5 Steps to Keep the Fire Going in Your Relationship
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5 steps to keep the fire going in your relationship or marriage so you can communicate effectively and with love and enjoy the partnership you deserve. 🔥💕
When I talk to other Moms that are younger, we inevitably get around to the question, ‘So how long have you been married?’ It’s funny to me that the assumptions are that since we’ve been married 16 years now, that we have it all figured out. We don’t know everything.
But we have, as a couple, learned to have some grit in this fairy-tale called marriage. And with that grit, and sticking it out together–through the good times and bad–we’ve also learned that staying together is one thing. But staying together while you keep the fire going is something totally different. And awesome. Fulfilling. And totally recommended.
Here’s 5 ways to do that.
1.FIGURE OUT YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE, AND YOUR PARTNER’s:
So, if you don’t know what a ‘love language’ is—basically it’s the way you understand that someone loves you. It’s how you interpret someone else’s actions to mean that they love you and care about you.
Now, this is based on the book by Dr. Gary Chapman, called The 5 Love Languages, so if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do!!
Ok, so There are 5 Love Languages to communicate love effectively. And the thing is—we have a tendency to only show love using our own language. But if our partner speaks a different language, he will never interpret our actions to mean that we love him. This definitely won’t keep any fire going-not even a smolder.
For example, my husband’s Language is Words of Affirmation, but that’s not mine. I don’t care for words. I care for action. I’ve been lied to so much in my life that I don’t put stock in what anyone tells me until there’s actual action behind it. So when he tells me I look nice, it affects me ZERO. But if he tells me he really wants to make date night a priority, and then schedules it, plans it, gets a sitter, and makes sure we’re focused on each other, and not the phone—THAT is what makes me feel loved.
So you HAVE to be able to show them in their own language!
The basics of the 5 languages are:
>Language 1: Words of Affirmation:
To them, words matter. They feel good with good words, they feel bad and very hurt with bad words.
>Language 2: Quality Time:
Being focused on that person means 1000x more than any words ever will.
>Language 3: Receiving Gifts:
Gifts show this person you love them, like tokens of your love or appreciation.
>Language 4: Acts of Service:
Helping out around the house, or helping do other things for this person is what they need to feel loved.
>Language 5: Physical Touch:
Things that show physical affection are what gets this person’s heart racing.
*Ok—so first FIND OUT both of your love languages,
And Once you know HIS language, find some things that will really speak to him through HIS language—then plan and DO them!! (This also means he should know your love language–whether now or after you’ve started using his–so that he can understand how you feel love better and start using the same strategy.)
2.LEARN HOW TO FIGHT FAIR
So once you’re communicating with your love languages, you have to understand that that’s not gonna cover every issue going on in your relationship! If you’ve not sat down together to discuss the major topics of being in a committed relationship, check out the post: 6 Essential Goals for Couples to Communicate About NOW. You also have disagreements, some have loud arguments some head butting…
One of the WORST pieces of advice I got when my husband and I first got married was to never fight unless you’re naked. Well, guess what—when you’re naked and fighting, you’re doing 1 of two things- You’re either focusing on covering everything—because he doesn’t have a right to see me without clothes on when he’s done so and so to me—OR—you just end up doing ‘other’ things than actually arguing, and the issue gets swept under the rug until it crops up again later.
So, some common defenses that we use when arguing and fighting are: Stonewalling—just going silent and not talking about it; Over-generalizing-saying, ‘well you ALWAYS, or you NEVER’. ; and Redirecting blame—which is when, as an issue is brought up, the other person finds some way that it either wasn’t their fault or they were justified because of something you did first.
These things are crazy counterproductive, and they breed resentment.
We have to OWN our actions, and learn how to fight fair to get things truly resolved.
We also need to understand that our kids are WATCHING what we do, and how we do it. So they’re LEARNING about relationships from US. They learn to either respect, or disrespect, their potential life partner by the actions and words that you teach them.
And then the last thing about fighting that I think all couples should implement is some kind of like ritual or routine for when you’ve worked something out. Kinda like the whole, ‘Kiss and make up’ cliché. But in all seriousness, I want to have some physical connection—even if it’s just a real hug after we’ve argued to know that we’re both truly ok with the outcome of the fight.
3. Nip the resentment monster ASAP!
Ok, this is another heavy one, but it feeds from the Fighting Fair step. When you don’t fight fair, and you don’t resolve things, you get resentment. Resentment tends to build through the years in relationships. Resentment happens for all kinds of things. Plus it definitely inhibits you to keep the fire going in your relationship.
My recommendation for any couple that has resentment between them
is to go ahead and list ‘all the things’, then try to talk through them one at a time using reflective listening. This is going to take being able to do 2 things: FORGIVE , and APOLOGIZE yourself.
I say this one for step #3 because, this is a THING that you must be able to communicate while fighting fair to get through. So if you’re using your love languages appropriately, and then learning to fight fair, you should be able to get through this.
Then list the things you APPRECIATE about your partner. And do your ‘kiss and make up’ routine! It tends to be reallllly good after that kinda session!!! 😁
4. WRITE SOME LOVE NOTES!
First of all—a handwritten love note shows that you’re thinking of your partner
Second of all—it demonstrates a bit of spontaneity. Which can lead to all kinds of other spontaneous acts. <wink>
Third—It shows you’re putting in the effort—These things have to be written ahead of time, then hidden in places your partner will find them, Right? That takes planning! He will recognize that!
So if you want to use this opportunity to tell him something romantic, or say thank you for something, or even apologize—those are all great things to use this for. BUT-it’s also a kinda steamy way to do naughty texting-but without the tech!
(My husband doesn’t like the naughty texting because he gets flustered since he’s frequently in meetings or dinners. But a well-written note hidden in his suitcase is always fun!)
So think of some other places to hide these that the kids won’t stumble upon: The car, under his pillow, beside his toothbrush, in any type of bag he uses regularly (like golf or a briefcase), or a toolbox. Anywhere he regularly goes into, write something up and leave it there for him to find. We used to leave notes on the windshield for each other, and it was always this like, giddy feeling to come out from something totally serious and boring to find a handwritten love note. So think about WHAT you want to say, WRITE the thing, then figure out where to PLACE it.
5. COMMIT TO NIGHTLY PILLOW TALK
Having a designated time to connect daily is super important to keep the fire going in any relationship. But when we do it in the time we’re in bed, next to each other, where we can touch and talk face to face in the quiet, uninterrupted—it has profound effects on the connection we have. And is especially good to keep the fire going in any relationship.
But you have to remember—it’s bed time! You don’t need anything to get your blood pressure spiking, or hurt anyone’s feelings or cause stress at this time. So think about good things you want to share with each other:
What happened today that was awesome? What things about your future together are you dreaming about? What’s something you super appreciated that your partner did today? What’s a heart-squeezy memory you were thinking about today? What new thing would like to try? What past struggle have two conquered that had a happy ending? Keep it happy, and positive, and upbeat.
Obvs I can’t promise this will help every issue in your marriage, but understanding the crazy effect that communication and knowing your love language and using it has on your marriage is an amazing first step!
Grab your Keep the Fire Going Worksheet right here! (Click the image below!)
What things do you do to keep the fire going in your relationship? Let me know in the comments!
Know someone that could use help with keeping the fire going in their relationship? Please SHARE this post!