HOW TO: keep the spark alive in your relationship
Now I’m going to be honest with you, if I was writing this post in the months after Charlie was born I would have been completely faking it and had no idea what I was talking about. Because in the first 6 months post baby, mine and Nicks relationship had turned to absolute shit (you can read about it HERE).
However, the two of us have come a very long way both as individuals and in our relationship, and 99% of the time I now feel like we’re nailing it! I can absolutely say that Nick and I fall more and more in love with each other every single day. Sometimes I catch him looking over at me, and I feel like I’m 19 again watching him become absolutely besotted with me (other times I catch him looking at me like I’m a train wreck, but thats beside the point!)
Here are a few tips that I have found to help keep the spark alive in a relationship. They’re particularly useful post baby, but hopefully a nice reminder even if you live in a baby free household (you lucky bastards!)
1. Have sex
I know, I know, I KNOW! You’re just too damn tired, right? But there’s a reason this is my number one tip, and thats because it works! It might seem like the last thing you feel like doing, but suck it up and instead suck… you know 😉 Having sex not only reignites the passion in your relationship, but it creates intimacy, relieves stress and produces happy hormones. Plus its a good work out! It doesn’t always need to be a marathon session, and sometimes a little quickie is just as good for getting the job done. Nick always reminds me “men need sex in order to feel loved, women need to feel loved in order to have sex” and its very, very true! Have sex, and watch how he’s more willing to help around the house or with the kids. The more sex that we have, the nicer we speak to each other, the less likely we are to snap over silly things and the happier we are in general.
2. Be affectionate, without having sex
Pinch his bum as you’re walking past him in the kitchen, hold a kiss for longer than a millisecond, offer a foot massage as you’re watching Netflix at night or hold his hand as you’re driving in the car. Be affectionate without the pressure of feeling like sex needs to eventuate. A little bit of affection and physical connection will go a long way in keeping the spark in your relationship when sex may not come as often as you may like.
3. Leave little notes around the house
I’ll often leave a little “Enjoy your day, we love you!” post it note on the kitchen bench before I go to bed, knowing that Nick will see it before he goes to work in the morning. Or a “Hope you had the best day!” post it on the door when he comes home after a long day. It takes me two seconds to do, but it makes him smile and its a little reminder that we’re thinking of him. So next time you’re at the shops, grab a stack of post it notes and start leaving them around the house! (I’ve also kept every single one of these notes that we’ve ever written to each other, which is nice for us to go through and reminisce every now and then.)
4. Make time to celebrate
We (aka I) love to celebrate special occasions. Bigger events such as birthdays and Christmas are obvious, but Nick and I also “celebrate” our anniversary every single month. It’s not always a big thing, but on the 25th of each month we try to do something nice. Sometimes its flowers, sometimes its dinner just the two of us, and once I even sent a box filled with helium balloons and chocolate to Nick’s work! Start your own little traditions and celebrate any chance that you get.
5. Take time for yourself
It’s important to take time for yourself away from the relationship, kids and household. Whilst it can be difficult to organise, you both need to have your own time to recharge your batteries and catch up with friends or indulge in your own hobbies. I feel the most refreshed when I come back from spending time with my girlfriends, which means that I have more patience and appreciation for Nick and the kids.
6. Don’t play the “who contributes more” game
A relationship isn’t a competition! Don’t argue over who contributes more, or whose more tired, or even who gets more time off! You both decided to be in your relationship, and you both have your own responsibilities. One doesn’t have to be worse or better than the other. If you’re parents, you might feel some days that you would rather go to work and he can stay at home with the kids, but are you sure thats what you REALLY want? There’s a saying that goes a little something like “if everyone put all of their problems in a pile, you would want to take yours back” and thats how exactly how I feel about mine and Nick’s roles in the relationship. When he walks out the door in the morning, I might feel like running after him and hiding in the boot to smuggle myself to the office. But in reality, theres no where I would rather be than home with our babies. Some days your role in the relationship might feel like a bit of a drag, but you’ll soon find that the “who contributes more” game will bring your relationship down and you’ll quickly lose your spark.
(This also applies to child-free relationships in regards to who contributes more in the relationship or around the house)
7. Remember to voice how you’re feeling
Unless you’ve found yourself a mind reader, you’re going to need to communicate effectively otherwise you’ll run in to some issues and the spark in your relationship will be struggling. If you’re tired and grumpy, voice that rather than being a snappy bitch. If you bought yourself a new dress for the weekend, voice that you appreciate your man going to work that day and earning the bread and butter. If you’ve had a shit day with the kids, voice it, but remember to voice the good days too! Often we can get caught up with complaining about all the negative stuff, and it can get quite exhausting for the person who has to listen to you. So remember to balance it out by voicing all of the positive stuff too. When life is feeling mundane, a very easy way to keep your spirits up and keep the spark in your relationship is by changing your mindset. And your mindset is majorly influenced by the spoken word! So remember, communicate the negative in a constructive way, and always outweigh the negative by the positive.
8. Make an effort in your appearance… SOMETIMES!
Now this is coming from a mama who wears gym clothes, a mum bun, and a makeup free face for majority of the time – I know that it’s easy to become comfortable when you’re in a loving relationship, and that’s a good thing! But every now and then, it’s nice to put in a bit of effort. So sometimes, half an hour before Nick gets home I’ll chuck the kids in front of the telly and jump in the shower, put some nice(er) clothes on, a bit of makeup, brush my teeth and spray some perfume. It’s a little effort, but I can guarantee you’ll be feeling more confident and it’ll be a nice surprise for your man when he walks through the door. Who knows, you might even be more inclined to have sex!
9. Let some things slide
I once read that you should let 3 things go unspoken each day. Oh man this is a tough one for me, because I’m very to the point and love to speak up about what’s pissed me off! But lately I’ve been learning to let things go. If its not something that you’ll still be worrying about in a weeks/months/years time, just let it go! More than likely you’ll forget about it, and save yourself an argument. Less arguing = more spark!
10. HAVE SEX
I’m going to repeat this one again, because it is so important. Please, for the better of your relationship, have sex tonight.