Tending the Flame

by BTM

Wed, 07 February 2024

Tending the Flame

Keeping the spark alive in long-term relationships can be challenging. Edwin D’Souza brings you the best of time-tested steps to make your relationship a long and happy one.

Romance novels rarely tell the tale beyond the happily ever after. The truth is, long-term relationships, as beautiful and enriching as they can be, require more than moonlight strolls and romantic dinners. The initial spark can flicker and fade, replaced by comfortable routine and unspoken expectations. But fear not, lovebirds! Rekindling the flame and keeping the spark alive is not only possible, but a delightful adventure in itself. 

Here’s how you can keep the spark alive in your long-term relationship:

Communicate and have meaningful conversationsCommunicate and have meaningful conversations
Communication is always the most important aspect of a relationship. Having an open and honest style of communication is imperative as that is the bedrock of any relationship, but in the long haul, it takes on even greater significance. Go beyond the autopilot conversations about groceries and chores. Dive deeper, share your dreams and anxieties, listen actively to your partner’s unspoken emotions, and rekindle the art of meaningful conversations. Express appreciation, offer reassurance, and remember the power of a simple “I love you.”
Cultivate emotional intimacy between each other, it oftens goes unnoticed how important it can be to show your vulnerable side and express freely to your partners, be empathetic and selfless and provide a safe space for your partner to be their authentic selves. Be their confidante, their cheerleader, and their rock. Emotional closeness strengthens the bond and fuels the emotional spark.

Show your appreciation
The language of appreciation is like oxygen, it fuels a relationship. Don’t let acts of kindness and support go unnoticed. Thank your partner for taking out the trash, making you coffee, or simply listening patiently. Celebrate their achievements, big and small, and express your admiration for their strengths and quirks. Let them know how much they mean to you, not just on special occasions, but every single day.

Show your appreciationRediscover the joy of learning about each other 
Remember when you couldn’t get enough of each other’s stories? Rekindle that curiosity! Ask questions, listen with genuine interest, and be surprised by your partner’s hidden depths. Read their favourite book together, delve into a new hobby they’re passionate about, or travel to a destination they’ve always dreamt of. Embrace the unfamiliar and rediscover the joy of learning about each other, one adventure at a time. It is always essential to keep that curiosity alive in the relationship and take on fun activities where you will learn something new about each other. 

Avoid the mundane and keep things exciting 
Embrace the unexpected that comes at you, routine can be comfortable, but it can also be the enemy of excitement. Break free from the predictable! Surprise your partner with a handwritten love letter, a spontaneous picnic under the stars, a bit of kayaking, or tickets to a concert they’ve been dying to see. Let your creativity run wild and inject a dose of the unexpected into your relationship. Remember, even the smallest surprises can make a big difference. 

Embrace the impact of a physical connection 
In the daily grind, physical touch often takes a backseat. It has a massive impact in fostering a healthy relationship. Why? Well, that’s because it can make your partner feel better when they’re having a bad day as physical touch brings a lot of comfort, and it will only catch you by surprise how much a small hug can change your loved one’s mood for the day. In fact, the renowned American author and family therapist, Virginia Satir, famously said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Interestingly enough, there is scientific reasoning behind why hugs play an important role in one’s life. Several reports state that when we hug someone, their body releases endorphins – chemicals that relieve pain and stress while promoting a sense of euphoria and happiness. It also releases the hormone oxytocin which is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”. 

In fact, a lingering moment holding hands while you are on a walk together at a park can add warmth to your connection. Don’t shy away from initiating intimacy and rebuilding that physical connection that drew you both closer together in the first place. A tiny gesture of love goes a long way, so make sure you hug your significant other today.

Bond over shared experiences
Shared experiences – it’s the glue that holds relationships together. Couples can go through tough times as well good times together; the fact remains, though, that going through any situation together as a couple only makes your bond grow stronger. 

While traversing challenging situations and troubleshooting daily problems is a significant part of a relationship, be sure to create opportunities for new and positive memories. How can you do that? Make time for regular date nights, even if it’s just a picnic in the park or a movie at home. Try a new restaurant, take a pottery class together at A’ali Pottery Centre, or embark on a weekend getaway. Creating new memories and inside jokes will keep your relationship fresh and reinforces the sense of “us against the world”. 

Laughter is the best medicine, and it applies to relationships too! Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Make each other laugh with silly jokes, playful banter, and light-hearted adventures. You could perhaps even get creative and relive the joy of your early days with water balloon fights, pillow fights, or goofy dance parties. Remember, laughter keeps the relationship fun, strengthens your connection, and reminds you of the joy you bring to each other’s lives. 

Understand your individual needs 
While togetherness is important, nurturing your individual passions is equally crucial. Encourage your partner’s hobbies and interests, even if they don’t align with your own. Spending time apart allows you to recharge, come back with fresh perspectives, and appreciate the unique qualities you bring to the relationship. Remember, two separate, thriving flames make the fire burn brighter. 

On that note, while self-love may seem counterintuitive, tending to your own needs is essential for better relationships. Prioritise self-care, whether it’s a daily meditation, a relaxing bath, or spending time with loved ones. A happy and fulfilled “you” translates into a happier and more present partner. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, fill your own with love, compassion, and joy, and watch your relationship flourish.