The Project Love podcast is one of my faves. It’s hosted by Selina Barker and Vicki Pavitt and their passion for love is infectious. We put so much emphasis on the wedding day but what about when the last balloon’s been popped and the honeymoon’s over? I asked them for their advice when it comes to maintaining a happy and healthy marriage (extracted from our special issue which is available to order online while stocks last).
Q. How do you think marriage changes a relationship?
A. While very little changes on the outside when people get married today, over and over again we hear couples tell us that it did change their relationship on the inside. Couples tell us it strengthened their bond and they experienced a sense of family in a way they hadn’t felt before.
Q. What challenges do you think married couples face?
A. Every couple has its own set of challenges but some of the most common challenges can stem from: the desire to control our partner, the need to be ‘right’, the belief that our partner is responsible for making us happy, the expectation that when you love someone, the relationship should be easy and require no effort.
Q. I know you talk a lot in your podcast about self-love. Can you tell us a bit more please? And explain why it’s important in maintaining a healthy relationship/marriage?
A. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. It sets the tone for all your relationships, from your romantic relationship to your friendships. And yet it can be so easy to let ourselves slip down in our list of priorities! In the same way that spending quality time with a partner and treating them with love and respect is important in maintaining a long-term relationship/marriage, so is spending quality time with yourself and treating yourself with that same love and respect.
When it comes to sustaining a long-term relationship or marriage, it’s important to remember that no one else has the ability to fill you up with love. Only you. And so a happy and healthy relationship is always found between two people who know how to love themselves.
Q. Let’s talk about sex. I know Victoria Roberts, body image and intimacy coach, has been a guest on your podcast. What were your takeaways from her when it comes to maintaining intimacy in a long-term relationship?
A. That, just like in the rest of the relationship, communication is key. You both need to be open and honest about what turns you on. You need to experiment and play and remember that it is all about pleasure and not a performance.
Q. I know you recently did a panel event where you talked to three married couples about how they kept love flowing. What were the common threads?
A. Each couple had totally different tools and techniques for making love last, from playing backgammon together every day, to never going to bed angry with one another, to making the bedroom a phone-free zone. But the one common thread amongst all the couples on the panel, and all the couples we’ve interviewed about what it takes to make love last is COMMUNICATION. Open, honest communication. It’s not always easy but every couple agreed that it was essential for keeping the love alive and their bond strong.