General Question

shudderbrother's avatar

What can one do to keep the flame burning in a relationship, year after year?

Asked by shudderbrother (134points) July 7th, 2008

All you need is love, I know. But there are so many days, so many mornings when she (or he) doesn´t look as sharp and sexy and exciting as when we got together, to say the least. Suggestions?

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34 Answers

elchoopanebre's avatar

The one thing I can think of is to try new things with that person.

Then you will see new reactions from them and aspects of them you might not have known about and it will keep things spontaneous, new, and interesting.

johnnyc299's avatar

If you are struggling after a year god help you after 15. Imagine when you are trying to make time for each when you have kids and you are trying to pay the mortgage.
My advice is to try and get away together as often as possible.

PupnTaco's avatar

I don’t think shudder meant they’ve only been together one year.

I’ve been in love with my wife and best friend for 18 years now – and I know this is different for each relationship, but in general:

1. Communicate honestly
2. Don’t be afraid of counseling
3. Keep growing together, trying new things
4. Make your relationship a priority

Dog's avatar

Be spontanoius whenever possible and when you get frustrated in life remember that your lover is not there to be a verbal release. Bite your tongue before taking it out on them.

johnnyc299's avatar

Misread the question, sorry.

monsoon's avatar

I agree with pupntaco (though the opposite of which is often the case :) ). I think that something that my friends who have never been in a real consumate relationship can’t understand is that to make a relationship work, it, and that person, have to be a priority. You can’t worry about looking like a whipping boy, because that relationship is too easy to let slip away.

Also, definitely try new things. And it doesn’t hurt to talk to your partner about getting healthier, and trying to get in shape—there’s always the possibility that you’re not the stud you once were either. Making a commitment together to get back in shape—together, as in, going to the gym together or walking together, which doubles as a nice quite time to just talk—are ideas that your spouse won’t take as “I don’t find you as attractive as I used to,” but rather, “I want us to live our lives together as a long and healthily as possible, and this is something I feel I need to, and want you to do with me.”

monsoon's avatar

Also, love is not all you need—that’s a myth. A relationship is hard work. But love is a good place to start.

lindabrowne1's avatar

A good communications course for couples would be awesome. Therapy if need be. So many folks are turned off by therapy—it’s not for the faint-hearted. It is wonderful for growing and seeing the value of change and letting go. Keep your relationship fresh—both parties making a commitment to do this. Keeping yourself attractive for one another, spontaneous, sexy, fun, surprises!

Knotmyday's avatar

I assume you mean the flame of passion, or attraction.
The key is to be completely honest…with yourself.
Sometimes a lack of joie de vivre indicates a personal dissatisfaction, projected onto your partner simply because it’s easier than dealing with the real problem.
Everybody does, or has done it, one way or other.
I would absolutely take Pup’s advice to heart. 18 years, man! Good luck.

marinelife's avatar

Go on dates. Put time for romantic encounters in your calendars. The rule during those times is no talk about problems or errands or the business of living together or kids.

Make an arrangement to meet in a romantic spot and “bump” into each other. Introduce yourselves. Flirt.

Take turns telling each other one sexual fantasy you have not tried yet. Grant each other’s wish.

delirium's avatar

play. Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

chatnoir's avatar

If looking sharp and sexy and exciting is your idea of keeping a relationship vital I’d suggest you wait a bit before you request someone to commit to you. These values will not sustain you or anyone else over time. They are very short lived pleasures.

chaosrob's avatar

Bad news, the flame doesn’t stay on all the time. Sometimes you keep treating your spouse with respect and friendship even when you’re not feeling particularly passionate about them. Unless things have really gone wrong, eventually (months, maybe, but don’t wait forever) one of you will spark and you’ll begin exploring each other again. In it’s own way, rediscovering your spouse by learning what’s new about them and what they’ve become eager to try is incredibly exciting. Just try not to do any harm to each other while things aren’t about the passion. Did that make any sense?

shudderbrother's avatar

I really like chaosrob´s approach.

@chatnoir, thanks for the advice, but the commitment is made long ago (not quite in pupntaco´s leage yet though), and I can assure you that there are no illusions about everlasting days of pleasure and excitement.

