Whether you’re a honeymooner or you’re celebrating your 50th anniversary, there’s a chance that the romantic spark that brought you and your partner together in the first place needs to be rekindled. Experts say that a continually fulfilling relationship requires establishing and maintaining a complete connection.
“Marriage is more than a wedding and a license, it’s a psychological, emotional and spiritual sense of connection,” says Dr. Frederick D. Mondin, a marriage counselor, human sexuality professor and author of the new book, “Erotic Love & Marriage: Improve Your Sex Life and Emotional Connection,” which offers insights on the issues that almost every relationship struggles with, as well as solutions that highlight connection, communication and exploration.
Dr. Mondin is sharing tips and insights to all couples seeking to connect or re-connect with one another.
• Keep dating: No matter how busy you become, you should never stop having the kind of fun you had when you were courting. Whether it’s hiking beautiful trails, going to concerts, or giving and attending parties, these activities should be carried into any long-term relationship if you intend to have a meaningful romantic life together and a healthy emotional connection.
• Take each other seriously: Don’t allow gender stereotypes to lead you to discount each other’s feelings or opinions as irrational. You’ll communicate more effectively, and be happier as a result, if you listen to your partner and take him or her seriously. In other words, there should be no “boss” in the marriage. Work at maintaining a peer relationship.
• Ritualize contact time: Couples need ritualized contact time in which they get together, such as going to lunch once a week, having coffee together in the morning or watching a television program they both like. This is one of the most important components of having a close, emotionally intimate relationship.
• Speak the language of love: Emotional intimacy has its own language, the language of endearment. Focus on all the right features of your partner — the personal qualities you saw when you first met and still appreciate, and start to verbalize that information. If your partner reciprocates, it will create a feeling of closeness. These words don’t have to be rational or logical, but they should always be a validation of the relationship and your partner.
• Lose your inhibitions: Be open with each other about everything — including sex. Unfortunately, lingering guilt, fear and shame on this topic prevent many couples from being candid with one another. Learn to lose those inhibitions so that you can share your needs, desires, feelings and concerns.
• Give each other space: You don’t need to do everything together to have a happy relationship. In fact, the happiest couples tend to give each other the support and space needed to maintain their independent interests.
You don’t have to resign yourself to receding happiness as time passes. A challenge of your current beliefs can help you rekindle the spark and enjoy a closer, more meaningful relationship.