101 Secrets To Loving and Lasting Relationships - Part II
- Part I -
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As a special gift, have a 12-month calendar created with pictures of special times spent between the two of you. Arrange the pictures to coordinate with the months and then as a Christmas or birthday gift, or just as a special surprise, present it to your loved one.
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You do not have to be a world-renowned artist to make something homemade and special for the love of your life. Even making a special, personalized greeting card would be appreciated and show your mate that you care enough to take the time needed to make something by hand.
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If your mate has a meal, that is by far their favorite above everything else, go all out and prepare everything to order. Before they arrive home, put on something nice and a little sexy, light some candles, and have a wonderful surprise waiting.
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Trip to the Pound
If you and your mate love animals, take a trip to the local animal shelter and pick out a dog or cat that needs a good home. Adopting an animal that needs a home can be a wonderful way to have something that you both can care for and love together. This will open up for long walks, taking your new dog on a walk, or hours of playing with a sweet and funny cat.
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Day at the Movies
Have a movie marathon some rainy or cold Saturday. Put all your errands and chores on hold and head to your nearest theater (yes, Netflix or similar service will suffice here too). Hit three or four movies and mix it up. Buy the theater popcorn and drinks but sneak your own candy in. This is a great way to spend some fun time together, holding hands or cuddling, while sharing some laughs and maybe tears watching a variety of flicks.
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A Walk in the Park
Spending quality time together where you can talk and just enjoy each other's company is critical to a good relationship. Plan a nice walk in the park to include a comfortable blanket to sit on the grass with while having a good old-fashioned picnic. Take this time talk, watch other people with their kids, and then just walk around, hand-in-hand.
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Name a Star
As a special gift, ask your mate to join you outside at night when the sky is black and the stars shining brightly. Point up to the universe and state, "See that star over there? That is your star. I bought it for you." Then present them with the certificate showing that they do in fact have a star named after them. This wonderful gift will last a lifetime!
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Create a coupon book filled with any number you like of 20-minute massages. One day when least expected, when your mate comes dragging in the door tired after a long, hard day at work, present this along with a gentle kiss. Although you are the one offering the massages, if you remain faithful to your coupons and never grumble, your love life will more than likely be enhanced and before long, your mate will be the one giving you massages.
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Dinner by the Fire
Order in some of your favorite food, open a bottle of fine wine, light some candles, and lay out a cozy blanket in front of a roaring fire. Enjoy feeding each other food, sneaking little kisses in between. This wonderful romantic moment will help build your relationship even stronger. This kind of gesture shows your mate that you really want something special from your relationship and that spending quality time together is a priority.
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If things have been a little stressed in your relationship, do something extra special. Start by creating a trail of rose petals from the door to the kitchen where your mate will find a note to go to the bedroom. In the bedroom, have another note next to an overnight bag telling them to meet you at a specific hotel restaurant where you know the ambience is cozy and romantic. The note should direct them to ask for you at the restaurant where you will be waiting to enjoy a fine dinner together. After dinner and cocktails, gently lead your mate by the hand to a beautiful room that you have reserved for the night. There on the bed is a robe and a red rose. This will do more for your relationship than you can imagine.
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As a wonderful keepsake, create a photo album for your mate. Include the parents or siblings to come up with some special childhood and teenage pictures. Include family, friends, special occasions, and times of the two of you together. Whenever the two of you feel as though you are drifting apart or taking one another for granted, pull out the photo album as a reminder of the incredible person in your life.
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The Art of Gift Giving
Everyone loves to be given a gift, especially as a surprise or "just because." Just remember while giving gifts is a beautiful thing to do for the person you love, there are five key essentials for making your mate know that you are giving just because you love them. First, put some thought into the gift. Do not just pick up something at the last minute so you are not empty handed. Second, make the effort. Even if you have a busy schedule, be sure to schedule time to shop. Third, give with the right attitude. You give because you appreciate and love, not because you want something back. Fourth, plan what you are going to give. Find something that is important for your mate and not necessarily to you. Finally, add the element of surprise into the gift giving. Using this equation is sure to impress your mate and leave a lasting impression.
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Perform some extensive research on your mate's family history, which will involve some help from the family, and create a website especially for your mate's family where they can share information, pictures, family recipes, and more! This will take some time and planning but very little money. Ancestry.com is a great site that is extremely reasonable. This will not only touch your mate's entire family.
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A Day at the Spa
For couples where the mother or father stays home and takes care of the children all day long, show your appreciation for the hard work that takes. Hire a babysitter for about four hours and give your mate a gift certificate to a local spa where they can enjoy a relaxing massage, mineral springs, sauna, mud wrap, or whatever special treatments are available.
