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Narrated by Marie T. Russell
Quite a few people have bought into the widely held myth that-long term relationships eventually become flat and boring. This belief, if unchallenged can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy that will eventually create the reality that we fear. Possessed by the expectation that the future is bleak, it’s not surprising that many couples can begin an inexorable downward trajectory that all too often ends in separation, divorce, or a flat-lined relationship.
While it is not possible to prevent periods of doubt from ever occurring, it is possible to strengthen a relationship in a way that minimizes their impact and diminishes the frequency of those occurrences. Not just a little bit, but to a very significant degree.
One of the things required for this to occur is to introduce more novelty into your relationship. The core of the word “novelty” derives from the French “novelte” which means “new, fresh”. Many associate the idea of novelty with bringing a fresh new relationship into your life, but doing so inevitably becomes problematic, as many have found out the hard way. It is at best, a temporary “solution” and usually includes multiple (often unanticipated) negative consequences.
The good news is that it is possible to bring more pleasure, freshness and juice, into your life (and your relationship) without jeopardizing the foundation of your partnership. Keeping a relationship vital after years and even decades, requires living life from a commitment to play your own edge by adopting an intention to grow rather than stagnate.
You can plant yourself on a path of learning and challenge, rather than one of comfort and complacency. It doesn’t mean that you feverishly pursue new experiences in frenzy of zealousness, but simply that you become more willing to bring more risk into life to move out of the comfort zone and into the adventure zone.
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Prioritizing Your Time and Your Relationship
Lest you get into the “I’d-love-to-but-there’s not-enough-time” syndrome, let us remind you that it’s never a matter of having enough time; it’s always a matter of how you choose to prioritize your time. Many give other interests a higher priority than their relationship. They think that the can afford to put it on cruise control. They think, “since we’re committed, we don’t need to continue to put the time, attention, and energy into things that we did in the early days when our relationship wasn't so secure.” Wrong!
It’s a big mistake to take your partnership for granted and assume that it doesn’t require the same kind of care and attention that it did way back when. Worse, it can be a set up for disaster if this neglect continues for too long.
In most relationships there is one partner who tends to be more concerned about the quality of the relationship than the other. The person who is the stand for keeping romance alive is more likely to notice when it is fading. This is not to imply that he or she has the sole responsibility for keeping things on track, but rather, because of this awareness, they are more attuned to the need for corrections when they are called for.
There are a myriad of ways to bring more passion into a relationship, one of which is dating. Don’t stop dating just because you’re married. We know couples who have been married for over fifty years and still date frequently.
Some even attribute their mutual happiness to having regularly scheduled dates to look forward to. They have come up with some innovative ways to spend their date time. Dates can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks, depending on the time and financial resources that you and your partner have available.
How to Escape or Avoid the Doldrums
Here are suggestions to help you escape or avoid the doldrums:
*Take lessons or a class together to learn something new, for example, a sport, a foreign language, or a musical instrument.
*Volunteer to do community service. If you haven’t already discovered it, giving to others enhances the quality of your own life as much as it does theirs. It also helps you to put your own problems in perspective.
*Exchange massages periodically. You don’t need to be a licensed body-worker to bring physical pleasure to each other and your partner’s feedback will help you to perfect your stroke.
*Go for walks and bike rides in places that you haven’t been before. You probably won’t need to travel very far to find them.
*Bring more surprise into your relationship by leaving unexpected gifts, love notes, and bringing unexpected events into your lives.
*Read love poems to each other. If you favor the exotic, consider poetry from Rumi, Hafiz, or Kabir. Consider writing some poetry yourself.
This is just a starter kit; don’t be limited to it. Feel free to come up with your own ideas.
Keeping Love Alive
Taking time out of our busy lives to keep love alive will keep our relationship thriving instead of just merely surviving. Trying something new can bring more thrills and excitement. So get off of the treadmill of just being business partners, roommates or co-parents and add some spice and fun into the mix. Who knows, it might even become a habit!
©2021 by Linda and Charlie Bloom.
Book by these Authors
101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last
by Linda and Charlie Bloom.
Each lesson in this book is presented as a simple, one-line thought followed by an explanation using real life examples, from Charlie and Linda's personal experiences and the experiences of other couples. The Blooms demonstrate the universality of relationship issues and how anyone can find ways out of the pain that can engulf a relationship. By working through these ordeals, couples will enrich their relationships. This book makes it clear that, regardless of past experience, anyone can develop the basic strengths, skills and capacities needed for a great relationship.
Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available as a Kindle edition, an Audiobook, or an MP3 CD.
About the Authors
Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been married since 1972. Trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors, they have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975. They have lectured and taught at learning institutes throughout the USA and they have offered seminars throughout the world, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Denmark, Sweden, India, Brazil, and many other locations..
Their website is www.bloomwork.com.