CHICAGO (WLS) --With Valentine's Day just around the corner, symbols of romance and love are all around us. Married and long term partnered couples know that love can heat up and cool off. If your love isn't flaming hot, but still good enough to stay, how do you keep the flames of love high with your spouse, and score big on Valentine's Day? Relationship expert Bela Gandhi from Smart Dating Academy visited ABC 7 on Thursday with some tips.
Adjust expectations: You can definitely improve your love, and know that it's OK to not feel that crazy butterflies in your stomach love as you've been together for years. The newness of when you just met won't come back in the same way, but know that what you have now, the safety and security of a loyal person, is even better. Revel in the lack of butterflies, and get ready to change a few easy things up!
Let go of your resentments: If you have a chip on your shoulder because your partner isn't taking out the recycling often enough or helping you make weekend plans, those little bitter feelings could be grinding down the love and goodwill you've created over time. So take a hard look at the expectations you believe your spouse isn't meeting, because they're your problem. One common cause of the spark wearing off is that we build up resentments. Expecting your partner to always be sexy, funny, reasonable, sensible, and accommodating is a set-up for bad feelings. To get the excitement back, first you have to get over your resentments and strive for acceptance. Doing so will change the whole dynamic of your relationship, making it lot easier to communicate, connect, and feel more in love.
Get physical, and not just in bed: When you're falling in love with someone, you constantly look for ways to be in physical contact with that person-and we don't just mean when you're naked. Reincorporating everyday physical gestures here and there can help stir up those loving feelings again. Start small with a gentle brush of the arm, a pat on the back, holding hands, just putting your hand on top of his. Every gesture counts. The skin is the largest organ on our body, and physical touch is an important human need. Before you know it, those little touches will translate to a deepened emotional connection.
Paddle against the current: The longer you're married, the more likely you are to pay attention to the negative aspects of your spouse, rather than the traits you found adorable when you first fell for him -- it's part of human nature. To counteract this tendency toward criticism, you have to change your mindset and look for what is good. It's not always easy, and requires work. Commit to saying at least two nice things to each other per day.
Always be kind: This is hard to do, especially when your partner pushes your buttons. Make a list of the things that irritate you most about each other, and have a plan to respond with kindness instead of venom. This will improve things fast, and make your partner feel loved and important.