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Find a charity that you would both like to contribute to and give something special in both names. For example, if there is a synergy house near where you live for unwed mothers, go in together and purchase a crib or baby clothes. Another option would be if a local park needs donations, find out what kind of trees they need and purchase a tree together. Make this something special where you go shop together and then present together. These types of kind acts are great for bringing couples closer together and help both people love and appreciate each other even more for their kindness.
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While some people find thunderstorms to be scary, they can also be viewed as being romantic. If you have having a thunderstorm in your area, without putting yourself in harm's way, sit out on your porch if the storm is still off in the distance, or cuddled on the couch near a large window and just watch the lightening together.
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Take Pride in Yourself
Every relationship goes through down time. Just because the flame has become a mild flicker, that does not mean you have lost the love for each other, it just means you need to add a little fuel to the fire. When couples have been together for a long time, the makeup comes off, the nice clothes turn into oversized sweats and tee shirts, and instead of cuddling on the sofa or floor, one sits on the couch and the other in the recliner. Step back in time and start getting dressed up more on the weekends, invite your mate to sit with you on the couch, dance together in your living room to some music, or take a walk, hand in hand. It is important not to let yourself go, even when your relationship reaches a "comfortable" state. By taking pride in yourself means that you take pride in your relationship.
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No Jealousy Allowed
To have a healthy relationship, caring and concern are fine but when those emotions change into jealousy, this could be the beginning of trouble. Trust is probably the number one element needed in order to have a strong relationship. Without trust, things will quickly deteriorate. If one of you masters something special, receives a promotion at work, or achieves some great feat, there could be a small spark of jealousy on the other person's side. You need to talk about this and ensure that any feelings of inadequacies are permanently put to rest. Every person needs assurance at some time or another and as long as you can communicate, things will be fine. However, if your mate becomes withdrawn or irritated, these could be signs that more is going on. Once jealousy enters a relationship, problems are soon to follow.
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Keep in Touch
If you are in a relationship, where your mate serves in the armed forces and is overseas or in another state on duty, away in a foreign country for school, or separated from you for one reason or another, it is important that you keep in touch with each other often. There will be stress from the separation but by keeping in touch and informing each other of the things each person is dealing with, how they feel, etc., you will not have any break in your communication. The goal is that when you get back together, you can easily pick up where you left off. This is a very important time to provide each other with confirmation of your love and validation of your relationship. While this will require some extra effort on both parts, keep in mind that the separation is not forever.
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Host a Halloween Party
Instead of just passing out candy for Halloween, organize a masquerade party together where everyone is required to come dressed up. Include in your party food, drinks, door prizes, and games. Have a few friends provide help you plan this and then go all out. Choose costumes the two of you can wear to enhance each other. You will have a blast with the planning and searching out your costumes. This type of party is great for good laughs and fond memories of each other, which are important for a good relationship.
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Select songs that your mate enjoys and download them to their iTunes account. For you "old timers," burn them onto a CD that can be enjoyed while driving to and from work. To add a little spice, record a few secret messages every few songs just reminding them how much you love and appreciate them.
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Arrange for the two of you to try something new together. If you are both the athletic type, enter yourselves into some type of physical competition. If the two of you like the fine arts, audition for roles in a local community theater. Perhaps you like to travel. If so, arrange for a short trip to some place exotic that you have never been before.
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Adopt a Family
When the Christmas holiday starts getting closer, locate a family together from your church or local charity services that needs to be adopted for Christmas. Together, shop for the gifts, and have the family over for the most scrumptious holiday dinner. You will both appreciate what you have even more as well as your own special relationship.
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If your relationship has moved to a set wedding date and the countdown has started, do something unique and fun. Visit a candy store and have 30-miniature candy hearts made, each with a special message of love. Each day, present your mate with the appropriate candy heart. As you get down to the final days before the wedding, they might read something like, "Only two more days", "Tomorrow: The Big Day", "I love you, your wife (or husband)."
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Motivate Each Other
Find a mutual incentive that will motivate both of you to being the best you can be. Find something that you can both be excited about and then attach some type of reward to the motivation. If one of you has had a dream of writing a screenplay, make that your goal and take that on together. The motivation is that when finished, the two of you will take a beautiful, romantic weekend vacation to some exotic place. The goal could be anything that is important to one person or both and that can be worked toward completion together. Another example would be if your mate has always dreamed of buying an old model car and restoring it do it together and then take a special trip to the Indy 500 as your reward. Yet another example might be to restore a home. Make this a joint project and then as a reward, add a Jacuzzi into your plans. Use your imagination and enjoy the venture together.
