Marriage counselors say that major disagreements over money, sex, or power can tear a relationship apart. But if you and your partner have these under control and still feel like roommates rather than lovers, here are some suggestions to sweeten the relationship.
Do three nice things for each other during the week without expecting a thank you.
So often we keep score in a relationship, rather than deciding how to pleasure our partner. What would she like done, but doesn’t ask you? What would he really like to do this weekend? Although you practice this without expectation of reward, nature abhors a vacuum. You may be surprised at the result.
Curb the impulse to ‘fix it.’
When someone close to you tells you of their troubles, a normal human impulse is to say, ‘Well, why don’t you try…?’ The message comes across loud and clear that the person explaining the situation can’t fix it themselves. If you do, they may be left feeling inadequate or patronized. Sometimes the strongest thing we can do is just listen!
This can be as simple as exchanging samples of what you are eating at a restaurant. Or cooking a meal together. Or offering a fragrant melon for a sniff at the local farmers market. Food is essential to our core being, and sharing the experience of it with a partner will bond you closer together.
Touch. Without the expectation of sex.
Touch is a primary need for all human beings and we don’t do or get enough of it. Caress hair when passing. Stroke an arm gently. Massage tired feet. Say ‘you look really tired,’ with a supportive hug. If they feel good, you’ll feel good. And you will give them something they can’t get from anyone else.
Plan a regular date night.
When couples are courting, an effort is made to find a good movie, lecture, weekend festival, a happening, and invite the other. When children, work, and weekend chores are introduced into a relationship, fun sometimes goes out the window. Brainstorm with your partner about what they would like to do that doesn’t cost a lot. Keep a list and surprise them.
Set aside time to talk to each other.
This isn’t that “We have to talk” message sending shivers up the spine of a partner, but rather the, “You’ll never guess what happened at work today!” type of chat. It doesn’t have to be long—5 or 10 minutes over fixing supper, with coffee on the couch, passing toast at the breakfast table. But it does need to be regular.
Turn off the TV.
Often when we come home we automatically flip the switch and plop down on the couch. Three hours later it’s time for bed and the evening is done. Once or twice a week, don’t turn the TV on in the evening. Or, if you can’t exist without the tube, delay turning it on. Listen to the silence.
Say ‘I love you.”
Say it again. Repeat it once more. There is never enough love to go around. Your proactive effort will make the world a better place. And your partner will thank you for it.
In today’s world of stress and time shortage, we can give to our partners what we, ourselves, need. In so doing, we can create a sweeter life together.