If you are dating, or have been married for a while, then you already know that a happy and fulfilling relationship takes conscious effort.
Unfortunately, not many people are willing to go that extra mile to nurture the relationship they want, yet they are the first ones to complain when their relationship goes south.
Forever is a long time, (this is what you sign for when you get married) so you might as well make your relationship the most enjoyable experience you have.
You can do this by making a few minor changes, changes that will give your relationship the bounce it needs.
Grooming: Before you got married, you made a conscious effort to look good, especially when you had a date with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Two years later, you got married, and all this changed. Now your wife wears an old stocking to bed, and an oversized, faded t-shirt, while you wear an old frayed tracksuit that would look better in a dustbin.
I have never understood why married couples let themselves go once they say “I do”. Ladies, ditch that unappealing weave and wear flattering clothes while at home.
Gentlemen, there’s nothing appealing about the ‘cave-man look - you could do with shaving your head and beard more often, as well as losing those extra pounds around your mid-section.
You will not only improve your health, but will also increase your energy and sexual appeal.
Physical affection: Ever observed how babies coo when you hug them lovingly, or how fast they calm down when you hold them lovingly and sing to them in a soothing voice?
There’s something therapeutic about touch, and just as babies react to it positively, so do adults. How many times do you hug your partner just for the sake of it?
When was the last time you held her hand? Remember when you first got married? If you’re like most couples, you started your day with a warm hug and a kiss, and ended it the same way. What changed?
Why do you behave like strangers, when you should behave like lovers? The most common problem in many marriages is that there is no physical affection, yet they complain that sex is boring.
How can you enjoy the tango when you treat each other like brother and sister?
Listen to the unsaid: It is important to learn to listen to your partner’s non-verbal cues. In most cases, what is unsaid is mostly what matters most to your partner.
Women tend to be more perceptive than men, and can often tell when their help is needed. Guys, since you now know your weakness, why not begin to be more observant?
This will help you to identify when your wives need help, when they need to “talk”, and when they need a hug.
Communication: How often do you talk to your spouse during the day? I’m not talking about the normal phone calls, where you remind each other to pay rent, school fees, and other bills.
I’m talking about the “how are you?” phone call. This is the one that tells your spouse that you’re thinking about him, that you miss him, and that even though your job is important, he is more important.
That said; never talk ill about your spouse in the presence of others. It belittles him, and is as disrespectful as you can get.
Is your home a haven? My definition of a home is somewhere where you can retreat, relax, and find refuge in after a hard day’s work in a tense environment.
A home should be warm, inviting, and the atmosphere friendly. Unfortunately, some homes are disablers.
The first thing you’re greeted with when you open the door is a wife with an endless list of complaints, and demands, or a drunk husband keen on picking a fight, or one who’s more interested in the football match on TV, rather than how your day was.
Once in a while, turn off the TV and the radio, and use the quite time to bond with each other.
This list is certainly not exhaustive. Think of other things that can make your relationship more exciting, and reap the benefits.
The writer is a Counselling Psychologist. Do you have any relationship questions? Write to [email protected]