Friday 17 January 2014

Why the Key to a Strong Relationship Could be Something as Simple as a Cup of Tea

Why the Key to a Strong Relationship Could be Something as Simple as a Cup of Tea

...why it's the little things that can ultimately make, or break, a relationship

Make or break: The little things can make the difference
Make or break: The little things can make the difference: Getty

Small gestures of love are the things that can make or break a relationship. We start off making our partner’s dinner or bringing them a cup of tea in bed and we are more than happy to do it.
But fast-forward and we find that after years of living under the same roof, with maybe a couple of children or more in tow, it becomes too much effort or we simply forget to do these little things.
We can sometimes become intimate strangers, so overwhelmed by worrying about the bills, where to go on holiday or what the kids are having for their lunch that we forget about the person who is sitting right opposite us.
January is one of the busiest times of year for the marriage guidance service Relate because when people spent time over Christmas together they really reflect on their relationships, assess whether they are happy and whether they are getting what they want out of them.
Think about this. At the same time of year we are willing to go on a drastic diet to squeeze into that little black dress or to give up drinking to lose weight, when it comes to enduring ­relationships... we sort of expect them to magically happen. (Find the Love you want online: Fish2Fish)
People sometimes believe that if they have walked down the aisle or lived together for 10 years then the joyful glow of the early days should just continue. But we have got to put the effort in here – just as we do in the other areas of our lives.
A lot of couples I work with say they have lost the fun and they don’t have a laugh together any more. Even sex becomes a chore and sometimes people can’t be bothered, or one partner wants it more than the other. But as soon as you put the fun back in, you start looking at each other as people again and see that you can still have a laugh.
When it comes to sex, a lot of couples get bogged down in worrying about their bodies. They may compare themselves to airbrushed Hollywood stars or worry they’re not attractive to their partner any more, perhaps after having kids. It’s vital to ditch that way of thinking and see sex as something you are going to do together for fun and pleasure.
Holding hands, hugging, kissing, having a snog and reminding your partner that you love them are just as important as sex. Investing in these small tokens of affection can make all the difference, and the more regularly you do it, the more it becomes a habit. One lady I worked with told me that her husband never told her he loved her any more. So I got him to write little loving Post-it notes for her and leave them around the house.
That meant so much more to her than the big bouquet of flowers he sent on her birthday. It is little gestures like that that make your partner feel loved, cared for and noticed. Couples who have been together for a long time often get bogged down in routine. One will make the dinner, the other will put the telly on, then they’ll have a cup of tea and then go to sleep.
That can drain the joy out of life together. Doing things as a couple, such as going to a dance class, can make all the difference. Having shared experiences where you have fun can make you remember times when you laughed together and realise that you can still enjoy life just as much as ever.
A joint experience also gives you something else to talk about outside from the routine of everyday life.
One lady I know loves writing, so her husband bought her a gift of going to a writers’ club. She has never loved him so much because he had truly heard what she had said. He really took notice of it and acted on it. It was a little gesture.
People shouldn’t take their partners for granted, which is easy to do if you have been together for a long time. If your partner comes in from work tired, make them a cup of tea, ask about their day. That really matters to someone.
When things do break down and you have an argument it is really important to apologise. It can be hard, but if can look somebody in the eye and say “I’m sorry” it defuses the anger and before you know it you are back saying “I love you” again.
People say you should count to 10 if you get an angry thought, but it has been scientifically proven that it takes NINETY seconds to get from the beginning to the end of an angry feeling. So if you feel you are going to lose it with your partner, take a 90-second time out before opening your mouth.
Couples need shared goals. I know many worry about money, but if you have a shared goal of how much you want to save, where you want to go on holiday, or how you want to spend that little nest egg, talking about it together is going to make things work so much better than having secrets or getting resentful.
In the end, falling in love is easy. Being in love and staying in love is where the effort comes in.
You have to think about what you and your partner want from each other... and how to rediscover what you have lost along the way.

Find out if you've lost that loving feeling

Five questions to make you think about whether your relationship is in trouble:
1 . How does your partner make you feel when you are together?
2 . How much does your partner praise or put you down?
3 . Do you like your partner most of the time/some of the time/hardly at all?
4 . When you row, do you repeatedly bring up other issues that are still brooding under the surface and play the blame game?
5 . When you spend time with your partner do you wish you were somewhere else instead?

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