How To Keep The Spark Alive
One of the most asked questions on the forums and advice columns I troll is how to keep the spark alive. Not just in long term relationships, but in couples that have just begun dating, because when we're not in relationships, we fill our off time with other responsibilities. School, friends, hobbies, community service...the list goes on and on.
Like every other couple, all of the daily distractions of life have a tendency to come between M and me. Work, drama, work drama (because let's face it – every job comes with a bit of hassle), family, friends, and so on and so forth. If it can happen, it usually does.
And we live in a building with paper thin walls and oodles of children, so we try to keep our love-making tame and quiet. I would not call our love-making tame or quiet when we're not surrounded by children, so even if we both finish, there's always that bit of tension broiling under the surface of temporary satisfaction.
Besides that, we both have pretty demanding jobs. It seems like there's always some deadline, or maintenance window, or launch date standing between us and the time off every human being so desperately needs.
This all makes reconnection, both sexually and mentally, an insane pain in the rear. A trip off the grid (or close enough to it to force us to set everything else aside) on a semi-regular basis is always necessary. And just like every other couple, we sometimes put it off until our sex life and our relationship become strained.
It's really not a healthy way for anyone to live, but it is the life of so many Americans today. More than half of us are living paycheck to paycheck with no safety net. This means many of us work when we're sick, when we're mentally or physically exhausted, and to the detriment of all other facets of our lives. Even (and maybe especially) college age adults, whether they're students or not.
We spent this past weekend in a cabin in the woods. We left the area on Friday, and got back around 1 on Tuesday. You see, Monday was M's birthday, and we wanted to do something big, private, and romantic. We were going to go camping, because we both love the outdoors, but the weather was crap, so we rented a “honeymoon” cabin instead.
Our cell service was fleeting, and the wifi was spotty, so we were limited to cable tv (which we don't watch much of) and our own imaginations. And we've got good imaginations. And lots of toys.
And it was divine. We spent the days crawling around the Fort William Henry Museum in Lake George, and the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves in Pottersville, stopping to embrace and kiss and enjoy the moment along the way. The nights we spent curled up on the couch, in front of the fire, sipping on wine, and talking about life, love, and our pursuit of happiness. We indulged in greasy, unhealthy foods we usually shy away from, like homemade chili cheese nachos, and chicken and beef fajitas. We polished off a case of Bud Light, save the three still in our fridge, while watching our teams (M's a Giants fan. You'll remember, I'm for the Saints) win, and Drew Brees set another record. And we had lots and LOTS of sex.
But most importantly? We put everything else aside and really concentrated on each other. We talked about our hopes for the weekend, and for the future of our life together. We reminisced about other good times in our life, and made plans for future getaways. We showed genuine interest in what we had to say, and we flirted like the day we met.
Never stop flirting.
Tell each other every thought, from “You look hot tonight!” to “Honey, I think this pair of pants is more flattering.”
Dance. Even if you don't know how. Hell, especially if you don't know how.
Talk about everything from your childhood career dreams to where you see yourself in ten years. Be supportive when the latter changes.
Just be supportive. Be honest about your opinion, but back each other up.
And for the love of God, don't let the crazy, outside world get in the way of the intimacy. Make time for each other, and use it wisely. Or for the love of each other. That's probably better.