Making Love Last
In my last post, I shared a bit of information on how to stay in love. It was my humble opinion and by no means a definitive guide. Today I’m following up with the final installment of this particular blog entry: Making Love Last. It has been stated in many studies that “Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages [in America] will end in divorce if current trends continue.” With projections like that, how do we make our love last? What is the secret to those couples who have been happily for 50+ years? How do we guard the gates of your marriage from situations that threaten its existence? Well…
Let’s assume you did everything right up to now and you settled down with whom someone you are compatible with, truly love and made an agreement to share your life together. After the first ten years, how do you ensure that things stay as happy, if not happier than the day you said, “I do”?
Eject Negative People from your Life and Keep the Details of Your Union Private
Always remember that familiarity doesn’t equal true friendship. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is maintain a healthy and forward moving circle of friends. Get rid of people who are secretly in competition with you, people who repeatedly prove that they cannot be trusted with your feelings, who have demonstrated that they don’t respect you, your time or have your best interests at heart. Those who smile in your face but do not support your life choices or your endeavors need to be swiftly removed from your life. You know who they are. Get rid of them because they are not true friends. Familiarity doesn’t equal friendship.
A good judge of if someone should still be in your life is to ask yourself a few simple questions: without the ease of modern technology, would I still keep this person in my life? Is this person someone I would handwrite a letter to and call on a regular basis if that was the only way to maintain friendship? This is particularly true for ex-lovers. Ask yourself if you’d go through the trouble to stay in touch if it weren’t so easy and why you’re staying in touch. For what? What are they adding to your life that you cannot get from some else (someone new)? Are these “friends” moving you forward or holding you in place? Are they pulling you backwards? If they aren’t helping they’re most likely complicating. Let them go and move on. There is too much to do, see and learn with your chosen life partner to be slowed down by someone from your past. As one of my e-aunts always says, “just because you can [do something] doesn’t mean you should.” 🙂 Do not hang on to people who do not meet your expectations. You have set expectations and standards for the people you allow into your life, haven’t you?
Right along with getting rid of negative people is being cautious of those who knows what. Keep your private life private. The intimate details of what you and your spouse do should stay between the two of you. Having unnecessary people involved in the decision making of your marriage is an invitation for miscommunication. Instead of asking for advice or sharing what you did/want to do, sit down with your spouse and talk about your feelings/desires. Be honest with him or her (I will stick with “she” for a little while to not have to repeat “him or her”). Besides, we almost never tell another person EVERYTHING about our spouse, which means any advice they can give is with limited knowledge. No one knows more about your partner than you do. At least no one should. Lol Think for yourself and keep people and their opinions out as much as you can.
Don’t Allow Arguments
Another way to sustain a healthy relationship is to avoid arguments. The best way that I’ve seen this done is to ask questions instead of shouting back or talking over you’re your spouse to prove your point. If she accuses you of something or makes you feel a certain way or for doing or not doing something, simply ask, “Why do you feel that way? Can you give me a recent example of when I’ve done that to you? What would you prefer me do instead?” Ask these questions in a cool and calm manner. Instead of trying to prove your partner wrong, push her to prove her point with specific examples. If she can, then perhaps you need to take some stock in yourself and make some changes. If she can’t then you have successfully avoided an argument and ensured that she will think twice before picking an argument with you. It takes two to argue. If you don’t participate, there can be no fight. Be reasonable and talk everything out. Never walk out when there is an opportunity to discuss, heal and move forward.
