When you’re in a happy and healthy relationship it is easy to lose sight of just how good you have it. You become used to it.
One of my favourite songs of all time is “Life Got In The Way” by Sister Hazel. It contains one of the most beautiful, poignant and painful lyrics I know.
“Apathy grows quietly where rapture used to fly”
When you take the beauty and love in your life for granted you gradually stop caring, stop trying and stop valuing it. When you stop valuing the person in your life who gives you love, you will lose them. When you lose them you lose that joy. Becoming apathetic about the love of your life is painfully easy, and ends in a painful way for both.
Based on an amazing array of relationships, both good and bad, here is my guide to how to avoid this easy to fall into trap.
1) In the immortal words of Kevin Smith, “F*ck often and f*ck only each other”. The sexual component of a romantic relationship is really important, it’s what separates that specific relationship from that you have with your closest friends. Do not forget one another’s needs and become lazy about taking care of them. A person’s sexuality can be as intrinsic a part of their self identity as any their personality and sense of humour, it’s who they are. If you recognise that in one another and continue to value it as much as the other aspects of their person, you will make one another feel valued, desirable and wanted.
2) If the person does nice things for you, acknowledge it. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted or like their efforts don’t matter. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out, “My darling, thank you so much for once again taking the time to cook for your family and serving up such an exquisitely prepared and divinely presented meal, you are truly a wonder”. Nobody likes a suck up. But, equally so, recognise that someone has gone to effort for you and thank them. Make sure they know you appreciate it and, in turn, appreciate them.
3) Make time for fun. Whether you’ve been together a short time or a long time, it is unlikely that you’ll have got to the point you’re at if you didn’t have fun together to begin with. It’s easy to lose the fun in the endless cycle of bill paying, house cleaning, school run driving, child raising and cooking. The none-fun that comes with a stable relationship is easily apparent and part of the day to day drudge that makes people feel glum. So sometimes step away from it and do something purely for the pleasure of it and for the happiness at being around the person who makes you smile. Play a game, go for a walk, watch a movie. Stop, for one minute, worrying if the dishes are done. If they aren’t they will be there tomorrow exactly as they are today, and you get to spend time enjoying life with your partner.
4) Always communicate with each other, if you’re feeling insecure tell them, if you’re feeling excited tell them. If you close of part of yourself to your significant other it will create a distance between you, because they won’t know you as well as they think they do. Not bothering to tell each other things is easy when other things seem more important, such as chores and jobs, but it is important. To feel as if your emotions and your feelings are inconsequential and don’t matter hurts, and makes you feel less valued as a person, and less connected to the person who should be remembering to care. So talk, tell each other what’s going on in your world and in your head.
5) Celebrate that person’s qualities regularly. If you think your partner looks particularly sexy or beautiful tell them, everyone likes to hear that. If you are enjoying their quick wit with your friends, their charm with your family, or their kindness with your children, tell them. Don’t forget those attributes which are likely part of why you fell in love with them in the first place, and are why you still love them now. Don’t feel that just because you’re together and committed that those things no longer matter or no longer deserve celebrating, because they do. Good qualities are always good qualities regardless of how often you see them presented.
So that is my guide to how not to fall into the traps of apathy in a relationship. Don’t lose the person you love because you’ve forgotten how awesome they are. Don’t lose that happiness because you couldn’t be bothered to celebrate it. Life is full of amazing opportunities for happiness, we just have to value those things.