Devlin-Tested Love Tips to Keep the Fire ALIVE!

Relationships are hard work. Most of us already know this. But sometimes we can get tricked by the culture around us into thinking that good relationships should be easy. 

The fact of the matter is, that after 17+ years of marriage, we’ve learned through good and rough times that real relationships require effort. Putting in the required work makes good relationships great and can help to save relationships that seem like they’re in a rut, falling apart, or even destined for failure.Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to even know what needs to be done. You may feel as though you’ve tried “everything” to no avail. So, we want to share some love hacks, five small habits that fuel the fire. We can honestly say that we love each other more now than we did in the beginning of our marriage and that’s been due, in part, to these Devlin-tested love hacks:

  1. Discover each other
  2. Schedule your date time
  3. Find ways to serve without expectation
  4. Have emotional awareness
  5. Go to bed together

Discover Each Other

Whether you’ve been in a relationship with your spouse/partner for 2 months or for twenty years, you will always have more to learn about one another. There are basically two reasons for this:

  1. Your partner is an infinitely fascinating and multifaceted person. It would be impossible to know every single thing about them regardless of how long you’ve known each other. So, that’s the first thing, you need to admit that even if you know them better than anyone else in the world does, you can always know them better.

  2. They aren’t the same person that they were last week or last year or when you first met. All of us are always growing and changing. That’s a good thing! We should want to grow and learn and change … and as a couple we need to allow each other the opportunity and room to do that. So that’s the first hack: take the time to discover each other anew each and every day.

Schedule Date Time

This is incredibly important, but it doesn’t have to be super elaborate or difficult. We know for sure how difficult this can be when you have small children! But “date night” doesn’t have to be a costly night out. Date night can be “on Thursday, once the kids are down, we are going to stream a favorite movie and watch it together. Or, date night can be date breakfast!

The point is that you are saying to each other, we are important enough to be put on our own schedules!

If your kid’s soccer practice is on the schedule, you could even schedule your date to be the two of you walking the perimeter of the field, holding hands and talking with each other, while the practice is going on. We’re big fans of the holding-hands-walk-date! It’s great to have the physical feeling of moving forward while talking things out! It’s like you’re getting somewhere both literally and figuratively. 

Find Ways to Serve Without Expectation

Let’s face it, many of us have a “must win” mentality. It doesn’t matter how we acquired it … it’s there. And the problem when we think in terms of winning is that we also think that there will be a loser. One thing that has really helped us not have to “win” at the cost of the other person losing, is to ask “what makes our relationship ‘win,’ here?” instead of “how can I win, here?”

Many of us have bought into the lie that marriage has to be 50/50 or it’s somehow not fair. We’re here to let you in on the truth that marriage is rarely “fair” in that sense.

Sometimes it needs to be 80/20 or 40/60 or even 120/-20. Because the goal is to always have your relationship be at 100% … that way both people win. Sure, you may need to serve a little extra today to make sure that the relationship wins out in the end … but since that was your goal in the first place, you haven’t been cheated out of anything. We really like this hack because it works great regardless of where your relationship is currently. Things are going great? Awesome, serving without expectation will keep things great. In the middle of a heated argument? Not so great, but again, letting go of the need to win in favor or your relationship winning helps to resolve things so that both of you come out winners!

(Quick caveat: we’re not talking here about situations that are abusive in any way. If you are in an abusive situation, we encourage you to seek the help that you need.) 

Have Emotional Awareness

This one can require some self-reflection, folks, and a willingness to own what’s going on with yourself physically, mentally, emotionally. 

Have you ever had those moments where you were really angry, like pot-boiling, over-the-top, angry … and felt totally justified in your anger? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. But most of us have had those moments, too, where we realize later on (maybe minutes later, days later, sometimes even years later) that we were not really angry so much as we were just tired, or hungry, or had an awful headache, or whatever.

The point is that we need to be able to assess where we’re at and why in those moments and then bring that knowledge to bear on the relationship.

It’s okay to say things like, “I know this is really important to you right now and you want to talk about it. I want to honor that and you, but I’m not sure I can do that really well right now because I just got out of a really frustrating business meeting and I know that I’m not in a great head-space to hear what you’re trying to say. Can we talk about it in a couple of hours (days?) when I’m in a better place to hear you?” Likewise, it’s important for each of us to be able to hear and honor such requests from the other person … or better yet, to start to learn to anticipate them: “I need to talk to you about this important thing, but I know that you’ve just got back from shopping with the kids and might need some time to wind down. Let me know when it’s a good time for us to talk.”

The important thing still gets discussed, but at a time when both of us knows it will be productive and helpful for our relationship. Again, both of us winning at the relationship, that’s always the goal.

Go to Bed Together

Most of us have heard the age-old adage: don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Or, put another way, don’t go to bed angry with each other.

This one can be tricky because even with the best of intentions, there may be times when one or both people in a relationship can’t quite resolve all of the negative feelings before the tired takes over and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get some sleep.

So, our love-hack here is really more about adjusting our lives and our personal schedules so that we go to bed together every night. Obviously, we understand that for couples who have opposite work schedules and such, this isn’t always possible, but what we’ve found is that having that time together … a “we are going to bed now … together” time, has been incredibly important for building intimacy between us (and not just romantic intimacy, though that’s important too). Having those last moments of our day to be together as a couple, to hold one another at the end of the day as we look forward to the next, having physical contact as we hold one another … it feels like a cementing together of our relationship.

So, those are our love hacks or tips that we’ve discovered for keeping love fueled in our relationship. And we know they work! We encourage you to check out our Love Plus Money Podcasts for other great relationship, family, and business tips and definitely check out the rest of our website for coaching opportunities that we have available if you’d like to take a deeper dive into the best ways to deepen and improve your relationship.

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