4 Ways to Keep the Magic in Your Relationship
When you’re single in America, there are certain days of the year that strike terror in your bosom. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Friday nights.
You’re learning to live with it but you’re getting sick of having to explain your status to family members.
No, Uncle Leo, I’m not gay - and I wouldn’t judge anyone who is - I just haven’t found the right girl.
No, Aunt Gertie, I don’t want to be set up with Sheldon. Isn’t he the guy who still lives in his mom’s basement?
You’re a go-getter. You managed to meet every goal you set for yourself except for this one. Finding a Plus One.
You’re the last person anyone would call needy. You have relied on yourself since you left your childhood home and struck out on your own. You’re independent, strong, and so together that friends come to rely on you like people rely on Iyanla Vanzant to fix their life.
Yet, loneliness tears into you like two giant talons, and if your heart were ripped open, they’ll see how raw your needing to love someone is, and they will be so turned off by it. Worse, you’ll be pitied. And who wants that?
If being single was only as funny as how they made it out to be in Sex and the City.
But then someone sees you. The beauty of your face, your integrity, your kindness.
You meet Prince Charming. You get to take home the Prom Queen.
You live the fairy tale.
But, oh cruelty! Her name is Reality. Fast forward to a year later, you’re awake, and the fairy tale vanished. You tell yourself it’s the job, it’s the kids, it’s the mortgage. It’s the messy house. If only you can get those things right, then the marriage will be right again.
But right now, you are too tired. Too angry. Too hurt. Too disappointed.
Good. Yes, good. You’re finally awake!
It’s only when the fairy tale ends, that real, meaningful life begins. You don’t lose anything that matters in the process. You still have that one thing in life you’ve always wanted. True love.
Romance isn’t gone. It solidified into love. Courtship into friendship. Newness into intimacy.
And if you say your relationship isn’t anywhere near this vicinity, you have an important job to do. Your job is to keep the marriage from going sizzling hot to frozen tundra. Believe it or not there is a sweet spot between the two points. The question is how do you find it?
How do we speak the language of love so the one we love hears and feels our intended message?
I humbly offer myself up as a guinea pig. Having been in three successful relationships, I advanced from beginner to somewhat of an intermediate level in the language of love department. None of us can truly claim mastery. And that’s the beauty of it. That means you can devote your entire life to studying this worthwhile art!
As you have already gathered, my relationships came to a mutual end but they made me a wiser, softer, more understanding, less selfish human being. For that I see them as successes, not failures.
I also base my observations from the mating rituals of male friends and colleagues. I offer them up to you from these men’s perspective.
With matters of the heart, there is real danger of generalizing. Don’t take them as advice. Read them for entertainment. Should you test them out on your partner, and they work, great! Fire your couples therapist and hire me. Kidding. So if men can articulate what they want, this is what they would say.
4 Ways to Make the Magic Lasts in Your Relationship
Provide a soft place to land. Men today may not return from battling herds of marauders or giant beasts of the forest for food. No, they now have to contend with corporate boardrooms, bosses who make them feel less of a man, co-workers who trigger their homicidal tendencies, and staffers who conspire to unseat them.
But when they come home to you, they can count on a safe space. To see your face lighting up when they dragged their weary self through that door. To count on your understanding when they don’t want to talk about it, that they just want a beer and a shower. Your giving them space. Your listening, not judging, when they do want to talk about it. That’s what it means when you give someone a soft place to land.
Keeping it real. When the two of you were dating, you put your best self forward. You were somewhat performing for each other. The moment, you make it comfortable for a guy to be completely himself, that after showing his warts and all, and you still think he is pretty great, he knows he’s found the real deal.
Respect. Most men want to create something that will outlast them, a legacy. Whether that’s through children, non-profit work or some other work of their creation, they long to be masters of the universe. They want respect. Ask any man if he wants a) Fame, b) Fortune, or c) Respect, and the answer is almost always respect.
The moment you take respect away from them, you see deterioration in your relationship. When they feel diminished in some way, that’s where you see their love withdrawn.
In this sense, men and women are the same. Why would we love someone who thinks so little of us?
Appreciation. So this brings us to the last point, appreciation. When gratitude cannot find its home in your home, your foundation grows weak.
Ignore the messy kitchen, and thank him for attempting to make pancakes for the kids and letting you sleep in.
And if women can articulate what they want, what would they tell their men?
The same thing. We are from the same planet. The language of love only sounds foreign when the above key ingredients no longer make their home in your heart.
What have I left out?