Keep Love Alive
I believe that finding,
sustaining, growing, and enjoying satisfying relationships
is one of greatest joys and challenges we have
as human beings. We have generally been blessed
with a tremendous desire to love and be loved;
to listen and be listened to; to take care of
and accept care from others. And yet meaningful,
sustainable relationships often elude us – especially
as it applies to the opposite sex.
Here are some things I’ve learned in my walk through
life - as a divorced single mom, widower, and
over 50 remarried - about finding and sustaining
a “soul-mate” relationship:
1. Know who you are and what you want. You’ll
never get what you want if you don’t know what
it is. As women look for love, we often take what
comes our way rather than seeking what and who
we want. Knowing the type of person you want to
spend the rest of your life with comes from knowing
who you are – your values, interests, what you
can/will tolerate, what you won’t.
2. Learn how to disagree, speak your mind, and/or
Avoiding conflict is death for a marriage. It
may seem like you’re on the right path by never,
ever arguing or disagreeing but avoiding conflict
requires repression of anger, which leads to depression
of feelings. Passion is extinguished in this environment.
Learn to fight fair and keep the slate clear.
(see article on What Are You Afraid Of?)
3. Speaking of passion – keep the fire lit! I
think women often underestimate the critical role
sexuality and having a really good sex life plays
in a successful marriage. Men, you know what I’m
talking about! Create romantic opportunities,
ask for what you want, talk, talk, talk – do what
you as a couple need to do to keep this aspect
of your relationship alive and well.
4. Don’t allow children and child-raising to take
precedence over your marital relationship. A great
marriage is the best gift you can give your children.
Get away from the kids on a regular basis. Find
a good sitter! Arrange for an overnight with just
the two of you at least once a year. Talk about
matters other than the kids, the bills, the family.
Someday it will just be the two of you again.
Be sure you still know each other.
5. Take responsibility for your actions and affirm
each other. Say, “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake
or hurt your partner. Say, “Thank you” when they
do something for you. Appreciate what your husband
does! Don’t take “expected” action for granted.
Recognition and affirmation are two of the best
gifts you can give each other. Spend them freely.
6. Don’t take on the persona of, “I shouldn’t
have to ask – he should know.” This is one of
the greatest mistakes women make in a relationship.
I hear women say things like, “But if I have to
ask for it, the real meaning/pleasure/gesture
is lost.” Get over it! Men can’t read our minds.
They’re not always tuned in or on the same wave
length. Maybe they just don’t know. Be a big girl
and ask for what you want! (I’m pretty tough on
7. Get help if you need it. Don’t put your head
under a bushel. If your relationship is in trouble
(no matter whose “fault” either one of you thinks
it is), seek out ways to make it better. Find
a relationship coach, a therapist, a marriage
counselor, a book – I highly recommend John Gray’s
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus In the
Bedroom (it’s on tape so you can listen to it
together), Don’t give up – keep searching and
talking and striving until things get better.
The answer rarely lies in changing partners.
Review what you have, what you want, the hidden
or apparent treasure of love. If you have a soul
mate, never, never take this relationship for
granted. It is rare indeed!
Mershon Niesner, PCC, CPCC Professional Certified
Author of Ribbons of Love – Affirmations for Abundant
Living. Visit www.coachmershon.com
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