When you look at another couple, how do you evaluate them? Can you tell how they feel about each other, the level of respect they have, their friendship and how deep their bond goes? If you have a pretty good pulse on how people jive, next consider your own relationship. When out to dinner do you sit there quietly, are you constantly on your phone or are you two engaged in conversation, focusing only on each other? If you answered one of the first two this is a warning sign that your relationship is in trouble. If you answered the last one, your relationship is where it should be. The two should be reconnecting all of the time. You should be finding excitement, joy and feel a deep warmth when around one another. The truth is after that initial honeymoon phase wears off you have to work a little harder to reconnect. But there is also something deep and profound in a relationship where you’ve been together a long time, a comfort that cannot stand against puppy love. The key to a lasting marriage is friendship. Find ways to have fun together. What interests or hobbies do you share? Another thing you can do is try new things you’ve always wanted to try together. Make a list together and cross them off as you go through. Here are some other ideas on how to infuse your marriage or relationship with a deep, loving, profound friendship.
When you interact with your partner, be mindful of your tone. Are you communicating to your partner how much they mean to you? Does the attitude you approach the relationship with reflect the kind of relationship you want? If not, start incorporating the right tone and attitude into it and see if it comes back to you. It’s all in your approach. People react to the attitude you give them. So if you approach the relationship with a sweet, loving and lighthearted attitude that is generally what you should receive in return. Are you more critical of your spouse or lover than you need to be? Do you treat them worse than your friends? If this is the care, or the case of your partner sit down and think about it. Approach your partner with your concerns. Describe the phenomenon you are seeing and ways to fix it. For every criticism you have for your partner find two nice things to say. Use a strategy corporate trainers called “sandwiching.” Sandwich a negative comment between two positive ones. It takes the sting out. “I really loved the dinner you made. Could you use a little less pepper next time? But I loved the sauce!” Be patient with your partner and expect them to be patient with you. Find times to laugh and have fun together. Reminisce. Go through old photo albums and talk about old times together. Try to incorporate how you would treat a friend with how you treat your partner, only with more love, warmth and understanding. Expect the same from them in return. For more on this topic, read Hidden Keys of a Loving, Lasting Marriage by Gary Smalley.