Many people believe that marriage is the best way to take a glittering romantic relationship and send it down the road to a slow and painful death. That’s right, say goodbye to the heels, hair and makeup and hello to flip-flops, sweatpants and scrunchies. But here is a little secret, romance does not die as a relationship develops.
With the right perspective, romance can grow, and more specifically, it can grow up.
Every couple enjoys the early phases of their courtship, which are filled with flirtatious ways to spice things up. There are so many powerful tools and resources that can be used to add heat, passion and romance into the equation.
Why then doesn’t it last? Why don’t couples continue to bring that same magic into their relationship as the years go on?
The answer is simple – because it’s just not realistic. Whether we like it or not, bedhead and morning breath are parts of real life. When a relationship is underdeveloped, those small things really impact us, which is why we take extra measures to put our best foot forward (even if it means keeping a hair brush and pack of minty breath strips under the pillow).
However, the first lesson is to set realistic expectations and realize that those initial efforts are only designed to buy us enough time to truly fall in love with one another and be attracted to what’s beneath the surface. Remember, the goal of the relationship is not to become infatuated with the external allure, but to fall head over heels for the person on the inside. When a relationship matures to the point where a couple learns to admire, love, respect and appreciate their partner in spite of their human flaws, that is when things are taken to a new level.
Too often, couples look back in time and long for their early days. They miss the simple life, where work, kids, mortgage, bills and demands were not a constant burden, and “love” was always in the air. I would suggest to such a couple that perhaps its time to mature and own the new, grown-up version of your relationship.
Since a couple cannot live in the past, how about trying to evolve and adapt to the new realities?
Don’t get me wrong, every couple should have fun, and enjoy romance, gifts and treats. However, it should reflect the maturity of a relationship that has developed over time, not the cutesy distractions once used to bolster the fledgling couple amid the courtship process.
So often, after years of being together, a couple may try to capture the sparks of their early days with a magical date night. The wisdom of marriage professionals suggests that a couple indulge in champagne, chocolates and flowers in order to bring back the romance. To their dismay, however, a couple may try it, but find that it just doesn’t do for them what it once had done.
Is that a sign of their demise? Does it mean that their relationship is doomed and will never be romantic again?
Of course not! While those treats can be sensual, fun and enjoyable, they don’t necessarily work for many couples that have since outgrown them. After years of being together, the depth of the relationship truly runs so much deeper than the superficiality of chocolate and roses.
When a couple has built an intimate friendship, where they have seen and supported one another through their highs and lows, through periods of joy and grief, and success and failure, the foundation of their bond is usually far stronger than they realize!
At this stage, the name of the game is true intimacy. While physical intimacy and flirtatiousness can play a large role, and should definitely not be ignored, the emotional intercourse which takes place
is equally, if not more, critically important. There’s a reason that the Bible’s euphemism for sex is “knowing” your partner (such as “and Adam knew Eve).
Don’t feel down when the relationship seems to plateau. The underlying message, is, “Congratulations! You’ve graduated past the basics”. It is at this point that you are ready to know and understand one another with almost a prophetic predictability.
When a couple can read each other’s thoughts and feelings, and even finish each other’s sentences, it is a sign that you have achieved true intimacy. It is only with that knowledge and predictability that you can be sensitive to the stresses that push your partner over the edge, or conversely, know the intimate secrets that make your partner’s heart flutter.
With that knowledge and power, create a fun date that shows that you uniquely have grown to know who your partner is and what really makes them tick. Being armed with that knowledge is enough to light a fire in any relationship!