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Lock And Key: Unlocking The Secrets Of Staying In Love:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Falling” in love is the easy part, it’s the staying in “love” that seems to be more difficult, primarily because most of us don’t know what the means. Our entire lives, we’ve been surrounded by relationships that have gone “stale”. Sure the couple may still be together and care for each other, but the “spark” is gone. And that’s pretty easy to do, even if you’re “just” cohabitating.

Think about how often (either on television or in real life) we experience couples bickering, sitting at opposite ends of the room, doing “their own thing” and pretty much having lost interest in one another after the “I Dos” are said, the children are born, and even when the kids are out of the house.

It’s not the people necessarily fall out of love, it’s that (due to life and all its demands and responsibilities) they forget how to show and experience love (even in its different stages). What was once “exciting” (such as cooking dinner, dressing up, or going out for a night on the town) are simple rote obligations and routines to break the “monotony” or marriage.

The trick, say experts, is to maintain a positive attitude toward your mate, your ever-changing situation, obligations, and relationship, and of course, a positive outlook on life. All too many couples put too much emphasis on their differences, instead of their similarities, focus on the negative instead of the positive, make it all about work, home, and/or the kids (with little or no time for enjoying the little things), many even forget HOW to show they care about each other. They no longer say “I Love YOU” (it should be understood), she may no longer gets up and make him breakfast on the weekends, he’s stopped giving her cards, gifts, or taking her places, and eventually the caring may remain but the “passion” is gone.

Even couples who “HAVE” stood the test of time (trials and tribulations) say you can’t expect the honeymoon (and honeymoon phase) to last for ever, but you certainly can make the decision to make the best and most of every moment and opportunity (together)….and most of all, never stop expressing and showing just how much your care (and remember actions speak louder than words).

Here are a few suggestions for successful couples (of all ages):

Separate: From your kids that is, and make time for just the two of you. It’s imperative that while you devote your time, love, focus, energy, etc., on your kids, you also realize that you are (both) still individuals with a life and interests of your own, those that will persist long after the kids are grown and out on their own. Besides, it’s good (for the kids) to see mom and dad (romantically) getting along, in order to help them foster successful relationships of their own someday.

Make sure there is plenty of family time, but also make sure there is plenty of couple time. Set aside specific times where the kids MUST be in bed, giving you and your mate time and space. Arrange for a date night (at least once a week); even consider occasionally taking a vacation without the kids.

Something To Look Forward To: From something as simple as weekly massages (that you each give to each other) or showering together each day, to sharing your first cup of coffee together each day, holding hands in bed or while walking down the street, it’s important to establish meaningful routines or rituals that are meaningful and help you stay connected.

Remember to not only say “I love you” but to show it. Don’t forget your anniversary or his/her birthday. Cards and gifts are another biggie, as far as small gestures go. A simple note before heading off to work can really brighten someone’s day, and, even if your mate knows what his/her gift is going to be don’t forget the card, and to wrap it (nicely) just to show how much you care.

The Great Face Off: Don’t forget to kiss and hug your partner several times a day, especially when leaving the house or returning from where you went. This not only shows you love your mate, but is a great attitude of gratitude for his/her love for you.

Showing your appreciation for your “spouse” and all he/she does is a great way to keep the love and the romance alive.

Team Work: From you level of intimacy to how you approach and handle the outside world, and/or family, you need to stick together as a united front. While you can’t expect to agree on everything, all the time, it’s imperative that you bond intellectually (first) and all else will follow.

Showing respect for your mate and his/her point of view, even if it sometimes means having to go against your own judgment, is an ideal way to build trust and enrich the relationship.

Preserve (Your Own Identity): In order to stay in love, it’s also important that you stay apart, once in a while, giving each other the opportunity to miss your mate. Couples and experts alike site one of the biggest mistakes couples make, is abdicating their own individuality, friends, interests, etc., once they are married. They do EVERYTHING as a couple and have no (exciting or interesting) news or information to share with each other (especially once the kids are gone). Even a few hours a day to go to a social club, friends house, even to the grocery can put enough distance between you, to make you happy to come home.

Knowledge Is Power: Knowing and understanding what your partner wants, needs, and how he/she would like to be approached is key to keeping communication open and effective.

Staying of your partner’s “good side” is essential to a happy, healthy relationship, and that can include how you make even simple requests. That’s exactly why successful couples stress studying your partner and securing and understanding of what he/she responds to.

Choose Quality Over Quantity: Especially if you’re one of those couples with busy lives, you want to make your time together count. Mindlessly watching TV (every night) on working independently on your personal computers won’t help you connect (or resolve any issues). Couples need to do things that will stimulate them intellectually and allow for discussion and exchange of ideas.

However, they key to success is like a lock on a home, each one is different. While you may want to take the lead from those who’ve proven their “tricks’ and tactics work, you’ll also want to identify the dynamic that works for YOU. And remember, just like in any relationship, nothing is going to work “perfectly” all of the time…which means you’ll (always) have to be on your toes, and willing to change…but quite often (as long as your both moving in the same direction), change is good. And, even when it’s not, those who’ve “made it” agree, that (with patience, love, and understanding), this too shall pass.

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