One of my most popular writing workshops is Hips Don’t Lie: Body Language Between the Sexes. During this talk, I describe the physical and emotional changes men and women undergo in love from first attraction to golden anniversary and beyond. The very last segment discusses the ideal of “compassionate” romance, which generally begins after approximately two years into a relationship. My most recent release, a short story for Valentine's Day entitled Duping Cupid, revolves around two people who've been in the compassionate stage for years, but without the silly mess of the passionate stage. Are you in your relationship for the long haul? Here are five things you need to remember to keep those flames burning.
1. Eye contact. Look at each other when you talk, especially when you’ve been apart all day due to work or errands. Reconnect visually. Show respect by giving him/her your undivided attention.
2. Listen. Show your partner you still value his/her opinion. Don’t be in such a rush to voice your side of the discussion that you don’t give your mate a chance to finish. Use that eye contact. Forget the dishes for five minutes and focus on each other–not the kids, the dog, or the television. Just each other.
3. Touch. Whether watching television on the couch or driving somewhere in a car, keep contact with each other whenever possible. Hold hands, play footsie, kiss for no reason. Get the neighbors envying how much like teenagers you two are!
4. Say “I love you.” Say it several times a day. Just saying, “I love you” releases endorphins in your brain that promote happiness. The more you say those three words, the more you’ll subconsciously connect your partner with that feeling of joy.
5. Find creative outlets away from each other. Write, paint, knit, build model cars. If you allow your creative side free rein in hobbies, you’re less likely to use that part of your brain to “correct” your mate’s flaws and you’ll be happier with each other.
Do I guarantee these five things will get you to your golden anniversary? No. But they’re easy ways to show respect and love for the person you’ve vowed to respect and love for a lifetime.