You’re Married, But Are You Committed?: 4 Commitments You Should Make to Maintain Your Relationship
“Married people don’t have sex,” Grace Truman in Satisfaction answers matter-of-factly to her single friend who dared to ask how many times a week she had sex with her husband.
As they watch, married people everywhere nod their heads in silence while single people vow never to get into a relationship like “that.”
Whether this is the “norm” or the world’s most understood “inside joke” for couples, from what I know, it’s clearly a challenge for many people to keep the sex alive in long-term relationships. “Can we get the feelings back for each other?” “Can our lack of intimacy be fulfilled?” “Will I ever want to have sex with my partner again?” are common questions I get asked by couples. Thankfully the answer to all those questions are yes, or at least, if you’re willing to make a few commitments to your relationship.
Our job in a relationship is to make our partner feel special, fulfilled and loved, which is so much easier in the beginning. When you’re falling in love, you naturally want to do anything for this person. You want to rip each other’s clothes off the second you see each other, until one day you don’t feel like having sex at all, and then you never talk about it. Ever.
And it’s not your fault entirely; it’s those pesky biological instincts that has us programmed to focus on kids, home, and basic survival. Since working on a relationship for survival is not hardwired into our brains, it doesn’t mean you can’t reprogram your thinking. Try making the following commitments to help your marriage go the distance.
The 4 Relationship Commitments
1. Commit to the Relationship:
Nurture your bond every single day, and understand the consequences if you don’t maintain it. On a daily basis you can do a few simple things that will keep the passion alive. Make sure to kiss and touch everyday, send a sexy text message about what you want to do the next time you’re in bed together, listen to each other, invest in each others’ happiness, goals and dreams. The exact things that attracted you in the first place (besides their smoldering eyes or witty sense of humor) is that they were excited, passionate and really into you. Remember those things that attracted you to your partner and never stop appreciating them and reciprocating the attention. The acts might change, but the significance does not. For example, staying up until all hours having sex may not work with your schedules anymore, but you can still make time for intimacy.
2. Commit to Communication:
Participate in hard-core communication both when things are great and when things are a mess. Don’t wait until things unravel to talk meaningfully. You have to be vulnerable and share the things that keep you connected while also acknowledging your insecurities. If you don’t reveal the real “you,” how are you going to keep that under wraps “‘til death do us part?”
We often expect our partners to guess what we’re craving in the relationship. We want mind readers who can cook. Yet, we don’t communicate directly about our needs and desires.
Be sure to let your partner know when they’ve done something you appreciate and how good it made you feel. Positive reinforcement is way more effective than passive aggressive criticism. Check in to see how your partner is feeling on a regular basis so issues don’t get buried until you explode months or years later.
Learn how to communicate with your partner so when things happen in the moment you feel safe expressing your feelings. Then when life throws you a curve ball, and it always does, you’ll have the tools to deal with it.
3. Commit to therapy:
Let me be clear: you’ve never been to therapy if you went a few times. “Sure, we tried it twice” doesn’t count. You both have to make the commitment to therapy or it won’t work. If your partner is against it, discuss why, work through it and let your partner know it’s imperative for relationship survival. It’s best to go to therapy when you’re not in full-blown crisis mode. Therapy is a process that can take months, or even years to experience the full benefit.
Think of it like a flu shot, you’ll be vaccinated against future issues if you take the time to understand each other on a deeper level. For couples in crisis, it’s a fast track to figure out exactly where you’re stuck, what’s holding you back and how to move through it. There’s no guarantee that therapy will save your relationship but it will help you know if it can be saved. Therapy is a lifelong maintenance tool for many couples. Do the work, develop the skills and go back as needed for a “tune up” and definitely when you hit a rough spot. Therapy is no longer a luxury expense; it’s a requirement for most couples to have successful long-term relationships.
4. Commit to Sex:
Sex can be like going to the gym – getting started is the hard part but once you get going, you never regret it. Sex in relationships is the same way. You might not be in the mood, but once you do it, you almost always feel better. I’m not prescribing sex everyday, but part of the commitment to your sex life is discussing what you both need and require sexually to be fulfilled. This isn’t an optional discussion. For sex to go the distance you have to meet each other’s needs, which also change over time. Good sex is about keeping it interesting, adding variety, mixing it up, and incorporating a pinch of mystery and little surprises. Expand your sexual repertoire. Watch porn, dress up, dress down, use a blindfold, a sex toy or have sex with the lights on if you haven’t. Whatever mixing it up means in your playbook, do that.
You’ve already make the big commitment to be together, so if you want to make the relationship last, honor these other commitments and you’ll have a much better chance of finding satisfaction.