39 Ways to Make Your Love Last and Last
Finding the right guy is up to you, but once you do, here are some little and some bigger ways you can strengthen your love — from activities to do once a week, to things to do together once in a lifetime.
1. Fight (just a little). Conversate with passion. Getting your grrs out keeps small annoyances from snowballing. Britain’s longest-married couple proves it: Together 81 years, Frank and Anita Milford say their secret is “a little argument every day.”
2. Walk hand in hand. Even just to your car after an evening at Waffle House.
3. Compliment each other. This one’s a daily to-do, if you can. There’s no nice thing that’s too small to mention: his excellent taste in music, the way he always opens the door for you — it’s all worth a verbal love tap. And he will swoon.
4. Make love (obviously). But also …
5. Have generous sex. You need at least one sexual connection a week that’s all about pleasing the other person. (Dear busy people: Feel free to multitask and make this the sex from before. Same goes for this next one …)
6. Sleep together before work. Put down the straightening iron and heat things up this way: “Weekday morning sex is the secret sauce in a relationship,” says Tristan Coopersmith, 33, coauthor of Menu Dating.
7. Get into bed and … sleep. “Sometimes the best thing a couple can do to ignite their passion for each other is sleep,” says Hillsborough, New Jersey, sleep expert Carol Ash. If you two aren’t in the sleepover stage yet, co-napping has been known to work wonders too.
8. Let something go. Argue over the stuff that matters, but once a week let him (and yourself) off the hook for things that don’t: Yes, he chews his popcorn loud. No, it won’t kill you.
9. Laugh really hard. Laughter is a relationship’s Krazy Glue: It bonds you. Uninspired? Fast-forward to the chest-waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, or send him something snortworthy from funnyordie.com.
… Once a Month
10. Be do-gooders. Volunteering together (even just helping a friend move) bonds you because you’re ID-ing “common values,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist in Wexford, Pennsylvania.
11. Do something scary. Been together a while? A pounding heart mimics the rush of brand-new love, says Patti Wood, an expert on nonverbal communication in Atlanta. Fly in a balloon, or order the sweetbreads for two!
12. Talk about money. Whether it’s “Should we open a joint account?” or just, “Hey, let’s split the bill tonight.”
13. Brag publicly about him: his fearless pursuit of the mouse in your kitchen, the armful of hydrangeas he surprised you with, the raise he landed even in this economy. Surely once a month you can think of something that’ll make him blush in front of your friends. He’ll probably get you back too.
14. Declare something “this stays in Vegas.” A silly nickname, or a crazy bedroom mishap. Share something intimate, then pull the couple bubble around you tightly.
15. Be the man. Not literally, but if your guy always initiates dates, romance, whatever, take the lead for once. Christina, 26, of Jersey City, New Jersey, likes to ask her husband out on formal dates: “I’ve even brought him a red rose.”
16. Disappear together. Hike somewhere AT&T can’t find you (and thus your mother, your boss and his needy friend Bob can’t find you either). No woods? Any time spent totally alone together — a long drive, even — will do the trick.
17. Disappear alone. We’re not advocating game-playing, exactly. But in this world of 24/7 availability, it can be good for your relationship to each have some solo time. Afterward, you’ll feel recharged, like the free-spirited single girl he fell for once upon a time.
18. Go to a party! And mingle separately. It screams confidence and makes the after-party rehash even sweeter.
19. Have sex some way you’ve never had it before. A worthy challenge, whether you’ve been together 10 days or 10 years. Try a new position or play out a fantasy. Doesn’t matter whether it’s really new to you, as long as it’s new to you as a couple.
… Once a Year
20. Build a doghouse. Or restore a Firebird. Or, OK, sew matching Star Trek costumes. Any team project “is fantastic bonding,” says Wendi Forrest, owner of Time for Nine, a golf dating service.
21. Now get the dog. Or at least a plant. Anything that’ll grow with your love.
22. Say the tough thing. The dark family secret. The crazy career dream. If you can’t confess to your significant other, then who? (Hey, you think Barack never said to Michelle way back when, “This may sound nuts, but I think I want to be president someday”?)
23. Cancel Valentine’s Day and invent your own lovey-dovey holiday. Lobsterfest 2010, anyone?
24. Fall apart. You can’t schedule this. But it’s important that you each know, via experience, that you can completely, utterly lose your grip — weep over a bad haircut, threaten to leave your job after a nutso day, have a wrenching fight with your mom — and not lose each other.
25. Don’t. Get. Up. At least once a year, break open some bubbly, disable the Wi-Fi, and don’t get out of bed for the weekend.
26. Talk birth control. Not so sexy, but potentially life-changing. Would a different method work better? Is it his turn (or yours) to take primary responsibility? And where are you on the whole kid issue, anyway?
27. Re-kiss your first kiss. All timid and hopeful … and wonderful.
28. Write each other. New Orleans newlywed Rebecca, 32, was inspired by her husband’s uncle, who writes his wife every Christmas: “One letter may not seem like much, but after 30 years it’s a wonderful record of their lives.”
29. Think back on all the reasons you fell for him, whether you’ve dated for a year or a decade. Some will be big (his extra-dry sense of humor); some will be small (his love of argyle). Make sure you tell him, and remind yourself. Hello, butterflies! There you are again.
… And Once In a Lifetime
30. Get lost together in a foreign country.
31. Damn the cost and go do the dream.
32. Get intimate someplace you might be discovered.
33. Suffer through food poisoning together.
34. Go to each other’s “fun” high school reunions.
35. Pay off the mortgage!
36. Come back from the brink of a breakup even stronger.
37. Together, convince a skeptic pal to believe in love.
38. Have a poor phase. Maybe a rich phase, too.
39. Count the stars. Know your love is one in a billion.
Be creative and add to this list. Come on, you know your love is worth it. Enjoy it, celebrate it, explore it. Share it and give it the respect due and worthy of you. In all things, you are the master, Why not be master of your love and relationships. Love is worth fighting for, believing and hanging on to.
I DO Weddings by Sheri