Over the years, some of my friends that have talked with me about their relationships have many of the same or very similar complaints or ‘issues’ if you will. When I was younger, I gave the type of advice you’d expect from an inexperienced youth – to dump them and find someone else. After personally experiencing losing the love of my life because of miscommunication, assumptions and not talking about things – ignoring the pink elephant in the room – I have a new outlook on relationships of every kind, but especially those with your spouse. (Thank GOD we’ve been able to work through our issues and are now very happy!)
What I’ve learned is what a PRECIOUS GIFT it is that someone LOVES YOU!!! Not only do they love you, but they chose you… they chose you despite all of your quirks, annoying habits, morning breath, messy hair and crazy ass! They saw something in you… maybe it’s a reflection of the love they see in themselves, but regardless why they love you, the point is that they love you and they’re in it for the long haul. What a miracle it is, that someone wants to spend their entire life with YOU!!
First of all, they didn’t just choose you (if you’re in a serious, long term relationship) you chose them too – and in your choosing them, you gave them the permission to be able to count on you – for the long haul. They’re letting their guard down, releasing their fears – whether it be fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, intimacy, etc. Most people have some kind of fears that we must face and overcome when it comes to a relationship and the fact that someone is facing down their fears to be with you should earn them (and you) a few brownie points of respect among you two.
I can’t remember where I saw it, Dr. Phil I think… but I remember the message loud and clear: You must CHOOSE your spouse EVERYDAY!!! Not just in the beginning when you’re dating or freshly wed; but EVERYDAY! The biggest complaint that the men who have discussed it with me, is that they no longer have sex with their wives. Their wives were no longer affectionate, cuddly, romantic, outgoing, nor having deep meaningful conversations about various topics that help you feel like you’re connecting. But guess what? Neither are the men!! Folks, you should know this – I shouldn’t have to tell you relationships are a two way street – you must work at keeping the intimacy alive. I get it though, we get into routines, ruts, schedules, appointments, kids (and the million outings and day to day work of raising a happy, healthy kid) day to day life takes a toll on the time have left to unwind, clean the house, relax, or spend quality time romancing and surprising the one we love.
But that’s the “trick” to a happy, healthy, long term relationship – keep the intimacy alive! If your spouse drifts away into “task mode” as I like to call it, then it’s up to you to do a few extra things to reel them back in… whatever works for you two. Sometimes direct and sweet is all it takes: “Come cuddle with me honey.” How can they say no? If they do, gently remind them “it’s been awhile, put that down you can do it later – come cuddle with me.” If it’s been a long time, I always recommend to my friends that they arrange for the kids to be away for the night (sleepover, family, sitter) and have a nice candlelit dinner ready for your sweetie when they walk in the door. Have some music very softly playing, a bottle of wine on the table (and one in the fridge for later in the bedroom!) have in mind some things you can talk about that don’t have anything to do with the daily grind, kids, responsibilities, or the like. This is a date with your sweetie, who you’re trying to relight the flame of love with… stay focused on keeping the mood romantic and light, but don’t force it, just let it flow. If the conversation gets a little dull, bring up something else your spouse might like to do, like take a romantic trip somewhere – even if it’s just a weekend getaway, you can start the initial talking of planning a trip that will help plant the thoughts of gentle beach waves, romantic walks down the beach, watching the sunset – you get the idea. After dinner, to initiate the touching (let’s face it, if it’s been awhile since you’ve hugged or kissed, getting back to it can be awkward at first, it’s ok and actually more romantic if you take it slow) I recommend getting up, walking up to your mate, extend your hand and ask for a dance (the music you have playing is slow and romantic, right?) There’s nothing like a little old fashioned courting to make a woman feel like a girl again… J
If you’re feeling there’s a bigger problem with your relationship, like maybe you’re feeling neglected or have been pushed aside since you started having kids – I highly recommend talking to your spouse, in addition to gently adding the intimacy back into your lives. Walk up behind them when they’re cooking or washing the dishes and gently put your hands on their waste while you gently kiss their neck... there’s lots of little things you can do to rekindle the touching, the kissing, the hugs – you just have to remember what it was like when you first fell in love and all the little things that made your spouse smile or giggle with delight. If you’re having issues because your spouse doesn’t seem as attractive to you as they once did, I recommend not only having some more candlelit dinners, but candlelit baths (less is more here men! You only need one or two candles) candle light or dim lighting is great for taking years off (I learned this by getting out of the tub one night and catching a glimpse of myself looking 20 years younger!) I know it’s a quick, shotty short cut that may cause some to frown, but let’s get real – if you want to save your marriage and rekindle the love light, you gotta use what works – and fast! There is no time to wait – you never know if your spouse is ready to leave because they feel like you do but they might be drowning in heartbreak and unable to know how to proceed, and of course because we never know how much time we have left here. It’s not easy waters to navigate if you haven’t been able to talk about certain things for a while, or if ever. It takes practice to learn to open up and some people never learn. There is no time to wait… the love of your life needs you, whether they’re saying so or not – if you’re feeling alone or neglected, chances are they are too. When you do talk about things, try not to place blame so as to not start an argument. The goal is to create a safe haven in which you can both share your feelings without being hurtful and find resolution.
