Need some tips to help you keep your love alive in a relationship?
Love is an incredible, selfless feeling that everyone deserves to experience. There are many effortless moments when you are in a loving relationship. Times where you feel like the world stops and everything was created and meant for you two. But, it is not always easy to always keep the love alive. It is hard work, compromise, and many moments of reflection!
In honor of bobby and I dating for seven years this weekend and married for one year this Memorial Day, I decided to do some thinking. What has built our relationship up over the years? What has made us stronger and more of a unit?
Below I will share with you a few of the ways that Bobby and I keep our love alive.
Bobby has always been romantic with post-it notes. Before we lived together, he used to make scavenger post-it note hunts for me when visiting. We did the long distance thing for a while (and that sucked… a lot). The post-its would have little prizes at the end. Weather he left me a promise note for something or a little gift. He always made it special.
The great thing, too, is that he didn’t do them every time he visited. It would be randomly… maybe once every other month. I LOVE surprises. Personally, I give people weird faces when they say they hate surprises. I don’t get it. When I would see that there was a post it note telling me it is time for another scavenger hunt, I lit up!
We have not done a post-it note hunt in a few years, but now he likes to leave me random post-its for encouragement. He has left them in my work bag. In my planner. And sometimes in the visor of my car. It always seems like I find them at the perfect moment at the perfect time of the day. Just when I need to hear something positive and loving.
I was having a horrible week back in March. I walked into my car, pulled down my visor, and there was a note that said, “You will kick butt today!” So, even though we are technology driven as a society, take a pen out of the drawer. Handwrite something little that can make a big impact on your relationship. You’ve never been dating too long to do this. Trust me, it will help bring your love alive a little more.
Weekly Date Nights
Bobby does not like to admit this one is so important…I guess since we cook and have dinner together almost every night of the week. But, dedicated date nights make my heart smile. I think it is because of the rules we set for date nights. Let me explain.
Normally, we eat dinner every week night on the couch while watching TV (don’t judge!). It is our time to watch our tv shows and giggle a bit together after a stressful day. We might not talk so much. And, Bobby is usually on his phone at the same time reading articles on Redit or work e-mails.
On date night, those things are not allowed. Unless we are looking something up that relates to the conversation we are having, buh bye phone. Because we are so addicted to our phones (who isn’t!?) we make a clear boundary. Also, it is a night I don’t have to freakin cook! Also, make it fun! We sometimes look up questions to ask each other. Some are serious, some hilarious, and even embarrassing. There are always new things to learn about each other!
Now, I love cooking. I really do! But, it is nice to have someone else do it once a week. It allows us to have quiet time together to chat where I don’t have to check on the fish or worry about three different dishes cooking at once. And don’t forget to put those date nights on the calendar to keep the love alive!!! They should be a non-negotiable time of the week.
Respect Each Other’s Space
We genuinely both enjoy our space from time to time. For real. Especially if we are off from work for a week together. Bobby and I try hard to be mindful of when each of us needs space from each other. Personally, I think it is really important to have that independence from time to time.
It doesn’t have to be for long. I like to go clothing shopping alone. Sometimes I tell him I want to go to Marshalls and HomeGoods for three hours and I will see him at dinner. He is totally cool with it. The same goes for him when he tells me he wants to take a golf lesson or… usually it has to do something with golf, to be honest. It is really good to have independent interests.
But, sometimes the time apart is long. We go on trips without each other randomly. I have gone to California with a friend and he has taken a trip to Atlanta to see his. We each take trips to Florida once in a while without each other. Mostly, it is because someone needs to watch our dog and we don’t like to drop him off somewhere. But, it works out. It is all good! I do believe when you have little space it give you each time to miss each other. It reminds us how much we truly love one another.
If you don’t respect your time apart, it could really hurt a relationship. Why? Everyone needs time to be in their own space… their own mindset. It helps us continue to find happiness within and puts less pressure on our partners. If a couple can’t be apart for more than a few hours, I think that should be a red flag. You met as individuals. To continue to build a strong bond, you need to set time aside for yourself. In turn, it will help keep your love alive.
Having things in common is something else that truly continues to build our connection. We have many hobbies independent of each other. But, we also have even more that we enjoy doing together. Having shared interests keeps us engaged and wanting to explore avenues together.
For example, we both are obsessed with health and fitness. No, we aren’t that annoying couple at the gym, flexing and taking selfies. But, we both find passion when it comes to cooking healthy and getting six workouts in a week. Both of us wear FitBits and strive to get 13,000+ steps a day. We encourage each other and take our dog on walks to meet our goals. Also, we make it a point to go to the gym together each weekend. Simple, but it helps us keep our love alive.
We also both love television. Some of our favorites are currently: The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Homeland, New Girl, Gotham, and Narcos (just to name a few!). We make it a point to never watch new episodes alone and to DVR them all. Every night after we cook, we choose a recorded show to view together. It isn’t anything extravagant, but it is something that makes us both happy. Really, that is all that matters.
