For women stuck in logistical ruts – often needing to perform the duties of partners, caregivers, housekeepers and chauffeurs – life definitely isn’t all wine and roses.
To transform from the day-to-day rut of family living to rediscover the spark of appreciation that brought partners together at the start, many people — from “single-and-looking” through “married-for-decades” — are choosing to partner with a relationship coach to help build a successful, healthy romantic relationship.
Author, Relationship Coach and Marriage Intervention Catalyst Jackie Black, PhD, BCC says, “Let’s face it. The path to wine and roses can take a sharp detour from ‘happily ever after’ to ‘game over’ at dirty laundry, flu symptoms, and bills.”
“We do our society a disservice with reality-show notions of romance and the idea of the knight in shining armor,” adds Deborah Roth, a New York-based Relationship, Career and Life Coach as well as the owner of Spirited Living and an ICF Professional Certified Coach.
“I tell my couples that the biggest factor for success in a long-term relationship is the willingness of both partners to do the work.”
Dr Black and Ms Roth offer these practical strategies and timeless tips to help any relationship become a long-term love.
1) Realize that relationships are like bank accounts.
If you keep pulling money out without making deposits, bankruptcy is certain.
“What does the balance sheet of your love life look like?” asks Dr Black. “Relationships are living breathing entities. Your investment of deliberate intention, and focused time, energy and attention is the order of the day.”
Your relationship can’t wait until it is convenient for you, the to-do list is done, or you are at leisure. Relationships grow and flourish when both people show up and make consistent deposits. One person alone, even if that one person makes huge deposits, cannot build and maintain a joyful, satisfying relationship for both.
2) Choose your words — and gestures — carefully
When conflict arises in a relationship, Roth says demonstrating mutual respect is a must. “You’ve got to be responsible in your language toward one another.”
Word choice is only part of the equation: Roth says she frequently calls her clients’ attention to their choice of body language when listening or speaking to their partner. “Eye-rolling communicates just as loudly as a nasty comment,” she cautions.
3) Don’t shy away from conflict
Roth says she blanches when friends tell her that they never fight with their spouse, partner or significant other.
“I’m really skeptical of couples who say they never fight,” she explains. “In my experience — both with my couples and in my own marriage of 32 years — there are times when you don’t want to be anywhere near your husband or wife — times when he or she is making you crazy… Having conflict in a committed relationship or marriage is not the problem: In a conflict-free marriage, there are issues that aren’t being dealt with. There’s a level of passion and intimacy that can’t happen if you’re afraid to rock the boat and go deeper.”
4) Make a gift of your time and energy.
If he takes Fido out for his 10 pm walk every night, offer to do it for him the next four nights, Dr Black suggests. “If taking the trash cans to the curb is his job, take this task on for the next week to give him a break. Tell her that you are going to take the kids away Saturday morning so she can have the house to herself for several hours and then meet up for lunch somewhere at noon.”
Don’t miss the sweetness and the joy you will both experience by reaching out and connecting with each other from the center of your being and the bottom of your heart.
5) Know you’ve had it in you all along.
Dr Black says the most romantic destinations live within your mind, your heart, body, and spirit.
Put your heads together and build a list of all the romantic activities you can engage in without ever leaving your house. “The time is now to be intentional and deliberate about connecting and having fun together.”
Sensual pleasures like food — cooking together, a picnic in bed or on the back porch or patio — listening to music, reading books and watching movies, cuddling up near a cozy fire, or offering each other a foot massage are just a few of the ways to spend quality time together, connect, and have fun. Use your imagination, and create romance wherever you are, and start today. You never know what tomorrow brings.
This might seem trite and corny, but it is truer than you know. Give yourself the gift of each other and enjoy.