If only it were as simple as that: A one-fits-all formula or magic recipe and everybody would live happily ever after and nobody would ever break up again. Except, that’s not really how life works, is it?
Much like I firmly believe in creating your own destiny (don’t wait for it to happen), I believe there is no f***ing secret to a fulfilled marriage or relationship. Like the best things in life, relationships require constant work, effort and goodwill from both parties. There is no shortcut or easy fix. Every couple has to figure out their love for each other at their own pace. What works for one couple may not work for another and vice versa.
That being said, over the years I have come up with a theory of my own, on what might keep a relationship between a man and woman going. Assuming that all the other parameters are in place (i.e. passion, open communication, trust etc.), I believe the base of a happy relationship is as simple as: Make a woman feel desired and a man feel needed.
Live by this mantra and it will help keep that spark between the two of you alive, while you progress to the next stages of your relationship.
Let me elaborate: As young girls, we grow up to a bunch of Disney and fairy tale crap (I’m sorry, as much as I enjoyed and adored watching Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White – just to name a few – it’s still bullshit), believing in handsome princes who passionately fall in love with beautiful princesses and who will stop at nothing – including slaying dragons and fighting off evil witches – to win them over. As ridiculous as it sounds, it speaks to the very nature of most women: We ultimately want a man to fight for us and our attention. We want to feel special, desired and worshiped at all times. We are after all princesses.
Unfortunately, once the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship is over, most men tend to get comfortable and stop showing their woman how much they desire her. My advice to the men out there: Don’t stop! Shower your woman with honest compliments and never take her efforts to look good for you for granted. The more you make your woman feel like she is the only one in the world, the more she will give back to you and put you first. You might think your woman is the most desirable human being on the planet, but if you don’t tell her – or better yet, show her – she’ll never know.
Similarly, men need to feel like they are the man and protector in a relationship. As a woman – no matter how emancipated you are, never take that away from him. I’ve seen it time and time again: women taking over and wearing the so-called pants in the relationship. From what I have experienced, this approach rarely ends well. Mind you, I am not suggesting you should allow him to patronize you or anything like that. But do play the “damsel in distress card” every once in a while, and you’ll be amazed at how he will jump at the opportunity to “rescue” you from whatever it is that you need rescuing from (even if it’s just the spider in your bathroom or the broken light bulb, which you could easily replace yourself).
It basically boils down to expressing your appreciation for your partner the right way: Telling a guy, he’s handsome, will hardly do the trick – telling him you feel secure in his strong arms, on the other hand, will. Telling a woman, she’s smart is a start – telling her that you lay awake at night thinking of her, is even better.
And it’s not about expensive gifts and materialistic things. Simple everyday gestures like a home cooked meal after your husband comes home from a busy day or drawing a bubble bath for your wife, is all it takes. Although, I will say that the occasional flower bouquet and fancy dinner date will always make a woman feel special.
Simply pay attention to what is important to your partner and make an effort to compliment him/her on that specific thing. For example, if your girlfriend spends hours getting ready, take a minute to acknowledge the effort she is making to look good for you (because as much as we deny it, ultimately, we do get all dressed up for you guys). If your husband spends hours at the office, express your gratitude at his effort in providing financial stability for you. Or, if he’s passionate about soccer and spends Sundays on the field with his pals, make sure to go watch him play from time to time and cheer him on.
Whatever you do, be authentic and be yourself but don’t get too comfortable in that you completely forget to actively express your appreciation for your partner.