Life Advice



Barton Goldsmith: 5 ways to keep the heart fires burning

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

There are a million ways to show the one you love just how much you care. These actions can make the difference between a mutually supportive and emotionally engaging relationship and a languishing one. The more energy you put into loving, the more love you will get in return. It’s that simple. Here are five ways to keep the heart fires burning.

1. Figure out the new normal together

Right now, almost everything feels new and different. Even doing things again we haven’t experienced in almost two years feels oddly unfamiliar. Experiencing this together bonds you. It is also well documented that couples who do new things together build more of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin. This will help you navigate unfamiliar terrain better and make you a closer couple.

2. Become a better listener

I spent many years in graduate school learning to be a better listener, and it has served me well in my personal as well as professional life. Learning to be a better listener may not come easily, but it’s worth the effort. One of the ways you can show someone you’re listening is by repeating in your own words what someone has just said before you respond with your own thoughts. Your partner will appreciate your efforts.

3. Support each other in this crisis

My wife and I both got vaccinated and received our booster shots, because doing this was good for us and for those around us. Limiting close contact, both socially and professionally, with other people who haven’t been vaccinated also makes us feel safer. If I mention something I need or want, my wife is only too happy to respond to my request, and I always try to do the same. It’s not quite like Whitney and Kevin in "The Bodyguard," but it is kind of romantic.


4. Be a little more flirtatious

A little romance never hurts. Be generous with compliments, communication and flowers or perfume (or cologne) you both like. You can also make your bedroom a relaxing hideaway for two. You will be surprised at how well finding little things that remind your partner of much you love them makes them want you more.

5. Create your new life together

Many things have changed and many people are living life differently, and we are no exception. We are getting ready to build a little guest house to use as a rental and are having fun playing with designs and getting ready for the actual building process. It’s a lot of work, but we have done it before and have learned a few things, so we are not going in blind. Having a teammate for projects like this make them easier — and even enjoyable when you are working in the rain together.

Knowing you are loved by the one you love is wonderful, and feeling your relationship grow is magnificent. Just because we are going through the 21st century plague doesn’t mean we have to stop getting closer and creating a wonderful life with the ones we care about. Use these five ways to keep the heart fires burning, and you will feel the warmth inside you. Enjoy!

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