As your relationship grows, so does your capacity for romance. I think it’s a case of the more you have, the more you want, and the more you give, the more you reap. Romance is addictive. After all, it makes us feel as if we’re on top of the world. As time goes by, treasure the memories you share and cherish the moments you have together. Those memories and moments interlock to forge a bond that builds and inspires a deeper, more enduring love between you and your partner.
Finding Romantic Inspirations to Make Love Last
Because I’ve been married thirty-eight years to the same man, I am often asked, “What’s the secret to your long marriage?” I like to tease, saying it’s because Bob travels a lot! And it’s true, we all need space in our togetherness, but I do believe it is entirely possible to keep romance alive in a relationship over the years. However, what many people don’t recognize is that it does take some effort because, as a partnership continues over time, the risk is that it can fall into a kind of comfortable rut.
Sometimes I am saddened when I see a couple who are just not “doing the work.” They may be great people as individuals, but their relationship is unraveling and weakening because they don’t make a sustained, concerted effort to stay connected, to work out differences, to keep things interesting and new, to plan joyful things to look forward to, and to remind each other what they mean to each other. It’s important to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going together.
I saw a quote once by the writer Ursula K. Le Guin that resonated with me: “Love just doesn’t sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new.” A relationship is a dynamic, ever-changing entity, not a static state of being. Commit to working on the relationship together to continually polish and bring out its warm tones, smooth away any rough edges that develop, and nurture its joyful qualities every day. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Work toward a goal together. Make a plan for your ideal home or your fantasy vacation, then write down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Decide between the two of you who will do what: One of you might research realtors or take books out of the library about your dream destination. Decide, too, what you’ll do together: visit potential neighborhoods or meet with a travel agent. When possible establish a time frame for each step, not to add the pressure of a deadline but to keep the plan moving and real. You can always change an interim date. The challenge and reward of making a dream come true will bind you more closely together.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new, whether it is cooking an elaborate meal, volunteering for a cause you care about deeply, or simply taking up a new sport. Expanding your horizons only creates more space in which love can flourish.
- Read voraciously. I read many of the papers from England and those published in New York. Know what’s new, what’s interesting, and what’s happening. An art exhibit opening, a controversial movie, a significant development on the political front–that’s what makes for interesting conversation. Men want to talk to women who are connected to the outside world, who have information and opinions, who bring something new to the conversation.
- Reread your old love letters. Be warned: This can bring out a torrent of emotion! When you’re done, write your spouse a new one.
- Revisit a place that has special meaning to you. It might be the place where you first said “I love you,” or the cafe where you got engaged, or the country inn where you enjoyed that memorable getaway. Wherever it is, return to it on occasion. Not only will the trip stir up tender feelings, but it will let you reflect on how your love has grown.
- Do you remember what you did during the first year you dated–what music you listened to or what films you watched? Bring out those CDs or videos and experience them again. You’ll bring back wonderful memories.
- Remind yourself to savor every moment. Too often we think about the things we wish we had or could have. Yes, it’s important to plan for the future, but make a conscious effort to savor the precious gift of your love every day. We only have today; we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
- Remember all of the reasons that you fell in love with your partner in the first place. Write a list and leave it somewhere where your spouse will find it.
- When you’re reminiscing, don’t forget the troubled waters you’ve crossed together. Overcoming adversity strengthens your partnership. Tell your partner about a time when his support helped your relationship.
Living Romantically Every Day
by: Barbara Taylor Bradford (“A Woman of Substance”)