It is not possible to fully articulate the passion and depth that is a genuine burning desire. As we search for, find, and embrace romance, it is so important that fathers model appropriate behaviors. Children will imitate dad; it is so important to raise them as self-respecting young adults who also respect others.
Date Like it’s Year One
As the sands of time pass, complacency can infiltrate even the healthiest romance. Think back to the first year of your relationship and write down the things we used to do for our partner. Start doing them again. Do things you’ll enjoy together, revisit where you shared a first date to evoke good feelings of nostalgia, or maybe go to different places to spark something new and exciting. On a budget? Google “cheap date ideas.” Unending lists of cool adventures populate. Can’t afford a babysitter? Ask friends with children to help; they’ll agree and will look forward to asking that we return the favor.
Be Aware of Attribution
Everyday interactions shape how we perceive other’s intentions. Over time, we grow to expect certain behaviors from certain people, attributing our reasons for their motivations. We often carry these feelings into current and future interactions, internalizing both positive and negative attributions. This can result in one of two false narratives: 1) incorrect negative attributions assume someone who means well has bad intentions or 2) incorrect positive attributions assume that someone who is being disingenuous has good intentions. Before judging, see things for what they are and not necessarily what we attribute them to be.
Be Attractive (or at least don’t be un-attractive)
As relationships pass from “in love” to “real love,” threats of complacency become very real. Remember the things we did when we were courting her? Wear cologne, have good hygiene, be well groomed, be kind and funny, work out, show interest in her interests, communicate openly, and be the sexy guy she deserves.
Ask REAL Questions
Him: “How was your day?” Her: “Fine. How was yours?” Small talk does not improve the romantic connection. Try “What made you smile today?” or “What was the most interesting/challenging part of your day?” By asking creative, open-ended questions, we can provoke conversations to enhance the romantic connection.
Ask for What We Want
Humans are always changing, growing, and finding new interests. Our partner is not a mind reader. By asking her for what we truly want, we substantially increase the likelihood of getting it, strengthening the romantic connection, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and sexually, so we can reach higher, together.
Question: “If I have to ask for something, will it be genuine if it is given to me? Shouldn’t it be given freely?”
Answer: “What makes us think it’s not given freely? Asking for something is no guarantee. When we receive something that we’ve asked for, this shows that our desires are valued and that the giver is giving freely.”
When our goal is to get someone to admit fault, lingering feelings of ill will undermine the health of the relationship, even if just subliminally. Rather than trying to get someone to concede, strive to appreciate the other person’s perspective. View conversations as opportunities to understand each other.
Fight-Flight vs Trust
We all live in flux on the fight-flight response spectrum. These physiological tendencies establish a subliminal baseline in most relationships. The fewer flight-flight tendencies, the more trust and comfort. The more fight-flight tendencies, the more suspicion and readiness to overreact to a perceived slight.
Five Love Languages
In his book, The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman describes how falling “in love” eventually runs its course; relationships are not actually happily-ever-after fairy tales. While the “in love” feeling is amazing, it is only temporary. By learning our partner’s love language, whether words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch, we are better equipped to pursue and enjoy “real love.”
Sometimes, tensions escalate and tempers flare. While it is not cool to abandon a partner in need, some couples create an understanding that either partner can ask for a break until cooler heads prevail. One critical caveat is to agree to specifically revisit the conversation, each partner regrouping with mutual respect and a mindset to understand each other, resolve conflict, and rekindle loving energies on both sides.
Don’t callously say, “I’m sorry.” Acknowledge the wrong, recognize the line that was crossed, and sincerely express remorse and regret. Most importantly, learn from mistakes, and commit to finding new ways to manage similar situations, should they arise.
Get Good Sleep
Healthy lives start with healthy sleep habits. Offer a truce, say good night, and get some rest.
Unless committed to a celibate relationship, touching, kissing, and sexual intimacy are vital. Different couples have different levels of desire and passion, from PG-13 to no-holds-barred; physical affection is a powerful way to express love.
Respond to Good News with Kindness
When our partner shares good news, are we indifferent, demeaning, callous, or kind? Kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in relationships, reciprocating upward spirals of love. Examine the impact of four responses a husband gave his wife after she exclaimed, “Babe, I have great news! My boss gave me the promotion!”
- Husband ignores his wife and says, “Can you make me a sandwich?”
- Husband says, “Are you sure you can handle the increased responsibility?”
- Husband, while texting someone on this phone says, “That’s great babe.”
- Husband lights up and says, “That’s great babe, tell me all about it!”
While choosing the right approach appears self-explanatory, the stresses of life often cause couples to get lazy and put less energy into offering kind and considerate responses, dooming their relationships.
Turning Toward vs Turning Away
A wife may ask her husband, “Did you see the trailer for that new movie?” She’s exploring for his interest—not necessarily in the movie—but in their connection, however momentary. The husband can choose to “turn toward” or “turn away.” Does he recognize and respect his wife’s request to connect?
Men often communicate from “surface levels,” leading to knee-jerk reactions and otherwise avoidable conflict. Try communicating from “root levels” to express deeper feelings, de-escalate tensions, nourish our romantic connection, and recreate a loving environment that is conducive to finding solutions, together.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” —1 John 4:18 NABRE
We all want love, support, and companionship. Sometimes, we need a little help. Hold Me Tight offers illuminating advice to nurture, protect, and grow your relationship for a lifetime of love.
If you are a man unhappy that your partner seems so unhappy with you…if you feel bewildered, unappreciated, or betrayed… This book offers a solution.
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the challenge. Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner.
Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and they forgot they were from different planets.
The Relationship Cure offers a simple but profound program that will fundamentally transform the quality of all of the relationships in your life.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.