“We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I’ll never forget a single moment of it.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Sometimes Hollywood really pisses me off. Why? Lots of reasons! But today, I’m talking about the way Hollywood portrays relationships – they’re idealistic and easy in all of the movies, OR they’re so crazy you can’t even imagine. Even toxic relationships are idealized and completely mischaracterized in the movies.
And yet, when celebs stay together for more than a couple of years, they are held up as some kind of shining example of a long marriage.
But as for the rest of us, reality doesn’t always stay so shiny. Marriage is hard, sometimes, and the road isn’t always full of flowers and freaking sunshine. Still, if you’re committed, and you’re in a healthy relationship, you persevere and you get through the hard times so you can find a few flowers and sunny days along the way.
That’s how people stay married for 100 years. And that’s how we can end the whole 50 percent divorce rate deal, if you ask me.
Marriage and Relationships in the Real World Can Be Hot AND Forever
Whether you’re married legally or just in your hearts, once you’ve been together a while, the sparkle can sort of be overcome by the dullness of everyday life. It’s easy to find yourself growing apart from your partner, especially if you’re both independent people or if you don’t share many interests.
So, how about you? Would you say that romance and passion are still hot in your relationship?
Do you feel excited when you think about your partner? Or do you find yourself bored and tired of the same ol’ routine? Maybe you feel like your relationship needs a bit of a recharge, or that you just don’t feel as attracted to your spouse as you used to.
Don’t rush to call the divorce lawyer just yet! This is a common phenomenon. After the excitement of the early phases of a relationship pass, things become routine – and that’s totally normal and okay.
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck, and it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to make it better. Don’t just give up and resign yourself to just a ho-hum relationship.
There are many so many ways to enhance the romance in your relationship and bring the sparkle back.
Think back to a time when you couldn’t wait until the next moment you could spend with your love. Remember when it felt exciting to think about what could happen next in your relationship? Remember that little tickle you felt the first time he said “I love you” or the way your heart jumped into your throat first time you kissed?
Imagine how great it would be to feel excited about your relationship again! What could it do for you personally? How about for you as a couple? It could change your entire lives, and all for the better.
Your Guide to Getting the Sparkle Back and Reconnecting With Your Love
There are some basic stats I could throw at you here, and the scientist in me wants to prove her point – but that’s not what it’s all about. However, you can read a little bit about what scientists say make a marriage withstand the trials of daily life right here.
- Go to bed together. Studies have shown that a few minutes of cuddling each night increases the bond between couples. Staying up late to watch the late show while your partner is in bed can have negative consequences.
- Have a weekly date night. Relive one of your early dates. It’s a fun way to get out of the house and remember the excitement of getting to know each other. Make your date night a habit. If you can get out weekly, great. If you can only get out once or twice each month, that’s okay, too.
- Make it rain (with compliments!). Compliment your partner at least once each day. When a couple starts dating, they keep all the negative opinions to themselves and let the compliments flow. Over time, the ratio tends to swing in the opposite direction. Make a consistent effort to say something nice to your significant other each day.
- Take a shower together. Not only will you conserve water, but you’ll also spend some fun, quality time together. If you have time, take a bath instead.
- Happy shocker! Give your partner a surprise. It doesn’t have to be a new car. A simple note, flower, or other small gesture can make anyone’s day brighter.
- Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. Make a list of your partner’s positive traits. You can probably rattle off your partner’s characteristics that drive you nuts. However, you might have to think about the qualities you appreciate. And focus on what’s good. Spend a little time reflecting on their positive traits. Make a list of everything you like about your partner. Then make a list of everything you find attractive about your partner.
- Smack it, flip it, rub it down. Oh yeah. Give each other a massage. This is a real massage, not rubbing her shoulders while she watches television. Pick up some candles, massage oil, and do it properly.
- You can share stuff too. Find a hobby you both enjoy. Maybe you play poker with the boys while she goes out for wine with the girls. Why not find something you both enjoy? You could take an art class together, join a co-ed soccer team, or volunteer at the local animal shelter.
- Stop beating each other up! Avoid attacking the other person. There’s a difference between saying, “It drives me crazy when you leave your socks on the floor” and “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you pick anything up?” The first statement addresses the behavior. The second attacks the person. The difference in the response you receive is significant.
- Sex up your life! Change up your sex life. After a while, most couples fall into a routine that leaves both parties less than enthusiastic. Change things up a little. Get a book and experiment. You might find the excitement coming back into your lovemaking.
If you really want to bring the sparkle back to your relationship, you’ve gotta WANT it and really stay focused. Re-energizing the romance in your relationship requires effort and commitment.
It can help to relive your cherished memories of the past and focus on your partner’s positive qualities. A daily compliment can open the doors to appreciating each other all over again.
Simply being thoughtful enough to say “thank you” and to tell your partner you appreciate him will work wonders. Tell him you’re proud of him.
It really is the little things! Give your relationship the time and energy it deserves and watch the sparkle come back in a flash. You’ll be glad you did – and so will your partner. I promise. 🙂
Worried that your relationship might be toxic? Take the toxic relationship test, right here. It’s free!
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.