Most of us were raised on the idea of romance. From Pride and Prejudice to Love, American Style to Crazy Rich Asians, our books, shows, and movies have been selling us true love for centuries. It’s natural for us to want it in our own lives. But for many, it’s harder to hold on to than it looks in the stories.
I was lucky to meet my soulmate early in life. I knew right away he was the one, and he did too, so we’ve been married for over thirty years. Here’s what I’ve learned about keeping romance alive:
Show them your best side. Use your love as incentive to be the best person you can be. And keep doing that in their presence.
Take time to notice what they like. Then provide it when you can. Whether it’s bringing home their favorite flowers or food, or going out to a place they like, thoughtfulness goes a long way.
Notice the mundane things, too, and do things without being asked. Did their hair dryer die and they don’t have time to pick up a replacement? Buy one for them. (One of the best presents my husband ever gave me!)
Spend time with your loved one. It doesn’t have to be a formal date (although those are nice, too), but carve time into your schedule to be with that person without babies, friends, or other distractions.
Encourage them to live their dreams. Be their greatest cheerleader and fan. Enjoy seeing your loved one blossom into their best self.
Be ready to compromise at times. Choose your battles. If you give in on the things that aren’t very important to you, they might, too.
Communicate. Are you worried about something? Then tell them. Are you upset but they don’t know why? Don’t expect them to read your mind or vice versa. Speak clearly, and without dumping accusations or guilt on them. Talk to them like you’d want them to talk to you.
Find their love language and try to speak in theirs at times. For example, do they always do chores for you and take immaculate care of your car? What actions can you do for them to show you care?
Be spontaneous. (This is the hardest one for me!) Rather than plan everything to death, do something on the spur of the moment once in a while. It will shake things up and refresh your old routine.