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Thursday, July 25, 2013

5 Truths to Staying IN Love

When I was a little girl, I couldn't imagine who I would marry but I knew that I wanted to get married. I would envision the wedding, and try to see the man's face in my dreams. I would fantasize about who he would be and how much excitement he would bring into my life. My oldest daughter is four years old and she said to us the other day "Who am I gonna marry when I grow up?".  There it begins. A little girls' quest for the unknown, the inexperience and innocence in not knowing what lies ahead. The sparkle of hope and magical fantasies that comes with being a child. I think back to my adolescent experiences and smile because I had thoroughly enjoyed my journey through life and whatever wild times I had. I experienced much thrill, danger, excitement, exploration and self-discovery. Sure there were many tears shed along that path, but it all worked itself out. After all, everything happens for a reason.

When I met my husband in art class freshman year in high school, I wasn't immediately drawn to him. If anything I was judging his choice in attire. The moment we became friends he pursued me and I felt bursts of joy. The pulsating muscles in my body would race. I love a game of cat and mouse. I love the exhilarating feeling of watching men at attention up for the chase. Falling in love is right up there with sleeping in, eating something so sinfully delicious, your baby babbling at you, the newborn smells, and dancing when no one is watching. When people find out we've been together almost 13 years, people gaze at us in wonder...they say "wow that's a long time..." Not because 13 years is a long time, but because we're only in our mid 20's. That drift in silence is always the same expression on their faces. A questionable "How..?" but usually too presumptuous of a question to ask when you're 10 years older and just getting to know a young couple. The teenage years through the early 20's is marked by nonstop changes, instability, questionable choices, indecisiveness, and the list goes on.  How do you stay in love through the most tumultuous period of life? How do you keep things from going stale? How do you keep going when things are falling apart? How do you stay together and not grow apart?

Showing Affection is a MUST!

  1. Be Best Friends: From the moment we met even up until now, all we did was talk. I talked till he fell asleep on the phone, till I fell asleep with the phone still connected, wrote letters to each other, wrote emails, wrote cards, talked on instant messenger, talked till we couldn't talk anymore. We argued, disagreed with each other, fought, cooled off, came back and talked all over again. Sharing everything and not keeping secrets is big. Promise one another this cardinal rule: That you will NEVER throw what your other half said to you in a moment of vulnerability in their face. If you start that shit, you might as well break up, because that crap will brew an ugly resentment.
  2. Keep your Family in check: This is a big one for me. Families will try to tear you apart, think they know what's best, intrude, disrespect, withhold love, give guilt trips, cause drama,  and disapprove/criticize every damn detail in both of your lives. It's a miserable existence I've lived through that crap. It's your responsibility to stand up for your significant other unless you want them to stand up for themselves and cause permanent damage. At the end of the day it's all about the two of you, who and what bring you the most happiness. While it shouldn't be a tug of war, your family was there first, and is supposed to love you and support your choices. On the flip side if you love someone, you need to work just as hard to get along for your partner's sake. 
  3. Time together: It's not only about sex, it's about intimacy. When you're married you don't necessarily have time to just be in love. The bills need to be paid, the garbage is overflowing, the kids need to be fed, there's a show you wanna catch up on, and you need more "me time"...
      • Take long hot baths together, soaking in the tub feels so damn good, much less to do it with your best friend.
      • Write cute little notes to your man on the bathroom mirror, on post-its, on text, whatever you can to give affection, it makes him think about you and want to come home. It makes his day happier. 
      • Cook and dance together.
      • Back rubs and foot rubs all the way. This might be cliche but it really helps. It relieves the tension either person was feeling and is an investment into the relationship. When people do stuff for you, you feel gratitude.
      • Come to bed earlier. Lately we've been coming to bed earlier not necessarily to sleep ;) Whether the tv is on or not, it's "our place" to talk, to feel each other's warmth, to unburden our chests with worries, feelings, bad days, good days, share ideas or even jokes. 
      • Feed each other bites of decadent things from time to time, its romantic =) 
      • Share a bottle of wine and a cigar. We don't smoke but sometimes its nice to do something different. When the kids grow up and go to college, we plan to backpack through Europe and experiment. 
  4. Dates: Dates don't always have to be outside of the home, they don't even have to be worked into the daily schedule. Half the time we were on serious budgets when it came to how much we spent on a date, and the other half we were busy either getting pregnant, being pregnant, or like now being parents without any support system/date nights for ourselves to get a breather. So we'd improvise with our shows and movies we watch together. I'd cook a bunch of things the night before and the next day we'd feed the kids, play with them, stay in bed all day, watching movies while the dishes piled up. So the dishes always pile up who cares? They'll still be there tomorrow...

  5. Togetherness: Don't just sleep together. Pray together, dream together, aspire to greatness together, motivate each other, always try to get on the same page together. When you have a disagreement it's not about your side, or his side. It's about "what is best for our family". We're all on the same side, the same team. It's easy to forget that when you're pissed off. Maintain yourself and your own interests. The spell breaks when you're no longer enchanting each other. If you look good you feel good, and if you both feel good and never run out of things to talk about well that's great togetherness. It feeds the mind and strengthens the relationship. 

I can't guarantee he won't break my heart, or cheat on me. Families break up all the time. I have faith in him as much as I can in spite of my deep seeded issues with trust. You'd be a fool to think that it's not a possibility. You can't with 100% certainty vouch for anyone. Where there is light there's darkness... Knowing that fact is what keeps us in check. 
We are not objects to be acquired but we must be maintained and treated like prized possessions.
 Stay passionate. 

This article is also featured on Thought Catalog.

Google the Benjamin Franklin effect or go here to see how my truths are confirmed the science of love: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/21/relationship-advice-_n_5187567.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063