Reignite the Fire: Ideas to Keep Your Marriage Toasty

married couples in the apartment hallwayGuest blogger Bella Werner gives great ideas to keep the fire going in a marriage. Enjoy!

 

All couples find themselves in a cool spell now and then. It’s easy to take your spouse for granted, fall into a routine, and wind up neglecting the one you love. Occasionally you need to shake things up. Spontaneity is the key. Anything to break out of the dull old routine you’ve both been stuck in since forever.

Here’s an easy way to break out of a cool spell. Plan some fun, playful, and sexy time together to feel the heat this winter.

Cook Together

Not only does it give you a chance to do something new together but food can be very sensual. An old-fashioned spaghetti dinner is a great start. While the sauce is simmering, ask your husband to show you how to “stir the sauce” (be sure he gets behind you). Taste the sauce with a little flirtatious slurp from the spoon and a bat of the eyelashes. Or, initiate a “taco Tuesday” night. It doesn’t get complicated and it can be very spicy — in more ways than one. While chopping the vegetables, toss a piece of cilantro at him…this might be all you need to do to start a frolicsome (low key if you’d like) food fight, which is fun at any age.

Bathe Together

Transform your bathroom into a heavenly romantic hideaway; a place you can climb into a basin of bubbly water; a place lit by the glow of candlelight (possibly some twinkly lights); a place where the sounds of soft jazz fills the air and where champagne (or sparkling water) accompanies chocolate-covered strawberries. Start the hot tub date in one of your sexy bikinishidden under a soft robe.

Play Together

Get out the sheets and blankets, move around the furniture and build a fort in the living room. Pack a picnic and some games to play (Candy Land, Operation, Battleship, Hungry Hungry Hippos) and once the fort is complete, hang out in there all day.

Take it outdoors and run through sprinklers together, play hide-and-seek or tag, and have a water fight with some classic water guns. Be kids and leave your worries behind.

Stargaze Together

When the sun goes down, get a blanket and some pillows and step outside. Whether it’s your backyard, a local park or a quiet destination away from the city lights, take a few hours to get lost in the night sky.

It’s amazing how easy it is to let your fears and worries dissipate as your mind begins to explore the universe. You and your hubby might just solve the world’s biggest problems together.

And remember, intimacy is the key, but falling alseep to soon can be the enemy of intimacy. While you may need to be touched more, he may need you to do things for him to feel loved. A well-known relationship counselor, Gary Chapman, proposes the idea that there are “Five Love Languages” and while you may think your mate is one way, he may have completely different needs. While some people need to hear words of affirmation to feel loved, others find that receiving gifts or acts of service are the ways to the heart.

Hopefully, you’ll find that if you take charge of this re-ignition, he will get ideas of his own to keep it fresh, fun, and spicy.

Avoiding The Inevitable-Part 2: Guilt

This week, staff writer Stephany Salinas continues her “Avoiding The Inevitable” series with: guilt. Most of us have tried to avoid an inevitable break-up because we didn’t want to be the bad guy. But did we feel guilty because we didn’t want to cause our significant other heartache or because we didn’t want to be the target of an emotional hell storm?

 

Last week, I wrote about the familiarity aspect of a relationship that holds you back from doing the unfortunate task of breaking up with someone. This week, I’ll share with you yet another reason why people find it hard to break-up; Guilt.

At one time or another, most of us have been in a relationship where we just didn’t reciprocate the feelings of our significant other. They may have been crazy in love, head over heels for you, but the it wasn’t mutual. Yet, we continue staying in relationships like this because they make us feel better about ourselves. Who wouldn’t want a relationship that’s based around them, right? Wrong. It gets old, quick. When you become someone else’s world, you soon realize that the pedestal you’re on is pretty lonely, and boring.