So, if you are in a rut, sit down and make a list of things that truly make each of you happy. Compare your lists and find common ground. Schedule weekly routines for you both to do various activities together. Why? When you both are being fueled with happiness, you will connect with each other. Also, you will be making great memories together to keep your love alive.
Keep Love Boxes
Bobby and I are not sentimental people when it comes holding on to things in our house. For everything I buy, I usually try to donate or throw out something I already have. We don’t like clutter. But, we have made it a point to hold on to the sweet things that remind us how much we love each other. We put it all in our love boxes.
Since we started dating seven years ago, we each started our own box. Each is the size of a shoebox. Well, Bobby (in true man-nature) uses an old Nike shoebox. Mine is a pretty, decorated one from a craft store. They both have similar items in them: cards, letters, ticket stubs, and our Post it notes… to name a few. These items are a big deal to us.
Once a year we take out our boxes, dump them on a table, and go through each item. These moments are truly special and remind us what has kept our love alive. We laugh at silly jokes we used to have and (mostly) corny love saying we would say to each other. Also, we get super sentimental…a rare moment for us. It takes over an hour to go through everything. Time slows down.
Even though we live together now, we continue to add to them. In another month or two, it will be time again to go through our boxes. I highly recommend this practice. Especially if you are not the most organized person or if you like to throw things away. Make it a habit of moving your items immediately to your love box before something gets misplaced. You choose the items. They are your memories!
This one is simple, but we sometimes forget how much it really means. Small actions can improve a relationship immensely. Why? Because it shows you took time out of your day to improve the other person’s mood. People need to be reminded of this one from time to time. If you make an effort to do this one, I guarantee it will help keep your love alive.
It is really nice to receive expensive gifts. Luxury bags, trips, shoes, jewelry, cars, and clothing. Really…I’d be lying if I said I did not like those things. In the moment, there is a lot of excitement for these. But, they don’t fill me up with love quite as much as little gestures. For example, my husband works from home on Fridays. When he does a few of my weekend chores before I arrive home, I am on cloud nine.
The feeling comes from realizing your partner is thinking about you. They try to make your life a little easier. In turn, I have a deeper love for my husband. I feel like we are connected. Another time, he woke up super early and got me a cup of Starbucks. He set a reminder on my phone that told me to “Check the microwave xx.” That is a man. That is true, unconditional love. Much better than an expensive gift.
These things don’t happen every day. Which is OK. But, each of us makes a conscious effort to do at least one thing for the other person each week. We have never even discussed this practice, but I witness it happen. So, if you are trying to connect again, model this behavior. Do one or two small things for your partner that makes them smile. With happiness comes an easier ability to open up to love.
Share Financial Responsibilities
Strange enough…having joint responsibility within aspects of our lives has kept our love alive. This is not always the same for everyone. Plenty of people destroy their relationships when they buy and own together. Usually due to a lack of trust or financial awareness. For some reason, this is just not so for us. It is intimate and comforting to know that we are both in the game of life together.
We first had joint responsibility when we rented an apartment on the water together on Long Island. First of all, what an incredible, breathtaking experience fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. But, it was also nice that we had somewhere to call our own. When we purchased our house two years ago, I had an even more intense feeling. We were in our mid twenties purchasing (almost unheard of where I live) and we shared in this accomplishment together!
For some reason, it is scarier to attack financial situations alone. Paying off your school loans. Making sure you save enough to eat that week and pay your rent. But, going through it together gives you another leg to stand on. Well, if you both have jobs— which we do. We rescued Benny when we bought our home, converted to gas in our house, bought a new car, and now we are about to demo our entire kitchen!
For this one, it is really hard for me to truly pin down how to explain the feelings I have. I don’t know what it is, but having so much at stake together is everything. You are no longer alone in the universe. You have someone to walk through the amazing experiences with. And the crappy, horrific times where you don’t know how you will make it through the other side.
Say “I Love You”
Anyone who says that the phrase “I Love You” can be overused is wrong. I am calling them out on it. I don’t think my husband and I have gone one day in our relationship without saying it to each other. Every time I hear Bobby say it to me, I am in bliss. My happiness meter shoots through the roof. I can tell he means it. Especially if it is in person. For all those rolling your eyes, you probably don’t say it enough.
I recommend you make an effort to say it every day, if not… multiple times a day. I will even shout it across the house. You will hear me yell, “Bobby! Bobby, come here… I need you to come here!” He will stroll across the house. I will simply say, “I wanted to tell you how much I love you.” He never is mad or acts like I inconvenienced him. Usually, this ends in a hug or some silly banter together.
Take a moment and think…how often do you and your partner do this? Is it even every other day? Make a pact to begin to say it daily. Try it out. See what happens to your relationship. Hey… it can’t hurt! Also, if you have kids (which we don’t…yet), what a great way to model how to treat one another. In turn, watch it keep your love alive.
How do you keep your love alive in a relationship?