Gbenga and Tutu (not real names) had been together for six years. So far, they have a good understanding
of each other. The only issue is that Tutu is not happy, why? Gbenga is no longer as romantic as he used to be. All the things he used to do, he had practically stopped. No more wedding anniversary gifts, no more surprise gifts, once he comes back from work he will drop his clothes anyhow on the floor. To even carry the baby is headache for him. He leaves her alone to handle all the house work and all while, Gbenga, on the other hand feels the extra things Tutu used to do is no longer forthcoming: the great sex, the listening ear, the attention to his food. Instead, it is always nagging and ignoring him when she never gets her way.
Over the years, the challenge of having and maintaining a romantic relationship with your partner is an issue of worry for many while dating, early years of marriage and many years after being married. A couple of clients keep asking: “Rois what does a healthy relationship look like”? Every relationship has its unique nature. What is good for Bisi may not necessarily be good for Joke And the only answer I have been able to give and still give is relationships will always look and feel different for every couple.
However, in my experience with couples dating and married, I have seen that the role models you look up to is very key. For instance, if as an individual you did not get to have the experience to grow up with parents, guardians or people who can influence you, with their wonderful and healthy way of relating to each other, it may be difficult to find a healthy couple to learn from or look up to.
The scare in this aspect could be that the “healthy couple” may just be faking it. But all things being equal, we are talking about learning from couples who actually relate properly with each other.
So I will try in my own little way to address healthy ways to have and maintain a romantic relationship as it works differently for people and the fact remains that it finally depends on each couple how they want to function irrespective of what I may say.
Always tell your spouse you love them and why
Action speaks louder than words. This is a motto I have lived by in my life, but the words were also created for a reason. They speak clearly, helping erase all misconceptions. Every now and then, you have to learn to verbalize your feelings. Don’t just expect your spouse to know, especially during hard times. Just a very simple “I love you my husband, you are a great father” or “I love you my wife, thank you for standing by me through thick and thin” can go a long way. It will make your significant other not only feel wanted, but appreciated as well. It improves the security in the relationship and improves self-confidence of both of you.
Always show affection no matter how small
A certain amount of people, though not very comfortable with intimacy as a result of upbringing, religion or environment, may not be able to do this 100 per cent. At least, some efforts should be made to show small acts of physical intimacy. For instance, learn to hold hands. I can hear some people laughing and asking “in Nigeria?” This is not an European country o! Yes, I know, but an act, as small as holding hand is a good way to show affection. I had to personally learn how to do this. While sitting watching a movie or TV news, put your arm over their shoulder. What people don’t realize is that the littlest touch can be as important and sometimes depending on your spouse, may be even more than having sex 24 hours a day. Quite a number of people are emotional beings. They may not want to show it.
Always be appreciative of your partner
It is very important to always inform your partner as often as possible on how important they are to you in the simplest terms in simple ways: by stating what you like about them , what makes you proud of them, their strength no matter how silly it may sound. Romance should not just be about bonding in every way, especially sexually alone , but it’s about connecting the mind , body and soul to your spouse , creating a win-win situation , with everyone feeling good about themselves. Words like “honey, I just love the way you analyse issues with speed and can make decisions under pressure” or “honey, I admire your skill in cooking jollof rice; I am sure you can even cook it in your sleep” or “honey no one can handle pressure like you, you make everything look so easy.” These are sincere ways of showing appreciation, which ever works for you . Please, try it and see how romance will increase in your relationship,
Always be open about yourself
Some couples have a poor habit of letting outsiders know and understand them better than their spouse. This is very wrong and kills the romance in any relationship. Ensure you share what you like and what you don’t like with your spouse. Infact, anything you feel is important information or worthy of note should be shared. Share intimate parts of yourself with your spouse, unless you have trust issues, but this is the right thing to do. Of course, there should also be ability to have some space and boundaries in every relationship, but it is important to share this with them, so they know what to do and what to avoid in order to make you not only happy, but improve the romance you both share.
Always be available for your spouse
Being supportive of your spouse is a very important rule. Life sometimes is not rosy all the time , but being available when times are tough is crucial to avoid a feeling of neglect and betrayal. There are times either of you may experience loss of job, loss of a family member, loss of business, financial loss , even loss of a child , you need to be supportive when these challenges in life come because they do come and in a lot of cases , take you by surprise.
What we are saying is you should be supportive when there is chaos . Bring calm to the situation , be ready to listen and offer help. Sometimes you may not have the solution, but offer sympathy. Be the shoulder to cry on and don’t let them cry on another person’s shoulder.
Always present gifts no matter how small
It is not only on anniversary, birthday, or some major occasions that you will present gifts. Every day you are alive is an opportunity to show love, showing love in material forms doesn’t make your spouse cheap. It’s not about jewellery alone or boxers or cakes. You can pick a very good book, take them to the movies, a nice tie, bracelet with a little note by the pillow so when they wake up, they can see it. This is applicable to both sides, meaning even women can do this and not always wait for the man. Both genders should not be waiting for who will buy gifts first. Create a reason for the gift and take action. If there is no reason , then the reason of “ I love this man , or I love this woman” should be enough and this will show them amongst other good behavior that you love and care for them.