Women ask me all the time about HOW to keep a relationship alive and well.
And this is what I tell them…
So you’ve got yourself a man! Fed up of (not) completing the Sunday crossword by yourself, you sought council, cleared roadblocks you didn’t even know you had, applied the dating strategy your coach gave you and BOOM, there he is. Man of your dreams. In a whirlwind of lipstick, hairspray and self-tan, you date, you laugh and you have so much sex that you couldn’t ride a bike if you wanted to (which you probably don’t). Glorious!
Fast forward a couple of years though and the thrill of spending a whole weekend lying naked with your love has somehow morphed into endless domestic chores such as food shopping (spicing it up by going to a farmer’s market fools’ no one… it’s still exchanging money for food. So, to be clear it is still food shopping!)
Or trying not to run over small children with an IKEA trolley that is balancing a flat-pack bookshelf which he won’t be able to assemble later that evening, resulting in a mild but unnecessary argument when you read the instructions and try to tell him that piece A actually slots into piece C, not the other way around.
You saw this happen to countless friends, relatives and work colleagues and promised yourself that you would be different. You would avoid this very trap of relationship cancer… But yet here you are, sharing a Chinese take away (hey, just because you went to the farmer’s market doesn’t mean you have to cook the fresh produce sitting in your fridge. How the hell do you cook an artichoke anyway?) and staring at some crap film on the telly that neither of you really wants to watch.
Well the good news is, you’re not alone. I’ve seen countless couples dance this dance.
And I tell them what I’m going to share with you now. A HEALTHY relationship (as the topic this month is wellness) isn’t bred from the mundane. The “wellness” of a relationship is sparked and sustained in laughter, fun, excitement. Basically, if you want your relationship to be sexy, YOU have to be sexy.
Remember when you first started dating? How you would wear matching underwear (maybe even buying new stuff because he’s seen that lacy red number before)? Or how you’d call your hairdresser in a panic because last night you went to bed with great hair and this morning you woke up with roots and you’re seeing him THAT EVENING! Or an impromptu date meant leaving work early so that you could remove all offending body hair (or at least tame it) before meeting him at the restaurant?
Now, be honest with yourself. Are you wearing (once) white cotton briefs from K-Mart and a black bra with missing underwire from 2004? Have your roots basically become your normal hair colour?
If you’re looking at him and thinking, “how did this happen?” as a dribble of Oyster Sauce falls from his chin onto his (once) white K-Mart t-shirt, I can promise you he’s thinking the same as he glances over to your chipped nail varnish on your slightly hairy toes!
Babe, pluck that sh!t!
Like anything else in this world, you get back what you put in. I can’t tell you how many people I speak to who just stop making an effort the moment they move in together and then grumble about their stale relationship! Cut the crap! You’re not owed a passionate, fun amazing relationship. You have to work at it. Continuously.
You can’t expect to feel the excitement, anticipation and romance that you did in your dating days if you’re sitting on the sofa with greasy hair, unapologetically letting out a fart whilst clipping your toe nails. That’s not fun, sexy or romantic. On any level. Ever. You don’t let your standards drop anywhere else in your life. Why would you let them drop with the most important person in your life?
In the same way we put the effort into our maintaining our mental wellness, physical health and outward appearance, we too have to make a concerted, consistent effort to keep our relationship alive and well.
So shave your legs, book a hair appointment and find a nice restaurant to kiss in on Saturday night. Spend quality time together over all of your time together (no one, not even you, is that interesting). Think back to your dating days and recreate them and keep your relationship alive and well!