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There is no relationship on the face of the planet that goes for years and years without change. People change as they mature and view life differently, therefore reacting differently. Rather than get upset with each other over change, embrace change. You may not always like the changes that happen, but do not throw away a perfectly good relationship just because the trail starts to wind. Be patient and encourage new directions while being honest about concerns that might arise.
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Reap What You Sow
This is an old saying that goes back a very long way but it still holds true today. If you sow love, forgiveness, faithfulness, encouragement, honesty, and acceptance, then that is what you will reap. It is definitely true that what you put into a relationship is what you get back.
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Pick a night, perhaps on a cold winter night, and just enjoy playing board games. This can be with just the two of you, or with several close friends. Bring out the snacks, beverages, and just have some fun. Laughter and fun are important factors in any relationship, for any age. Laugh and enjoy having a good time with good honest fun! You will truly be amazed at what this can do for your relationship.
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Do not allow other people to interfere with your relationship. If family members try to get in the middle of fights or debates, that is definite trouble. You might have friends with well-meant intentions trying to help you and your mate solve problems. Although getting another person's perspective is not a bad thing, make sure it is when you ask for it. It is very important to keep integrity in your relationship and not allow people to interfere.
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Adore your Mate
Beyond telling your mate that you love them, that they are special, and having passion in your relationship, you should adore your mate and what they bring into the relationship. What that means is to appreciate and love them for the person they are, faults and all. This is true devotion to your mate and demonstration that you do not take them for granted.
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Follow Your Instincts
When things are going in a wrong direction, often people will simply keep going in the same direction while hoping that things work themselves out. The result is usually negative. Instead, listen to your gut feelings, your inner instincts. If you believe that something is bothering your mate or not right in your relationship, keep it between you and your mate and work things out as a couple.
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The words, "I love you," are always welcomed but why not add some creativity to the way you tell your mate you love them. Rent a billboard in a location where you know your mate drives every day that clearly says, "I love you," request that your mate's radio station play a special song and message on his or her way to work, or if celebrating a special anniversary, have a skywriter fly by a ball stadium, park, or somewhere special where you are spending quality time together outdoors.
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Make Eye Contact
You may not think this is important, but think back to the first time you saw your now mate. More than likely, the first interaction was through eye contact. If you are having dinner during the holidays with a large group of family and friends, glance over to your mate and give them a seductive wink, or if your mate is giving a speech and you are there to offer support, attentively look at them, making directly eye contact and offer a warm reassuring smile. Eyes can say a lot!
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Learn More about Your Mate
Either find a good questionnaire or create one that does not dig up the past, but focuses on discovering other qualities about each other. One happily married couple did this and the wife, who had been standing by her husband for more than 10 years, discovered that he used to be a competitive ice skater. She had no idea. Guess what they did on Saturday?
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Understand that every once in a while, it is important to throw an exciting curve into your relationship. If you are in a routine for example of offering your mate a quick peck on the lips before you part ways for the day, try adding a soft, gentle kiss on the neck. You can be assured that throughout the day, that change in routine, is what will be on your mate’s mind.
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Finding a nice place where the two of you can enjoy a slow dance is a great way to spend time together, holding each other without saying a word. Keep in mind that to accomplish this, you can stay home and simply move some furniture out of the way, light some candles, and put on your favorite soft music and enjoy some quiet, romantic time together.
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Too often people miss the beautiful miracle of a sunrise or sunset. Schedule time to get up early one morning with a thermos of hot coffee or cappuccino and find a quiet place where the two of you can go just to watch the sun rise or set. Appreciate what nature has to offer and share it with each other.
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Find something they you are both interested in exploring and do it together. For example, if you live in a place where there are caves, make a day of driving around and exploring caves. Be sure to take the right equipment and safety precautions but this puts you both in a position of trusting each other and discovering something new and exciting together.
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To Tell or Not to Tell
Experts will disagree on how much of a person's past should be shared in a relationship and while some things probably should be shared, most people lean more to not sharing every aspect of the past. First, it is the past. Think back to how much people grow through the teen years to mid-twenties. Offering unnecessary information from the past is a great way to create distrust, insecurity, and more questions than answers. Be wise when sharing.
