Last week I was at my favorite coffee shop just a few blocks away from my loft. It’s my home away from home and favorite spot to write my blog posts and guest articles for awesome websites like New Love Times. The trendy art, vintage furniture, original architecture are a great combination and give the place unique character. The busy vibe is inspiring, and I recognize many of the regular patrons that rush in and out for their morning coffee on their way to work. This coffee shop sits in a prime location and is a local favorite, which draws an eclectic mix of people. This makes it a perfect place to people watch and observe all types of people from all different walks of life.
On this particular morning, I got there extra early, ordered my usual and began sipping away at my favorite coffee drink. As I surveyed the room, I couldn’t help but notice the upbeat couple seated a few tables down from me. I had seen them several times before and they always looked vibrant, happy, and exceptionally peppy for 7:30 in the morning on a weekday. I noticed that they always leaned in towards one another, held hands, and made eye contact. While I couldn’t hear what they were saying, their conversations seemed intense yet lighthearted, and I noticed that they always laughed together.
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Judging from their appearance, they looked to be in their early 40s, but certainly didn’t act like the typical couple in this age range. In my experience, most couples in this age group have satisfactory relationships, but tend to pay more attention to their phones than to each other. While I offer tools, techniques, and advice to help couples build more fulfilling and happy relationships, I always want to learn more from the couples that have been together for decades and remain happy and fulfilled throughout. Naturally, I was curious about this couple and wanted to know the secrets to their successful relationship.
After some hesitation and contemplation, I decided to introduce myself and asked if I could do an impromptu interview and learn more about them. I figured I had little to lose. In the best case scenario, I’d have a great chat with them, gain valuable insight, and have something to write about for my next blog post; in the worst case scenario, they would think I was strange and would tell me to get lost.
Luckily for me as well as New Love Times readers, I had a great conversation with the couple and learned how they manage to remain honeymooners after 19 years of marriage, 3 kids, stressful careers and all of the other challenges of life. From my on the spot interview, I now have 5 tips on how to keep the spark alive in your own long term relationship.
1. Make romance and dating a priority
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With all that’s going on in our busy lives today, it’s easy to become preoccupied with anything other than our relationships. Couples tend to feel that dating, romance and their relationship should come last, and that they’re doing the best thing by always putting kids, family, work and other commitments before the relationship. I’m certainly not saying that these things are any less important, but how can you give your best in all other aspects of your life if you don’t have a solid relationship and emotional connection with your partner? If you consider your relationship to be the foundation on which you build all other aspects of your life, then it makes sense to reinforce and maintain a solid foundation. You can do this by making your relationship as much of a priority as everything else in your life together. Have regularly scheduled nights where you get dressed up and go on a date to reconnect, be romantic, and maintain intimacy.
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2. Laugh together
Laughter is the best medicine. Yes, we’ve heard this cliché a million times before, and for good reason, I might add. Laughter releases endorphins and helps create positive thoughts. It also bonds people together, builds deeper intimacy and trust. No wonder couples that have been together for years say humor is one of the things that has gotten them through the hard times. Being able to laugh together as a couple will help you put things into perspective, make life’s challenges more tolerable, and find humor in the crazy situations life places you into.
3. Show each other appreciation
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The longer we’re together, the more comfortable we become with each other. While this is one of the many positive aspects of being together long term, it may become a problem if we begin to take our partners for granted and/or expect things as a result of being in the relationship. The solution is to show your partner appreciation and illustrate that they are important to us. This can be something as simple as acknowledging that they went out of their way to do something thoughtful for you and saying thank you. Sending flowers to her work or stopping by his office with lunch, is another simple way to show your appreciation.
4. Be Diplomatic
Regardless of how compatible the two of you are, you won’t always see eye to eye, and on occasion, you’re going to have disagreements. The key to handling this successfully is to speak calmly and avoid accusatory words, tone or confrontational body language. In addition, replacing the word “you” with the word “I” keeps the conversation neutral instead of hostile or negative. As an example, a phrase such as, “you don’t care about my feelings,” can sound as if you’re heaping blaming on your partner. Instead, “I feel that my feelings are not being heard,” takes away the accusatory and argumentative tone, and you are now simply discussing your feelings and not your partner’s behavior.
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5. Sleep together
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Research suggests that sleeping together reduces stress, anxiety, and promotes a more restful night’s sleep. Cuddling together, talking, and reflecting on your thoughts and feelings builds trust, intimacy, and a deeper emotional connection. Understandably, work, kids, and sleep patterns may not always be conducive to sleeping together all the time. Something is better than nothing, and making a point to sleep together as much as possible is the next best thing.
So there you have it, five important tips on how to keep the spark alive when you’ve been together for a while. Relationships take work, and it takes two committed people to maintain the honeymoon phase. But as the couple at the coffee shop has illustrated, it can certainly be done. Good luck and happy relationship building!
Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License