Two ingredients for a long lasting relationship (Freud’s cornerstones of humanity): Love and Work. There have been countless times that I have heard men and women say, “I love him” or “I love her”. But is the relationship working?
Love, while a powerful ingredient in the recipe for ecstasy, does not a relationship make. Whether dating or married, all good relationships require work (ongoing maintenance). Stay tuned in to your partner’s needs (some that may be ever changing).
Without fail, when couples come in to see me, communication is identified as a source of conflict in the relationship. Consider developing effective communication a work always in progress. Learning to talk about feelings like anger, fear, intimacy, or jealousy can be challenging. It is especially challenging if love leaves the room. Too often in conflict, couples throw love out of the window. Meaning, they get mean or defensive. It is hard work to remain kind and open while battling it out. But it is a must, if love is to last. This means trying when you don’t feel like it and forgiving when you don’t believe you can.
Love increases a relationships staying power in and outside of the bedroom. Being able to talk about what you want from your partner is not so easy. Play games to decrease the anxiety around the, often dreaded, topic of sex. Games like Butt Naked Twister or “I am thinking of a ________; can you guess what it is?” Fill in the blank with sexual positions, aphrodisiacs, mood, place/setting, item of clothing. These games are particularly helpful to assist couples in reconnecting. It turns work into play.