It starts off great. You meet someone, and they’re so sweet, it’s unbelievable. In reality, it IS hard to find someone who is genuinely doing things out of kindness of their hearts and/or because they care about you. Let’s face it, the dating generation of today can be quite selfish, clueless, and careless. That being said, when you DO find someone who is willing to cater to your every need, you’re drawn to it. It starts off small and normal, with surprise lunches, cute texts saying how much they miss you, and all that adorable fun stuff that everyone shamelessly likes in the beginning of a new relationship. You see them constantly, because being without them sucks. You still get those funny feelings when you’re around them, because everything is new and exciting. You’re still learning about this person, and it’s fun. This is typically known as the “Honeymoon” stage. The stage every couple goes through.

Then, of course, the honeymoon stage is over. At this point, you ask yourself if you really like this person, or if it was just the thrill of meeting someone new that was exciting. Unfortunately, this is where things USUALLY get messy. Who knows, maybe you both decided, “Meh, it was fun, see ya later!” In a perfect world, all break-ups would be like that. Alas, we all know this world is far from perfect.

At this point, you’re still wondering if this is something you want to continue. Because you’re unsure, you’d rather stay in the relationship than potentially lose something you actually wanted to keep. As you continue through the relationship, for however long, you start to notice certain things that are suddenly annoying or unappealing. Whether it be physical traits or characteristics, you find yourself wanting to spend less time with this person. If you make it clear that you’re bored or unattracted to them, they try even harder to get your attention. That’s when you realize that you’re just not into them.

This actualization, like the realization of familiarity, may be sudden or gradual. For me, it was gradual, and a complete accident. Not only was I falling for someone else (a friend at the time), but I started realizing that I didn’t care about him anymore. I didn’t want to see him everyday, and I didn’t want him to accompany me when I went out with friends. His quirky literary imagination suddenly became annoying, and his obsession with wanting to be with me every chance he got went from being romantic to creepy. What’s worse, is every time I wanted to say something, I thought about all these romance novels and movies, and how what this guy was giving me was what every girl wanted. So why didn’t I want it? Why was I so different?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t different at all. I just wasn’t in love. At this point I realized that this guy was nuts about me, and I didn’t even remotely feel the same way. Now, I find myself to be a pretty nice person, and I try my best to never hurt anyone’s feelings, so I found myself stuck in a position where I was just clueless. How do you go about bringing up a conversation that you know is going to break someone’s heart? And this isn’t just a “maybe”, no, it’s a sure thing. His heart was going to be broken, he was going to be in pain, and it was going to be my fault.

So I did the worst thing possible; I waited. I waited and pushed it off as long as I possibly could, because for a moment, hanging out with him for a couple hours a day was bearable, compared to the heart break that I was eventually going to have to put him through. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the other guy I had started to get feelings for was still around, but we never did anything behind future-heartbroken boyfriends back. Cheating is for cowards.) So, I spent my days trying to avoid hanging out with my own boyfriend. I would make up excuses and say I was busy or had a lot of work/cleaning to do. After a few weeks, I realized what I was doing was even worse than breaking his heart. I was letting this guy think that everything was okay, and that I still loved him. I was leading him on, and that’s one of the worst things you can do in any relationship.

After I grasped this concept, I knew what I had to do. However, I was still struggling with how to bring about such a painful conversation, until our very last argument (as a couple).

I remember the exact moment it happened. I was outside tanning, and had been trying to make plans with my family. When I tried discussing these plans (that didn’t involve him) with him, he got upset. He was catching on. He asked why I had been MIA lately. I was concerned about leading him on and him thinking everything was okay, when, in reality, he was confused. That part of the relationship where you don’t know if everything is okay and you feel hurt and confused, that’s what I was putting him through.

At that moment, I knew I HAD to do it. I didn’t care about breaking his heart anymore, because what I was doing by procrastinating was even worse. So I called him and did what I had to do. Over the phone, it’s not too bad. It’s when I saw him in person a couple of hours later that was difficult. Looking into watery, heartbroken eyes is not an easy task, but one that you may have to endure during a break up. So we talked for about 45 minutes, which mainly consisted of him asking “why?”