If you’re having trouble being attracted to your spouse after so many years, I recommend that you focus on the things you do find attractive or simply like about them. Focus on the positive things, the things that make them great. I’ve written previously about how one can fall in love with just about anybody, if you CHOOSE to! The mind is a very powerful thing – if you decide someone is attractive, they will be – and vice versa.
Before you throw in the towel, remember what an honor it is that this person chose you… they love you enough to still be there – not getting the loving intimacy they deserve, they still sit and wait. Don’t take their love for granted… like Bob Marley says “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” And the same goes for women. I had to put a name to what it is that happens to us when we lose our desire for intimacy - we get in task mode and never come back! We get so carried away taking care of everyone and everything, making sure everyone has what they need that not only do we normally forget to take care of ourselves, but we also forget to keep the romance alive within us. If we get too busy with life, we may not even think of romance, let alone try to be romantic or dress up for our significant other. We have to remember to pamper ourselves and keep the romance alive by not forgetting about our men! Most of us know that men are like big babies or little boys and if you’re a mother of a little boy, then you know what little sweethearts they are and how they have just an enormous sweetness and lovingness about them. Now let’s think about it - they don’t really grow up in some ways… they still have these giant hearts, that are just overflowing with love and they get so hurt when they don’t get enough love and attention – whether they say it or not. Remember, your man has a need for love and affection – are YOU going to give it to him? And men, remember the song lyrics “who’s making love to your woman, while you’re out making love to someone else?” The biggest mistake you can make is thinking no one else wants your spouse.
You have to keep the love and passion alive by being loving and passionate!! Some women I’ve spoken with, merely want more quality time with their man and their men aren’t stepping up. Personally, I think one reason is because they don’t know what you want – more time, great, how do they create more time? That’s not the point, but that might be what they’re hearing. I recommend is that you give them ideas of what you want – just like we’re supposed to speak up about what we like in bed, we’re supposed to speak up about what it is we expect and what will make us happy. Start with the simplest things… picnics, walks together (holding hands and talking), a weekend getaway without the kids or stress of chores – if you’re near a beach, maybe just a picnic and lounging on the beach together. The point is to keep it simple and inexpensive. Less is more when it comes to being able to just relax and talk together – and who wants to have to spend wads of cash a couple of times a week just to be able to talk to you and reconnect? Frequent costly outings could put a strain and have the opposite effect. Other romantic gestures could be leaving little love notes for your spouse to find, sending them a random surprise love letter (email works!) a love poem – yours or someone else’s. And I don’t know about other women, but I love it when my man fixes things around the house or works on my car! (Love my manly man!) One of my favorites is when he makes me breakfast… in bed is great, but just the fact that he took the time to make me my favs, makes me feel special and of course loved.
We’ve all heard “it’s the little things” – because it’s true. I think the little things mean so much to us because it’s little… for example, my boyfriend just likes to eat so one could easily chalk it up to no big deal or insignificant that he cooks breakfast – but I don’t see it that way. It has a deeper, personal meaning to me because of my dad – the little things matter because even though they’re little, they’re important too. It’s the small gestures of love and kindness that create the feeling of being loved; someone took the time to think of you, even if only for a moment. They thought you’d like something, want something or would appreciate a little surprise – whatever it is, the fact that they thought of you instead of a billion other things, is what makes the little things big.
If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen! Don’t sit around feeling sad about the lack of intimacy – do something! Don’t delay, your happiness awaits! J
Love & Light,
© Shelle Smith
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