Two secrets to strengthen your intimate relationship

If you are new to Women on Fire, welcome! Each week we bring you inspiration, strategies and support to live a life closer to what you truly want.

And, because your intimate relationship should contribute to a deeply satisfying life, this week I have two powerful strategies to keep strong a precious relationship — that with your significant other.

If you are not currently in a relationship, but look forward to having one in the future, you can keep these strategies in mind for when you meet “the one.” You can even practice these on your own as a way to connect with yourself.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Studies show that one of the keys to a successful marriage is for each partner to come into the relationship content with themselves.

Before I tell you two ways we stay strong as a couple year-after-year, if you’ve not yet met my husband Rob Berkley, please let me introduce you …

Rob is usually the one behind the camera but he let me photograph him this past weekend in New York City in a cab on the way to the theater!

We have been together for nearly 14 years.

We were both married and divorced before that. So when we came together as a couple, he in his late 30s, me in my early 40s, we set an intention to stay connected and keep our love strong and growing over the long haul.

We knew from the beginning we’d be living busy lives as entrepreneurs packed with work and family and friends.  We were determined to find ways to slow things down and stay focused and connected to each other.

And, after all these years … so far, so good!

The secret?

Sacred weekends and quarterly getaways.

And here’s how it works for us:

Sacred weekendsRob and I agree that one weekend each month is sacred and we schedule it in our calendars. What that means is that we don’t accept invitations, or plan specific activities, or schedule anything. Once the weekend arrives, we decide together in the moment what we want to do.

Sometimes it’s a project together in the house, or we go to the movies, or we lie  on the couch together and read.  There have been sacred weekends we’ve reviewed our goals and set new ones or we’ve grabbed cameras and headed to the woods or beach.

We’ve had conflict during a sacred weekend because we finally have the time to resolve some issue! (Having a framework to resolve conflict is a whole other important subject for a future Spark!🙂

The key is that we are very conscious to spend our sacred weekends to be as relaxed as possible, connected and in sync with each other. The energy and peace  we get from our sacred weekends are a springboard for everything else we do.

Quarterly getaways — mini-trips of two or three days away three or four times a year usually to a city or someplace beautiful that we both enjoy. We’ve taken trips to Key West, Quechee, Vermont, Miami, Columbus and New York City.  These are days to simply be together and refresh ourselves.

As with sacred weekends, our quarterly getaways aren’t jammed with activities. Instead, we focus on each other and just “be” rather than “do.”  This past weekend was a quarterly getaway and we chose to spend it in New York City, which we both love.

We did see the Broadway show “Pippin.” Other than that, we walked a lot, slept in later than usual, shared a couple of meals with close friends, and spent each evening staring out our hotel room window at the Empire State Building!

With all the losses of loved ones in my life recently, our getaway was “a way to get” just what I’ve needed these past few hectic weeks to fill up my depleted tank.

One of the surprising causes of divorce is “misaligned expectations.” As I look back over the years, having sacred weekends and quarterly getaways to look forward to has been an important and powerful expectation for both of us in our relationship.

I love knowing when our next special times together are coming and even more the renewal and connection with Rob that I get from them.

I know many of you have strategies for keeping your own relationships strong and connected.  Please share on the blog your own experiences so that all Women on Fire can dip into this ocean of information to live a more deeply fulfilled life.

Have a great week. I’ll be in Columbus and looking so forward to seeing many of you!