What I was trying to say (in a snappy way which of course fell out rather clumsy) is exactly the same as you point at: We know that in the long run you can´t trust biology to keep a relationship going by it self. And if you´re not the one to just run a way, then what do you build on? I like respect and playfulness among the suggestions.

charliecompany34's avatar

the three Rs! romance romance romance. whatever got you to the marriage is what it takes to keep it vibrant and alive.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

treat each day like its your first and last together.

shudderbrother's avatar

Sorry cc34, but that view is just a little too… uhm… romantic for me.

scamp's avatar

I agree with charliecompany34 . Romance is a wonderful thing.

allengreen's avatar

KY Warming Oil

timothykinney's avatar

Quit your jobs and backpack around Europe.

melohhh's avatar

ah, but money is quite the issue. I would love to leave it all and travel… where does one get the dough for such excursions?

monsoon's avatar

Yeah, it’s a nice idea. There’s no hiding that money can make romance easier. Not that it’s impossible without it, but it is easier.

jeanm's avatar

Suggestions, you ask:
Take a road trip together (even a brief excursion). Time together in a car, to talk and listen to books on tape and read to each other and just watch the world go by, helps keep things in perspective.
Cook together, or cook for each other, and then eat and drink with passion.
Go shopping together, and insist on being in the fitting room with each other to watch the getting naked park and trying on different clothes. It’s not about buying, it’s about experimenting with new “looks” and explaining what you like to see so you can look forward to seeing it for a long time.

galileogirl's avatar

You can’t sustain that ‘fever hotter than a pepper sprout’ all the time. Sometimes you have to bank the fire and enjoy a warm glow just so you can carry on with the rest of your life. However if your problem is that ‘she (or he) doesn´t look as sharp and sexy and exciting as when we got together’ then you better develop some coping skills. Time passes, gravity wins. Luckily our eyes weaken and most of us don’t wear our glasses in intimate moments. Just remember, you don’t exactly look like Brad Pitt with a beer in your hand, slouching on the couch and scratching your belly.

timothykinney's avatar

Well said galileogirl. For me, the whole plan of a long term relationship is to enjoy the novel romantic feelings in the beginning, and use them as a catalyst to form a deeper bond. Take that “pepper sprout fever” and spend time together, take pictures together, talk long into the night, cook dinner, go on trips- make a lot of positive memories together. Then, if/when the intensity of the fever fades, you will have formed a deeper emotional bond to him/her. You can actually call them your significant other.

There will be rocky times. You’ll fight for no reason. You’ll go to bed with no earthly idea what the other person is saying. You’ll wonder what you got yourself into sometimes. But ignore those things. Recognize the beauty and mystery of two individuals sharing common ground. Recognize that you have chosen each other, out of 6.3 billion people, to share your life together. That is incredible!

Then, when you look up from your steak and asparagus one evening, you’ll look across the table and see their face, completely normal- chewing asparagus, and you’ll realize that you love them deeply, unconditionally, without remorse.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Great answer, timothy.

shudderbrother's avatar

Very well said, timothy, I absolutely agree. Strangely, sometimes the tiny and rather non-romantic things in everyday life are what really move me. Like in a very normal dinner table conversation (over that aspargus maybe) about this and that and everything that goes on in our small lives: The kids and school, music, work, places we´d like to visit, silly neighbours, politics…..- and then discovering (again) how we think very much alike on all those different subjects. All the interests, memories and opinions we share: I´m at home with her! And just as suddenly I might discover I´m just sitting there watching her eyes….

I really believe in embracing everyday as the most important and – sometimes – most beautiful parts of my life.

sarapnsc's avatar

Don’t become predictable and boring…and go buy a Karma Sutra book…

Strauss's avatar

Be friends first and foremost. If you find yourselves in conflict (and you will), ask yourself, “Is this the way I am supposed to treat a friend?”

Something that has been useful during our 21 years is to start wooing again. Buy her the occasional bouquet for no particular reason. Don’t forget to date occasionally. If possible, meet for lunch.

DrMC's avatar

Don’t keep weapons in the house,

Make sure to give your spouse a break from your whining or bitching depending on your gender.

Counseling is needed for most because marriage with kids will make you insane.

Dont forget, excitement helps. This is why I usually suggest bank robbery together (just kidding)

plethora's avatar

@DrMC Bank robbery….what a great idea. Never thought of that.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Maybem buy some sexy lingerie:)

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