It’s Romance Awareness Month and we’re dishing all month long about everything romance related. Sarah Ballance is here with us to share some tips on how to keep a relationship fresh.
My husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and for those of you who have seen my bio, I’d like to confirm that he does refer to that as a “long, long time” and I do, indeed, let him live. People often ask how we do it (okay, so people who know him want to know how I’ve put up with him that long, and everyone else—including our children and my own mother—want to know how he puts up with me) but to be honest, it’s not that hard. Just a few minor things to keep in mind.
Laugh. But not like that. I mean, you can laugh at your child’s first giggles and maybe binge a comedy or something, and I hear that works for people, but I mean really laugh. Like when someone steps on a Lego or walks into a door or gets covered in mustard. (I threw that last part in there because last week my husband had to change shirts three times in one day because he failed at hot dog eating.) Or that time at the Grand Canyon I tripped over a hole in the sidewalk and sprawled all over the ground and gouged a hole in my knee that rivaled the one dug by the river. Apparently, it’s okay to laugh at that stuff, too.
Forget the big dates. Yep, I said it. Anniversary? NBD. Birthday? Yep, you were a day older yesterday, too. Don’t elevate those days. Elevate every day. They all matter. If my husband brings me flowers on Valentine’s Day (note I said if and he’s still alive), I’m less likely to swoon and more likely to give him a dirty look for paying the holiday markup. (Spoiler: he usually doesn’t.) You know what really matters? Those wildflowers he picked on a random day because he saw them and he thought of me. Or those sunrise photos he sends me from work because he knows I love a pretty sky and also sleeping in. The big professional bouquets have their place, but nothing says “you’re still my crush” like those every day gestures.
Do things that suck because they matter to someone else. Not everyone hates Disney World, but my husband doesn’t think the designation of “happiest place on earth” should go to a spot where you pay a fortune to stand in line all day. (He’s not wrong.) Nevertheless, he went (with me, our six kids, and yes, his mother-in-law) and he was great about it. I recognize the gesture for what it was, and he never again has to hear me utter the word Disney. The point? Don’t let the world define what’s meaningful in your life. Acknowledge what matters between the two of you, and you’ll never feel like you don’t.
And really, isn’t that what makes a relationship great? Knowing the love of your life—or the hookup of the week (hey, you do you)—is still thinking of you is the hallmark of something amazing. It’s the little things that make a person feel loved, and it’s doing those little things that make you appreciate just how lucky you are to have that person in your life…even after a long, long time.
Especially after they laugh at you for stepping on Legos.
Do you have any other tips that would keep a relationship fresh? Let us know in the comments.
-Sarah Ballance, author of Her Sexy Challenge