently New York Magazine did a feature on women who financially supported their husbands. Most of these relationships were crumbling because the female breadwinners looked down at their husbands as though they were children or ne’er do wells. This affected the woman’s bedroom. Apparently American women are not yet ready for a role reversal.
Get real! In the beginning romance and fantasy are synonymous. However, daily relationships, which entail household chores like dirty laundry, smell of reality. Partners need to lower their expectations. No one is perfect and everyone changes. Bring fantasy into the bedroom. Dress for bedroom success; set the stage with candles and music and get yourself psyched! The brain is your most erotic organ. Play games, or meet your partner in a public place and pretend that you are seeing one another for the first time and act that way. In a sense maybe you are seeing your partner for the first time with different eyes.
Cultivate loyalty. Start using the term, “we” more often. Become a team and fulfill each other’s strong and weak points. Support and defend one another in front of colleagues, friends and family. At the home front delegate household, banking, work, and parenting tasks according to ability and availability. Chart and schedule tasks to clearly see in black and white. By the way abilities and interests change over time so keep updating and re-evaluating.
Communicate with each other. Each partner has to express feelings and thoughts, be heard and appreciated. There is great value in being a good listener. Communication involves both listening and speaking, not shouting or uttering insults. Demonstrate your love daily. Your partner needs to hear you say “I love you,” or feel a hug and a kiss.
Work on your timing. Good communication means that you chose the right time for discussions. Don’t ask for what you need or want as soon as your spouse comes home from work. Wait for a more relaxed time alone to express yourself.
Use humor to defuse volatile scenes. Often arguments accelerate because a partner is irritable to begin with due to work pressures, insufficient sleep, improper eating, etc. Instead of pushing your spouse’s button see your life as a sit-com. Change the drama in your house into a comedy with a happy ending. Laughter releases a lot of tension and helps to objectify and re-interpret the situation.
Exercise. Working out gets rid of stress, raises endorphins and makes you look better. Exercise raises libido too. In my book Turn On Your Inner Light I show partnered workouts specifically designed to increase passion. Also, when you exercise, you sweat out the small stuff and are less prone to be irritated about laundry your partner drops on the floor, toothpaste that is left uncapped, or your lover crunching an apple in bed.
Create a ritual just for the two of you: Perhaps, dinner together, or a walk after dinner; reading the paper in bed together; cuddling on the couch to watch your favorite TV show. Working out together is a healthy, invigorating and arousing ritual. So let’s get physical!
Small steps, giant gains. Implement little changes and watch the dynamics of your relationship change. Love yourself first. Come back to your core self and delight in who you are. Before you were a spouse or a parent, you were you- a separate, marvelous being. When you come to terms with yourself, watch your significant other fall in love with you again.
Most importantly, have a romance with life!
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com