I’ve never talked much about my own love story on the blog — not for any particular reason, it just never seemed that relevant. Which is funny, since meeting Adam was a defining moment of my life and one of the very best things that’s ever happened to me. We met at work and got to know each other as friends for several months, which led to him asking me out for a surreptitious glass of wine one evening… and I think we both had a feeling then that we never wanted to be apart again. The 7 very eventful years that have passed since that night included getting engaged and then married, having 2 kids together, building a house, and each of us starting companies (among many other things), and while it hasn’t always been easy, I can confidently say that we love each other more with every passing year. Like so many other couples, I think our biggest challenge is not allowing ourselves to get stuck in a rut; it’s easy to get comfortable in the same day-to-day routine and forget to pay attention to each other when life gets really busy. So, in the spirit of this month devoted to Love, I’m sharing what’s been most important for us to keep romance alive and kicking in our relationship (hint: turns out it’s the little things that really add up.) Click through, and I’d love to hear in the comments how you guys keep things romantic for the long haul.
*photo is from a trip to Paris that we took for our 1-year wedding anniversary…
1- Connect with each other every day.
I think the healthiest habit we’ve cultivated is the neighborhood walk that we take every single morning, no matter how busy our day is or how hot/cold it is outside. We started our walk when we first got married, continued it with a stroller after we had Phoebe, and now have a double stroller so Henry can tag along, too. In addition to the physical benefits, the relationship payoff to starting each day connecting with each other about what’s going on in each of our lives is worth its weight in gold.
2- Do what makes you feel attractive.
There’s no doubt that when I put a little effort into looking decent, I feel a lot better — and the funny thing is that Adam usually responds by making more of an effort, too. It doesn’t mean forgoing comfort: I guarantee that a fitted tank and cute boxers is just as comfy as a baggy t-shirt and huge sweats, but a whole lot more romance-inducing.
3- Remember what attracted you to your partner when you first met.
When you’ve been together for a long time, no matter how much you love each other, it can be easy for feelings to turn from passionate to more friends-y. One thing that always helps me rekindle the passion is to remember the qualities that made me first fall in love with Adam. Simply shifting my point-of-view and seeing him with fresh eyes is one of the most powerful ways to bring excitement into our relationship.
4- Focus on the positive and be willing to let things go.
It might not be the sexiest tip, but I’d be willing to bet that almost every person in a truly happy long-term relationship has made the decision to do this at some point. When you’ve been together for a long time, qualities that may have initially been endearing in your partner can start to feel annoying — if you let them. Let’s face it: we all have things we could improve about ourselves, but we’ve made a conscious effort to focus on the things that we love about each other and try to let the rest go.
5- Perform a thoughtful act every day.
I’ve noticed that making it a habit to do some random act of thoughtfulness each day creates so much closeness — things that we might have done when we first started dating, but tend to let slip as the years go by. Send a sweet text in the middle of the workday, do a chore that you know your partner doesn’t enjoy, make a favorite meal for dinner. Habitually doing these little things adds up and feeds attraction way more than the occasional grand gesture.
6- Brag about each other in public.
We’ve all been there — out at girls’ night, someone tells a funny but derogatory comment about their husband/boyfriend, and before you know it, guy bashing becomes the evening’s event. Funny? Yes. Good for your relationship? Not so much. As tempting as it may be to join in, I make a concerted effort to keep our conflicts between us and share all the things that I love about Adam when I’m talking about him with others (except for the very occasional vent session with one close girl friend which, let’s be honest, is necessary once in awhile.) It shows respect for each other, and sharing my partner’s positive traits helps me remember all the reasons I love him.