It’s never (ever) too late to try. Ashley Turner has some perfect tips for difficult times—this is how to save a relationship.
One of the biggest pitfalls of being in a long term romantic relationship is slipping into routine and creating false assumptions of how your partner will show up or how a specific circumstance/conversation/situation will unfold based on previous interactions. We trap ourselves in the past—stifling any chance for growth, improvement or evolution. This stale fog of expectation and conditioning kills romance and can quickly escalate into arguments, resentments, accusations and defensiveness.
Here are some simple steps to rekindle romance in your relationship, foster growth and perceive your partner through the open eyes of love:
Enjoy: Infuse Your Relationship With Play
A sense of joy, play and childlike fun increases romance and sparks the ‘feel good hormones’ of oxytocin and seratonin.
Commit to take your partner on a weekly date for the sheer pleasure of it (no kids or friends, please). Enjoy each other’s company while mixing in fun. Think of something you can do as a team that creates a joyful environment. Consistency is crucial and by committing to a once a week getaway, you place your relationship high on the priority list. Actions speak louder than words.
I recommend picking something physical (to pump up the hormones and get the blood moving) and alternate with a ‘surprise date’ every other week. In other words, if you go out every Friday night, choose an activity to surprise each other. One week you plan the date. The next, your partner does. This keeps an element of adventure and spontaneity as you find something your partner would enjoy, keep it a secret and surprise them.
Getting out in nature, being athletic or artistic all help stimulate the right brain to pull us out of our logical, linear mind and into the heart.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in our lives and the first thing we tend to neglect is our loving relationships. Remember to continually nurture each another. Give massages, make healthy food you know your partner likes, be gentle, sweet and thoughtful, give small surprise gifts and spend quality time together.
Make sure you know each others’ love language and are clear on how you each need to be nurtured and loved. Make the effort to learn your partner’s ‘language’ and give love in the way they need to feel it—not just the way you need to receive.
See the Light: Hold Your Partner in Positive Regard
Train yourself to see the light in your partner. In long term relationships we often become critical of our partner or inadvertently focus on the negative habits that irritate us. The mind tends towards the negative. Flex and train the muscle of your mind to seek the positive. This is a huge shadow for women in particular, as we tend to get nit-picky which undermines our partners, shuts them down and builds resentment.
In yoga, we practice seeing the good and beauty in another by focusing on the Divine or light (jyoti) within. What are your partner’s greatest attributes? Recognize and affirm their particular brand of magic. See their positive traits and remind them what they do well. Consider the qualities that originally attracted you. Get in the habit of bolstering the positive and reframing the negative. Build up their confidence by consistently mirroring back to them through positive reinforcement. Neuroscience now proves that the way we look upon an object immediately changes its behavior. When we are seen in a positive light our sense of Self improves and our attitude and actions shift.
Do Something Different
One of the biggest complaints in couples’ therapy is boredom and lack of adventure or spontaneity. Avoid getting too comfortable in your relationship. Do something different. Explore a new town. Try a different restaurant. Activate new skills and trigger new perceptions by starting a hobby together. Take a wine tasting or cooking class. Learn to ski or do a couples’ yoga class. Maintain a sense of adventure. It’s easy to get lazy or take your relationship or partner for granted. Keep surprise and adventure alive and your partner will thank you.
[image: via mrhayata on flickr]