Why? How do you tell someone you don’t love them? It’s tough. It’s extremely tough. Honesty can be extremely painful, but it’s a huge weight off of your shoulder, and a soon-to-be open door to happiness…with someone else.

So after a couple hours of dealing with the questions and anger from him, I finally felt free. I was happy. And honestly, that’s what matters most.

Never let guilt prevent you from ending a pointless relationship. The only way a relationship will be successful is if YOU are happy. If you’re not, realize that it needs to end, and that prolonging the break-up process because you feel sorry for the other person actually makes you pretty thoughtless.

When To Put Up A Fight

This is a follow-up to the article our staff writer,Stephanie Beccera, wrote last week entitled “When To Throw In The Towel” of when to call off a relationship if it’s just not working out. In response to last week’s article, Stephanie was approached with different takes on the subject and one friend’s question stood out: what if instead of throwing in the towel, we try harder?

In the age of 30 second commercials and instant, accessible 24/7 communication, it’s clear to see why our attention spans have decreased significantly. Studies have even cited that instead of a seven-year itch within relationships and marriages, there are now more couples breaking up after three, and divorce rates have never been higher. With these grim statistics, it is a wonder that couples manage to stay together, let alone find each other in the first place.

When you first start dating someone, do small things to make each other smile, remember little details such as an affinity for a certain cupcake; and when your significant other is having a bad day, show up at their door step with this cupcake and all is right with the world.

This is normally the beginning stage of a relationship. This stage can last a year, sometimes even two. But it’s around the time when those first couple of years have passed that many couples start to notice a change. The thoughtful gestures have stopped, the dates have decreased and communication is lacking. You can sense a distance forming and feelings changing, but instead of calling it quits, what if you did something about it?

It can be difficult to form a deep connection with someone so when you find that person that understands and makes you happy, hold on to them. It’s common for us to get caught up in the craziness that is daily life and neglect our relationships. But if the person is worth it, do something and fight back.

We as a society have become too complacent and expect things to come effortlessly and to fix themselves. Despite the idealized mirage of what a relationship is, they actually take work and commitment and do not always come easy. If you feel something is broken in your relationship, fix it. If you feel like you don’t go out as often, plan a regular date night. If you feel a lack of communication, voice it. Remember the little things that made you fall in love in the first place because it won’t be the elaborate gifts or dates that will bring the magic back. It will be the cupcake out of the blue that will truly make you fall in love. You may find that instead of growing apart, you and your partner can grow together.

In daily life, people change. Circumstances change. People come and go, there is life and death. But if you have someone by your side who you think is worth fighting for, then do it. In the words of my dear friend, “Who knows? You might fall in love all over again.”

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your comments on the article and even examples of when you have been faced with the decision of putting up a fight for your relationship or moving on.

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Are We Letting Our Relationship Battles Become Relationship Wars?

We’ve all at some point been guilty of doing this at some point in the relationship. I’ve made this same mistake myself as recently as last night. I was having a bad afternoon and was looking to my significant other to make it all better by putting him on the spot by asking him to go into detail about what he loved about me and why. Now, in the moment, I felt completely justified in demanding this. I made myself completely deaf to the other ways he was trying to reassure me. He tried to get to the bottom of my mini meltdown and show me that he had my back, but he didn’t give me what I wanted in the time I was demanding it. So as far as I was concerned, he was only making the problem worse. I let myself get so caught up in my darkness that I didn’t see the light of my lover trying to bring me out and show me that it wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. I let that darkness continue to spread into the evening to a phone conversation that went from bad to worse to a point in which we had to call a truce before things were said that could not be taken back. In our case, we had learned from past mistakes and were able to see the traps before we fell into them again. We’ve taken a couple of days to focus on our lives to let things cool off. This is a method I highly recommend as further conversation would have ended with no victory for either side. We have to realize that compromise doesn’t mean a loss of power. It just means a reassignment of what is really important.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that your relationship has been plagued with problems that blow up unnecessarily? Comment on this post and discuss!