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When two people come together in a relationship, each person has their own set of history. There are yearbooks, maybe love letters from a first love, other objects that may not seem important to one person but to the owner, they have a special meaning. It is important to respect the privacy of your mate's "stuff." Do not dig through boxes of things owned by your mate out of curiosity. Instead, allow them to bring those things out if they feel it is necessary. By helping yourself, you are disrespecting something sacred to your mate, which is not healthy for any relationship.
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No Place for Abuse
Regardless of how much you love your mate and believe in who they are, there is NEVER an appropriate time for abuse, whether physical, emotional, or verbal. If your mate shows aggression or any form of abuse toward you, seek counseling for both of you immediately to try to work through things. If your mate refuses to go, even if it is hard, leave. First is your safety. Second, it is possible for people to learn ways in which to manage their aggressions. If this is the case, the life of the relationship has a much better chance of surviving!
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Open Your Eyes
Do not drive yourself crazy with this, but take notice of how your relationship is going. Open your eyes and take stock of what is and is not working in your relationship. Are there definite things missing or definite problem areas that need to be worked on? Think about it. If you invest in the stock market, you pay attention to what is going on so you can make changes if needed. Your relationship is far more than the stock market but requires some of the same strategies.
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The Grass is NOT Greener!
Too many times, people get tired of working on the relationship they are currently in and feel that by moving on to another person, they will find greener pastures. This is just not the case. What happens is when you move to another person, things are fresh, new, and exciting just as they were in the beginning of your current relationship. Within time, that relationship will also start experiencing differences and bumps in the road. Unless you are being abused or your mate is doing something illegal or completely irresponsible, perhaps the efforts you would put into starting a new relationship would be better spent fixing the one you have.
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Start a Journal
Keep your personal feelings and discoveries about your mate in a journal. This will help to remember what special things he or she likes or dislikes, track the wonderful times spent together, and help you to feel better when you hit an obstacle in your relationship. When things get a little tough, refer to your journal and read through all the terrific emotions and time together and you will find plenty of reasons to make things right again.
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Remember that relationships are give and take situations, not competition between two people who love each other. There will be times when your mate is right and times when you are right. When you feel the conversation getting a little on the edgy side with each of you trying to hold ground, do not forget that there can be many ways to accomplish the same task. The result is that each of you might learn something new from the other person. Put your heads together and do what makes the most sense instead of battling for ownership of the solution.
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Cut out the Excuses
A major turn-off in many situations, not only relationships, is people who have an excuse for everything. Forget that. Do not make excuses in fear of your mate not liking, loving, or respecting you. Be yourself and if you messed up with something, just admit to it. Say you had promised to make dinner, got home exhausted, and just did not feel like making it, do not tell your mate, "I had to work overtime." Be honest and say, "You know, I got home after a busy day and I was too tired. What sounds better, Chinese or Pizza?" This has taken you out of the situation of lying and reconfirmed your honest nature to your mate.
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Statistics show that couples that share similar religious or spiritual beliefs usually have stronger relationships. Bringing spirituality into your relationship is important. Allow it to be your ultimate guide. If you are just starting out dating, religious preference may not seem like a big deal at first, but soon into the relationship, it can be a big trouble spot. Make time for spirituality in your life and consider dating someone who shares the same faith!
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Learn to be Successful
Many couples are starting to go to counseling or relationship/marriage classes much earlier in their relationship rather than waiting until after the marriage is in trouble. This is a great option for learning how to have a healthy, lasting relationship and develop open communication.
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Work and Home Do Not Mingle
How many times have you heard this? It is true. While sharing experiences about your day with your mate is perfectly normal, living your work at home is not. If you have to bring work home, set a specific amount of time it will take you to complete, let your mate know, and then when quitting time comes, quit! It is important to separate the two parts of your life and keep you work at the job, and when at home, pay attention to your mate and/or family.
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Men, unlike women, have a more difficult time in developing close friendships with other men. This is a natural part of life and while they may have some buddies from high school or college that they see on occasion, rarely do they set specific time aside just for friends. Men and women both need an outlet outside of the relationship where they can just "let their guard down" and have some fun with the same gender. In a same sex relationship, the opposite is true. Encourage opposite sex friendships. And as your mate makes new friendships, encourage that growth and show 100% support!
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Women are usually blessed with the gift of gab, making it easy, sometimes too easy, to talk to other people. Keep information shared to you by your mate in 100% confidence. Unless they have told you of a crime they have committed, they are confiding in you and placing full trust in your relationship. All it takes is one time of spilling private information for the entire relationship to suffer.
As you can see, relationships take work. However, with the right attitude, a lot of hard work, and some unique ideas on how to make is successful, couples can have a strong, lifelong relationship!
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