Love is all about accepting your other half with all their flaws and imperfections.
The true essence of relationships lies in the small gestures of love and intimacy that are made from both sides.
As inconsequential as they may seem at first, these gestures are actually the foundations of a strong and lasting relationship that's based on unconditional love and trust.
Those eyes filled with love and affection, or even a warm smile, can change the entire mood between you and spread positivity in the air.
Other intimate and subtle ways of inducing feeling through touch or gestures of kindness cannot be underestimated either.
As the saying goes, “Love is in the air,” and you need to do your part to make that love contagious.
Love is not only limited to the early phase of infatuation where everything seems perfect and blissful. It must continue to invade the hearts of the two lovers in a way that nothing can break them apart or undermine the strength of the connection.
If you need relationship help to keep your love strong and intimate over time, here are 10 strategies to focus on:
1. Love yourself first to be able to love.
Happiness comes from within, and if you are truly, genuinely happy from within, it will automatically manifest itself on the outside.
If you are at peace in your heart and find true happiness in the little things in life, you will be in a position to love unconditionally and without irrational expectations.
To be self-sufficient, you need to have an internal locus of control that will help you to take responsibility for your feelings and not blame external factors (or your partner) for your insecurities.
Related Post: How to Love Yourself: 20 Ways to Cultivate Self-Worth
2. Stay interested in your partner's routine activities.
Once you start living with a person, you come to know about their likes and dislikes, and their routine behaviors become nothing new for you.
The time comes when everything takes a monotonous turn, and you don't feel the same level of excitement as you first did. It's easy to slip into routines that don't include reconnecting with your partner at the end of the day.
However, the power of staying connected with your loved one even in the smallest details can't be underrated. Inquiring about their day and wanting to know about the details will make them feel important.
Even if you didn't do anything substantial throughout the day, be sure to let your partner know about your own activities, thoughts, and feelings. Let him or her into your inner world by inviting them in.
3. Stay fit and healthy.
It is a common feeling to feel less beautiful or handsome as you age, and you may seek repeated affirmations about the way your partner feels about your body and your appearance as a whole.
When you are at your ideal weight, living a healthy and active lifestyle, you will feel better about yourself — which translates into more confidence and sex appeal.
Find ways you and your partner can create a healthy lifestyle together. Take walks together. Go on bike rides. Join a gym and work out together. Set health and fitness goals as a couple, and then support and encourage one another.
The goal isn't to be perfect or to return to the days of your 20-year-old physical self. It's to enjoy the inner and outer beauty you both have at every phase of life.
Related Post: 9 Small Healthy Habits to Kickstart Big Change
4. Choose your relationship over conflict.
Your relationship cannot be so shallow or weak that engaging in conflicts destroys the health of your connection.
Remember to take continuous trust-building measures and communicate often, so that your relationship doesn't become susceptible to external pressures or chaotic times when emotions are high.
Also learn to practice self-control so you don't erupt with irrational and uncontrollable words or behaviors that can create a bigger mess. Rather than engaging in conflict during the heat of a moment, step away and take some deep breaths.
Then have a calm conversation that maintains the integrity of your loving connection once you've had a chance to calm down.
Set boundaries on what you both will and will not say or do to one another.
Related Post: Why Women(and Men) Stay In Abusive Relationships
Don't indulge in abusive or hurtful behavior lest it creates problems that become difficult to resolve.
Do allow your ego come in between you and your partner in order to “win” a fight or prove a point. The harm it causes the relationship is never worth the temporary feeling of power or control.
Are you living with an emotional abuser? Click here to get your free Emotional Abuse Test. Find out your personal score.
5. Cherish the small, precious, and funny moments in life.
The small invaluable moments of life are generally the ones that bring the most happiness and contentment.
Cherish these moments you spend together and keep them in your memory. Or better yet, write them down in a gratitude journal.
Recall these moments whenever your relationship seems to be on low ebb, and you'll find your relationship will feel instantly rejuvenated.
When you laugh together you are connecting with each other in a joyful way the cements your bond and fosters intimacy.
