Over time, a couple's daily life has its share of ups and downs. Familiprix, in collaboration with Vie de Parents, offers you some avenues for reflection to help you strengthen your relationship.
Friendship is the foundation of a couple
When the honeymoon phase is over and the early passion fades, friendship becomes essential in keeping a couple together. It makes the relationship much more authentic, because it transforms it into friendship and mutual respect.
Friendship in a couple is about trusting each other and accepting each other’s character traits. We recognize our partner’s strengths and the balance they bring into our life.
Being romantic friends means knowing perfectly well what the other likes and dislikes, and that translates into daily gestures of affection. It’s often said that happiness is found in the little things and that it’s the multiplication of these little things that make a couple endure.
The importance of being a team
As parents, we must show that we are partners and avoid dividing ourselves in front of the children. Being consistent in our communication and instructions demonstrates a clearer message that makes children feel safer. Let’s not forget that children imitate us. The couple and the parental duo that we embody become examples for the siblings and concretely illustrate the values and behaviours that are dear to us. We must also remember that no one is perfect. Recognizing your mistakes and weaknesses and asking for help embodies the values of mutual support and solidarity.
Good communication is the basis for everything
Because we respect each other and show solidarity, we want to avoid spats and conflicts that will hurt. Good communication then comes into play. It’s the main tool for good understanding and the couple’s longevity; it unites rather than divides.
The techniques of non-violent communication (NVC) are divided into four stages:
- The non-judgmental observation of behaviour or a situation that affects our well-being.
- The expression of feelings that arise from the situation.
- Exploring the needs that are awakened by these feelings.
- The request for concrete actions to regain our well-being.
For example, we may notice that our partner never helps get the children ready for school in the morning and stays in bed instead. We then feel frustration and envy and wonder about our own needs. Do I really want help in the mornings? Would I like for us to divide up the tasks? Would I like to stay in bed some mornings too? When we have identified what would contribute to our well-being, we propose concrete actions in a simple and clear manner.
We must understand that our needs interrelate with our feelings. When you’re going through such a situation, ask yourself the question, "I get this feeling because I need..." As you’ll see, the conflict resolution will become more evident.
Always keep in mind that our children observe us and follow our example. By expressing our emotions using "I" and by opening a dialogue with the other person, we educate children to communicate properly.
Keep your word
The unforeseen events that interfere with our daily lives sometimes prevent us from keeping our word. It’s essential to sustain our relationship to be able to rely on transparency and honesty. When things don't go as planned or when we find that our money isn’t where our mouth is, to use the expression, we must warn the other. Our word has a value and it’s better to readjust our promises rather than to feed disappointments.
A full emotional tank
"The five love languages" is the tool used by many marriage therapists for couples in need of a second wind. This tool, created by marriage specialist Gary Chapman, is based on our emotional tank, which empties and refills throughout the day. Through five different love languages, Chapman shows how to fill our partner's tank and thus send them the message that we love them and that we care about them.
Enjoy spending time with the other, chatting or doing a new activity together.
Words of affirmation:
Give and receive compliments and words of appreciation.
Give your partner little surprises, like flowers or the long-awaited literary release.
Acts of service
Perform small everyday tasks, such as cooking dinner, cleaning the house or washing the car.
Take the time to kiss, hug and cuddle.
The purpose of this tool is to learn to speak our partner’s love language in order to fill their emotional tank, and that they are to give back by speaking our language.
Remember…you were lovers before you became parents. Love will always be a great value to pass on and gestures of affection are examples of bonding that will inspire your children on their journey.
Have a fulfilling sex life
Maintaining an active and fulfilling sex life is also essential for a couple’s health. And the recipe is relatively simple: a generous dose of seduction every day, a touch of novelty, a lot of affection and tenderness, all covered with confidence. Readjust the recipe a few times a year in order to stay in touch with our mutual desires. What we liked 10 years ago may turn us off today, and vice versa.
Sexual initiative is also fundamental. It shouldn’t be a task or a request. Long-lasting couples know how to ignite the flame and have fun keeping it alive. The idea is not to maintain a certain frequency, but to maintain the quality.
Having said that, you may wonder if you're having sex for the right reasons. Because it's been a long time? Because you feel an impulse? Because it will make them happy? Or because it will take away your guilt? Remember that the more love you have for the right reasons, the more you’ll want to repeat the experience.
There’s no one recipe for making love last, but there are plenty of ways to keep the bond of love alive and vibrant. Above all, you have to put yourself into it. Our life partner shares everything with us, from the power bill to being called into question. They are a unique person. And if you want to keep them close to you, you have to nurture this happy and honest bond.