RED Spot: Spicing Up The Romance by Chidi and Victor Akunna
RED Spot: Spicing Up The Romance
“I love him so much, but I can’t stand him”, “I love her so much, but I don’t feel like a ‘man’ around her”. As relationship coaches, we sometimes hear couples complain along these lines. Often times, they are too embarrassed to voice their thoughts because of the seeming paradox. The belief is often, if we love each other, all the problems and issues would go away. Love will take away his character flaws, her nagging problems, the body odour, cheating tendencies, etc. Hence, when these do not happen, we assume that something is wrong with our relationship or marriage. The truth about relationships and marriage is that loving your spouse is one thing, but having what it takes to sustain and nurture that love is another. LOVE is not enough to build a happy relationship and marriage! We all need specific knowledge and skill set. Don’t get us wrong, love is very important, getting married to someone you don’t love is like trying to swim against the ocean’s current, it is incredibly challenging.
Love is like the oil that lubricates the relationship and marriage, it makes forgiveness easier and decision-making faster, strengthens intimacy and minimises conflict between spouses. However, there are some information we need to accept and internalize in order to enjoy a romantic marriage. When people meet for the first time, get to know each other, fall in love and get married, their brains secrete hormones. An example is Oxytocin which is secreted when you kiss, hug and have intimate interactions with a loved one, helping to facilitate intimacy and a strong bond. However, to sustain this bond, spouses must learn to become a better version of themselves. Every marriage is unique because what decides our experiences are the beliefs, behaviour and actions of the individuals involved. Hence, to have a better marriage, we must become better spouses. Discussed below are tips that can facilitate this:
Stereotypes: One of the things we must review is our stereotype about marriage, relationships and the opposite sex. These are often stored in our memories and are often called up during conflict. They are the goggle through which we view our relationships and marriages, they determine how we approach marital issues – as dead-ends or as opportunities for greater intimacy. Hence, the following questions – what is your point of reference? Where did you learn about people, relationship and marriage? When you hear comments like, “people are evil”, “women are gold-diggers”, “men are cheats”, etc., these are strong stereotypes often rooted in the world views of their proponents, influencing and predetermining the outcomes of their love interactions.
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Gender Needs: Spouses must learn that the same way they have needs is the same way their partners have needs as well. These needs generally vary from one gender to the other. Generally speaking, men value respect (admiration), sex, recreational companionship, a spouse who goes out of her way to look beautiful, a peaceful and quiet home, etc. On the other hand, women value open and detailed communication (not headline-kind-of-talk), financial security, unconditional affection (that must be affirmed daily), a good and responsible father, etc. Now, understanding and meeting these needs would build positive emotions and memories between spouses which would boost marital intimacy. Ignoring them would unleash an avalanche of complex issues that may end up drowning them as a couple.
Love language: One of our basic human needs is communication, which is often done through languages, such as sign language, body language, spoken words and love language. For the purpose of this write-up, we would only focus on love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, love language is our way of giving and receiving love. These are things we do anytime we want to communicate how much we love our spouses. These include Gifts (giving them gifts), Acts of service (doing things for them e.g. shopping); Words of Affirmation (speaking of encouragement, appreciation and affirmation); Quality time (giving your undivided attention without the interference of the telly or phones); and Physical Touch (holding hands, kissing, embracing, hugs, etc). An important point to note here is this: you may exhibit many of the above, but there are often primary ones, the ones which resonate with you the most. Finally, you must appreciate the fact that your spouse’s love language may be different from yours, hence trying to love them your way may not produce the required outcome or response.
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Don’t leave your marriage to chance, do all you can to make it work. “Romancentric couples pursue each other; they are deliberate about working out their marriages, because the only marriage we get by chance is a boring one.” Victor Akunna
Chidi and Victor Akunna are leading voices on marital romance; writers of many published articles and books. They operate on different social media platforms where they coach and counsel singles and couples on building successful relationships and marital romance. They facilitate “Romance Masterclass” – a coaching programme, “Lite the FIRE” workshop – a couples’ romance makeover intervention and “Romance TV” on YouTube – a platform for sharing proven principles for love and romance. Together, they write “Connected Hearts” – a leading daily devotional on spicing up marital romance and strengthening families. Other avenues include “The Ideal Man” with Victor Akunna on Twitter (@familyaffairs05) and Hang Out with Chidi Akunna on Twitter as well (@chidi_akunna). They have published a few books; Spicy Romance, Bedroom Makeover Plus, Dynamics of Marriage and Health and Wealth Acceleration.
They also oversee the operations of Foundation for Family Affairs – a charity focused on strengthening families around the globe.