Tuesday, April 28, 2009

5 Ways to Relight Your Fire

Have you ever noticed that when you are in a relationship for awhile you can forget how to create that ‘spark?’ Or you think you’re doing all the right things to light the other person’s fire but they seem to be missing your delivery?

You feel like you’re shooting blanks. And when you don’t get the response you’re looking for, it can lead to frustration, blame, disconnect and virtually throwing your hands up in the air saying, “Well since nothing is working, and they clearly don’t appreciate me, I’ll just stop trying!”

Ack! I don’t know about you, but when I sense a withdrawal from my partner I get pretty uppity and the thought that goes through my head is, “You think that’s withdrawal? I’ll show you what withdrawal IS!” And that approach always gets us more of what we want doesn’t it?

No, it doesn’t.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship five days, five weeks, five years or fifty years, everyone experiences some element of this challenge. After interviewing countless couples over the course of the last ten years, one of the biggest common denominators in how they have continued to stay together is to take the time to re-discover themselves and their significant other.

Based on their wisdom and feedback, I’ve compiled their responses so that I can share them with you. Here are five ways re-light your fire together:

1. Spend Quality Time. Quality time doesn’t mean meeting up with a group of friends or having a bunch of people over for dinner. It means that you turn the television off and eliminate distractions to talk with and listen to your loved one. (One couple said if you really want to find out how resilient your relationship is, take a road trip of at least ten hours together!)

2. Learn Something New Together.
Time together creates a certain level of comfortability. While we certainly like to be comfortable, it can also lead to complacency. We get so caught up in the way we are used to doing things and what’s comfortable that we stop investing in ourselves and our relationship. Take a cooking class. Go to a wine tasting. Learn a romance language and practice saying, “You are the most amazing man/woman I’ve ever known,” in Spanish, Italian or French.

3. Keep Your Sense of Humor. Yes, even when it comes to emotionally charged situations. Keeping you humor doesn’t just mean making light of a situation. Some disagreements are appropriate and emotions are a part of life. The secret to longevity in your relationship is being able to move through those challenging situations with levity. Don’t hold onto resentment and let those skeletons in the closet take over – be able to laugh at yourself and let things go sooner.

4. Talk to Each Other. All too often we can actually be afraid of talking to each other. Afraid of hurting another person’s feelings, afraid of telling the truth, afraid of hearing the truth. We talk to other people about everyone else rather than talk to each other about what really counts. Tell each other what you really feel. What you’re experiencing. That’s the authentic “you.” (The fear of communicating will always be worse than the conversation itself, and you’ll rediscover new energy in your relationship after talking.)

5. Keep the Romance Alive. There is no end to romance. It is an ongoing creative expression that tells someone you care. That they are appreciated, important and desired. As a relationship matures, the romance can evolve as well. Never assume that just because something worked once that it will have the same effect every time. Be creative. Try new things. While you may feel one thing is romantic, your significant other may interpret romance entirely differently. When being “romantic” always start with the other person’s definition first.

What surprised me the most about most of the couples I interviewed was that many of them said they rediscovered their relationship when they rediscovered themselves. Some had the opportunity to rediscover themselves after their children went off to college, a personal crisis or they decided that it was time for some personal growth.

Whichever way you choose to learn, our relationships are always a reflection of ourselves in some way. So have some fun…and rediscover the joy of being, and being together!

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