Kate Figes (the author of ‘Couples: How We Make Love Last’ and ‘Our Cheating Hearts: Love and Loyalty, Lust and Lies’), Irma Kurtz (writer & journalist), David Waters (couples’ counselor), Judy Ford (psychotherapist, counselor, and author), and Janis Abrahams Spring (clinical psychologist & family therapist) all combine to offer you the best advice to keep sex and romance alive.
Here are some of their rules for a happy and long-lasting relationship.
1. Accept that your partner is a human being and thus fallible. When you expect someone to be as you want them to be, you’ll always be disappointed. We are all prone to err because we are human. And we make mistakes. All of us.
2. Accept that the sex will change. Sex is different at different stages of your relationship. At the beginning it is passionate and reproductively urged, then in the early years of parenthood it becomes snatched, only to become slow and intimate during our midlife years. Learn to embrace all these changes.
3. Forget all troubles and laugh together every now and then. They say that a good laugh equals good sex. It is uninhibited and spontaneous, and it unites 2 human beings into a whole. Whenever things get rocky between you, always find time for a good laugh.
4. Don’t expect you and your partner to be one and the same. A good relationship constitutes 2 individuals who are willing to solve the problems that might arise in the relationship and trying to navigate around the many differences that they have – money, food, politics, raising children etc.
5. Learn to communicate about ‘WHY’. Every couple argues. Arguments are healthy. However, be careful to not humiliate each other in the process. When you are able to talk openly and honestly about why we did what we did that caused the argument. That builds trust and intimacy.
6. Appreciate what life still has to offer you. The great wisdom that comes with middle age is the knowledge that our time is limited. If you two have managed to go through all the ups and downs, working hard to make ends meet and raise your children, then this is the time for both of you to enjoy and embrace each moment.
7. Spend time together without the children. When you have kids, it is difficult to find time for yourselves. But, don’t make excuses and try to spend time alone with your partner and reminiscence about why you are together in the first place.
8. Forget snooping. Whenever you are tempted to go through your partner’s phone, ask yourself: Am I doing this because I don’t trust my partner?” Even if you have valid doubts, snooping is not a way to solve them. Honest communication is always the key.
9. Change your relationship’s metaphor. For instance, while you and your partner are developing your relationship, instead of ‘working’ say ‘playing.’ Working feels heavy while playing can remind us of good and spontaneous times when we were little kids.
10. Shut up and listen. It doesn’t matter how bad things are between you, give your partner a chance to speak and listen to them. Don’t jump to conclusions before hearing each other out. Only remember to not scream or judge and try to keep it cool at all costs.
11. Invest in the relationship with the family of your partner. Even though these relationships may not be your cup of tea, make the effort to remember the important dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries etc. Also, don’t ever try to turn your partner against their family. That can easily backfire on you.
12. Learn to spend time alone. Develop a relationship with yourself outside of your relationship. Take time out of your schedule for your hobbies, friends, and doing everything that you like doing. This will have an enormous impact (positive) on your relationship as well because you will be refreshed and more able to state your true needs.
13. Adopt a new narrative. Don’t think of your relationship as an arc, with a beginning, middle, and an end. Think of it as a particular season – spring, summer, autumn, and winter. This can be really helpful to understand that sometimes you have to wait for the cold winter to pass, and the spring to bloom again in your relationship.
14. Understand that you can develop yourself only. People often fall in love with people that possess the qualities that they would like to have themselves. We all want to be seen as a wonderful person. But be careful to not fall into the trap of developing your partner’s qualities instead of developing yours.
15. Don’t be cruel. According to the experts, people who talk down and ridicule their partner are destroying their relationship. People who are in happy and successful relationships never speak to each other in a cruel way. Their words are always kind, loving, and encouraging.
16. Be open to change and prepared for surprises. Love matures as we change and mature. We are all dynamic people prone to changing. The things that were important to you in the beginning stages of your relationship may not be the same things that would matter to you 10 years from now. Yours and your partner’s desires may change down the road, and that’s okay.
17. Understand that the moments of weakness and restlessness is when you find what it truly means to love someone. It’s very easy to love someone when we are feeling our best. The trick is to learn how to still love your partner with the same intensity when you are feeling down, overwhelmed, exhausted, and restless.
18. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you are right and your partner wrong. Relationships are about compromises, about balance. They are about finding joy and comfort in each other. It’s about listening and understanding the other person without getting into a heated argument.
19. Be kind. Kindness and having each other’s backs are the most crucial things to building an intimate and loving relationship. Learn how to say: “I am sorry.” “I forgive you.” I have never looked at it that way.” “You are right.” “I am on your side.” “Help me understand.” “Let’s give it a try.”
20. Find the root of an affair to move past it. Before judging, ask yourself, “What does this affair say about me, my partner, and my relationship with him?” Maybe it is not all your partner’s fault. Maybe both of you were guilty that the affair took place because you forgot the important things by ignoring each other.
21. If you have cheated on your partner, you must now “give” to your partner in order to reconnect again…
22. … And turn toward that person and treat them in a loving and caring way. Take responsibility for your action and understand that the only thing that your partner needs from you right now is your closeness and your love.
23. Forgive each other. Forgiveness is a gift that only the strongest possess. It is also a heartfelt act that all couples should implement in their relationship.
24. Work to rebuild the intimacy between you. I know it’s hard to become sexually intimate again after a troubling period. However, both you and your partner need to understand to act with compassion, tenderness, vulnerability, and rawness. Take off the pressure and substitute it with mind-blowing orgasms. It will do wonders for your relationship.