Laughter is the best therapy, as it puts you in a frame of mind that frees you from daily pressures and helps reduce stress.
It can help you overcome negative thinking, and give you an overall feeling of ease and lightness.
When you laugh together, it's easier let go of things and diffuse any tension in the environment. It teaches you to not bear grudges against your beloved and brings your hearts closer.
6. Maintain your relationship values.
Just as your religious, cultural and social values are deeply engraved in your heart, so should the values that guide your relationship. In fact, these values should be constantly revived and fiercely maintained.
If you and your partner haven't defined your relationship values, now is an excellent time to do so. Check out this list of 400 value words, and sit down together to determine your guiding principles for the two of you as a couple.
One value that should be important for all couples is mutual respect. Never take your partner for granted and care for their feelings as though they mean the world to you.
When your relationship is founded on the values of mutual respect, trust, kindness, and love, and you use these values guide your words and actions, then your relationship is bound to stand the test of time.
7. Forgive with a big heart.
All of us make mistakes and say or do things we regret with our partners.
However, the depth and intensity of the pain we inflict can be quite extreme, as the emotional bond with our beloved is so strong.
Sometimes in the fury of anger and pain when your partner has offended you, you may lose your composure and loving heart. You might blow the problem out of proportion, or say something in response to your pain that you later regret (even if your partner was in the wrong).
When your partner offends or hurts you, and then admits his or her mistake and apologizes sincerely, offer your forgiveness as quickly as possible.
Few mistakes are so big that they are unpardonable. The longer you hold on to your anger, the deeper the divide becomes between you — and you want to protect your closeness and intimacy.
Do your best to forgive and forget and do not hold on to any grievances in your heart.
8. Be a good listener.
When you live with someone for a long time, it's easy to disconnect and become like two ships passing in the night.
Communication revolves around the necessary and practical. Whose turn is it to do the dishes? Have those bills been paid? What should we do about Mary's bad grades?
Staying connected as intimate partners requires taking time out every day to really listen to your partner — to find out what's going on with them on a deeper level beyond the day-to-day.
Being a good listener means giving your full attention without distractions. You can't be a good listener while watching TV, working on the computer, or multi-tasking.
You need to sit with your partner in a quiet space and hear them without judgement or commentary. To be a good listener, your partner needs to feel heard, understood, accepted, and respected.
Related Post: 7 Ways To Be a Good Listener
9. Accept your partner as he or she is.
No one is perfect, and it's likely the person you love may not meet your ideal in all ways.
Even if they did in the beginning, over time what you once thought was charming may now get on your nerves.
But the chances are good that your partner feels the same way. Time has a way of eroding some of the infatuation to reveal the normal human you are involved with.
Relationship difficulties arise when your mental image doesn't match this human being in front of you — and you keep attempting to make them match.
This often happens when you see your partner more as an extension of yourself or a reflection of your ego rather than a distinct individual.
Love can flourish only in an environment of acceptance and respect. When you accept the real person, you may actually discover aspects that you learn to appreciate and honor.
Both partners can certainly invite the other to make changes or improve in certain ways, but it must be done from a place of love and kindness rather than shaming and blame.
You have a choice to focus on your beloved's positive qualities or to fixate on “fixing” them. If you want to maintain your close connection, choose to see the good.
10. Be kind and keep the “flirtatious you” alive.
To stay fresh, love needs to be constantly fueled by kind words and gestures. Find ways every day, many times a day, to say loving and supportive words to your spouse.
Appreciate each other and acknowledge each other’s efforts with loving comments and praise.
If you need to criticize or correct, do it subtly and kindly without being blatant, thoughtless, or brutally honest. When you do this, your partner will trust you with their insecurities and vulnerabilities and won't feel threatened or put down.
Go back to the early days of your relationship, and remember how the two of you interacted with fun, sexy, flirtatious words and touch. Revive those “infatuation moments” and reignite them in your relationship right now to keep the spark burning.
Don't become one of those established couples you might see in restaurants or on the street who seem to have lost intimacy, fun, and connection. Make a commitment to one another to keep your love fresh and healthy, no matter how long you've been together.