Singer, actress, fashion designer, entrepreneur, writer, and mom of two Thalía shares her parenting, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty tips as a POPSUGAR Latina contributor.
5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Long-Term Relationship
Being married or in a long-term relationship is a blessing, but it is not easy. It requires work, effort, lots of patience, and infinite understanding to succeed. If it were too easy, where would the excitement be? After a good number of years together, some couples start becoming more friends and less lovers, and some drift apart due to conflicting work schedules and separate interests. But there are things we can do to make it better, to work on keeping the spark alive! Here are five tactics I like.
Respect each other.
First and foremost, we have to understand that people in a marriage, long-term relationship, etc. need to respect each other's individuality. It is not about wanting to change your partner and telling them what to do and what not to do. It is about accepting the other person exactly as he or she is. Remember why you got together in the first place and the qualities that attracted you to your partner. I still cherish the moment I met my husband. We were on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. The qualities that attracted me to him that day are still the main reason why I love him so much today.
Develop a joint plan and make memories together.
Maybe both of you would like to renovate the house? You are eager to start a new yard project or try every single restaurant to find the best burger in your city? Recruit your partner! Be creative and enthusiastic about it! Share ideas and find common ground. By helping each other, and planning projects together, you become closer as a couple and you end up spending quality time together. There are so many ways to achieve this! You can also plan a trip, exercise to lose some weight together and support each other, or go rock climbing! The important thing is to make it fun and enjoy each other's company.
Remember to have your own time to do the things you like.
I have talked about having "me time" before, and it also applies to this one. We all have friends we like to see, hobbies, interests, and personal appointments we like to do and take care of on our time. It is important to find a balance in a relationship, and this includes being happy with yourself. For example, I like to get together with my girlfriends for lunch or meet them for dinner and a play in NYC. Seeing my friends makes me happy, and my husband is the same way. If you are both communicating and agreeing on your activities outside the relationship, and you are committed, and respectful of your partner's feelings and needs, it should work out.
Write a joint bucket list.
My husband and I have our own bucket lists, but we have decided to find items from them that we can do together. In my case, I am much more of an outdoor explorer and extreme-sport enthusiast, but he is not. Therefore, we have discussed trips and activities that we would both enjoy, and those include traveling through Cambodia, spending a whole month at a beautiful beach town fishing and relaxing, and visiting Machu Picchu in Peru, among others. If you both review your lists and interests together, you will see that a great adventure is just around the corner!
Keep the flame of love alive.
Even though it sounds like a total cliché, don't dismiss it yet. This is of utmost importance! Without love for each other, there is no relationship left. My motto is "small details go a long way". Leave a sweet note on your partner's desk or inside his/her pockets or bag. Text a simple, loving note at a random point during the day. Those things work. Many times, people lose perspective and forget why they got married in the first place. And even though in some relationships, passion may dwindle, if there is still love, there is a base to continue being happy. Show you care; show you want to be close.
Sitting down to watch a TV show or a movie together is a good opportunity to be close and feel each other's warmth. I love it when my husband softly scratches my back, massages my shoulders, or when we simply hold hands. That physical contact can be so powerful! It is important in order to create and maintain a lasting connection. Endorphins will get high and brain chemistry will allow you to feel the love.
These are some of the reasons why I love doing what I call Hug Therapy ("Terapia de Abrazos") on my social media accounts on Saturdays. It encourages loving each other. I am not an expert on love and relationships, but if I can help one person succeed in a long-term relationship, I will be extremely happy. It is great to feel loved and to give love, and I would like for you to experience that, too. I am a hopeless romantic — what can I say?