“I have tried to show finally—and this was the hardest task of all—that reasonableness, so often painted in dull, unattractive gray, is the most desirable of all human virtues. Though it involves discipline and restraint, which are always unpopular, its restraints are tickets of admission to a wider world of happiness, understanding, and effectiveness. It is indeed the great need of mankind.”— Brand Blanshard
If you happen to be in a sore spot with your partner right now try this little exercise and see if it works for you to make things better. One thing I’ve learned to through the study of successful people is that they understand that our minds can’t always tell the difference between what’s happening right now and what happened in the past. What do I mean? I mean that you can alter the way you feel and your state of mind just by imagining being in a happier time and place. If you are having a tough day, turn off all distractions, sit down with your spouse and travel down memory lane. Talk about the happiest times you two shared together, the “remember whens.” Really get into it for five to ten minutes and then evaluate how you feel after you’re done. What could you smile about if you wanted to? When was a time the two of you had immeasurable fun? It doesn’t matter how many years you have to go back to find a pleasant memory, just find one. Take mental trips back in time to relive the most beautiful moments of your life—a birthday, a new puppy, the birth of a child, a graduation, etc. What could you laugh about right now if you wanted to? It may seem silly at first but try it. You can even do this on your own when you’re having a bad day at work. Escape through the power of your mind. It will quickly forget where you are and follow you to where you want to be: in your imagination. It’s a powerful exercise in how to control your emotions, which you should be constantly working on mastering. If you can control your thoughts then you can control your feelings and emotions. If you can control your feelings then you can control your actions/reactions. Are you with me?
Be Open to Trying New Things
Take that statement however you’d like. Physically, spiritually, intimately, and so on. Don’t be afraid of pushing the boundaries and deepening the bond you share with your spouse by gaining new experiences. If you knew exactly what was going to happen day after day, month after month for the rest of your life you would be bored stiff. Boredom may as well be death. Death of the soul, and no one wants that.
Try new things even if they take you out of your comfort zone. Check out this list of Non-Traditional Date Ideas if you’ve exhausted or don’t like those then invest in a pen and pad and sit down for 15 minutes a day to jot down ideas of things you’d like to do for or with your wife/husband. You’d be surprised how many ideas you can come up with if you just sit down and set your brain to the task of thinking them up. What does he or she like? What has he mentioned that he wants but never gets around to doing/getting? Think about it.
Remember Your Long-Term Goals and Make Daily Decisions That are in Line with Them
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
Maintaining a healthy relationship and/or the motivation to keep it healthy is like maintaining your body. You must nourish and work on it everyday. It must be a way of life and your lifestyle must be compatible with your long-term goals. If you want to spend quality time together then you cannot watch TV for three hours every night. Some of that time should be spent talking to each other with no disruption and in a balanced conversation so that one person isn’t being oblivious to the fact that they’re yapping non-stop. Go for a five minute walk after dinner rather than watch TV. Talk about your old dreams, open your mind to new ones.
Spending your life with someone is a cycle of coming together, planning, implementing, evaluating, creating, harnessing and channeling – always being in a state of continuous improvement. If you want to get good at anything in life you must study and dedicate daily effort. The same goes for love. Read books on how to become a better person if you have to. There is no problem or character trait that you’re dealing with that someone else hasn’t dealt with before. Trust me, someone has gone through whatever you’re going through and wrote a book about it. When you read, really pay attention. Don’t just go on long enough to twist the text into justifying an ill behavior pattern that you have. STOP and be honest with yourself. Work on emotional maturity and stability for without that you’re bound to be stuck in a cycle of petty arguments and disagreements.
Love is a place where all things are possible and the most wonderful thing about it is you can go there whenever you want. You just have to do it. Do Love. Don’t forget those little touches, the shoulder rubs, graze to the small of the back, the kiss to the neck, the clasping of hands when just watching TV or laying in bed reading. When thinking about how you’re going to act and behave with your chosen spouse, ask yourself if you want to be apart of masses who complain what what’s wrong with relationships or the smaller group who dedicate their lives to changing their surroundings until it’s to their liking? Make your love life worthwhile. Take the reigns and hold on firmly, only allowing it to go in the direction you wish to go in. Never doubt that tall things are possible, never question the power of your own mind and it’s ability to bring into your existence anything you want if you believe it enough and seek out ways to make it happen – whatever “it” is you want for your relationship. Go for it.
*If you liked this post please feel free to let me know your thoughts and to share it with a friend.*
Here are the links to “How to Find the Perfect Life Partner, Stay in Love and Make it Last” Part 1 and Part 2.