The Unsexy Art of Relationship Maintenance

The Unsexy Art of Relationship MaintenanceYou’ve read those relationship articles, right? The ones featured in magazines in checkout lines? They’re always about passion or keeping the spark alive or making your relationship magical.

Would you like to know the truth about those articles?

Sometimes they have good advice. Really.

Yes, you may have to sift through some cheesy examples, and sometimes the headlines are just ridiculous, but more often than you’d think the content isn’t bad.

But there is a problem with those articles. They often paint an incomplete picture.

They’ll tell you about the fun side of building your relationship. Things like how to buy your guy little gifts or what you can do to feel sexy around him. Basically, the easy advice.

But the hard stuff? Forget about it. You won’t find that kind of advice in those articles very often at all.

People don’t buy magazines in the checkout line because they want to be challenged to grow.

But you’re reading this because you do want growth—for yourself and for your relationship. I want to honor that, so I’ll tell you the truth you won’t get from those magazine articles.


Real relationship maintenance isn’t sexy. It’s work.

Keeping your romance in a good place takes persistence. And while that may not be sexy, persistent maintenance is what enables intimacy.

That’s why it matters.

Are you ready to give your relationship a maintenance check-up? I can show you how. This is the unsexy side of romance—but it’s so worth it.

The Big Concept

The idea of relationship maintenance isn’t new. Psychologists have been studying it for years. Most of their findings have come back to one concept: communication.

Shocking, right?

But we’re not just talking about good communication habits. Those are important. You need to know how to engage in active listening, how to share how you feel, and how to connect with your guy in meaningful dialogue.

But the real point of communication in a relationship is to build intimacy. We’re talking about soul-mate level connection. That’s way more than good conversation skills.

If you want the kind of communication that leads to true romantic intimacy, you should do these three things.

The Practical Application

1. Foster openness.

Knowing another person at a deep level requires vulnerability. You have to be willing to share your hopes and dreams . . . as well as your fears, quirks and flaws. You can’t have deep connection without dropping your guard.

But a word of caution. This is something you work toward, not something you leap into. Don’t casually share your greatest fear on the first date. In fact, don’t force it at all.

As you get to know a guy, everything from your life goals to your insecurities will naturally surface. Just let it happen. Don’t try to hide your “flaws.”

Own them.

2. Nurture positivity.

Hopefully, both of you will choose to be vulnerable and share who you really are. As that happens, make it a point to nurture positivity in an authentic way.

For example, let’s say you struggle with feeling jealous. When it comes up, admit it. Don’t beat yourself up over it or say something like, “I know. I’m not great girlfriend material.” And don’t sugarcoat it, either. (No one is jealous because they “care too much!”)

Instead, fess up with a positive spin. Like this. “Sometimes I feel jealous. I know that’s not great, but it’s something I’m working on. I’ll try to keep it in check.”

That kind of statement casts you as honest, self-aware and strong.

3. Create assurance.

Assurance is what makes a relationship feel like a safe place. It’s knowing you can have a fight with your guy, but no one is leaving.

Ready for the ironic catch-22 of assurance? You can only create it when things aren’t perfect.

It’s one thing to say you love him, warts and all. It’s another thing to come face-to-face with one of his shortcomings and still accept him and love him in a moment like that.

You can (and should) hold him accountable. If he says something that hurts your feelings, tell him. And when he apologizes, accept his apology and move on.

No passive-aggressive tactics. No pouting. No cold shoulder because you’re nursing a grudge.

That’s how you create assurance. Both of you should know that even if you make a mistake, the relationship is strong enough to handle it.

The Payoff

When you mix solid relationship maintenance with lighthearted fun, something amazing happens. The result is a unique form of intimacy and love.

It won’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t rely on luck. It’s all about doing the work to create that kind of connection.

If you want a fairytale ending, you can have it. You just need to be willing to work for it.

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3 thoughts on “The Unsexy Art of Relationship Maintenance

  1. lubna said:

    hi James
    Im currently in a relationship my boyfriend says that hes my one great love what does this mean? hes been in past relationships before aswell
    thanks for your help thanks

    • James Bauer said:

      Your question represents a great opportunity to enhance the bond you have with your man. No one knows the answer to your question except him.

      Some people feel put on the spot in a negative way if we ask them “What does that mean?” So instead, you might consider something like, “A few days ago you said I am the great love of your life. I liked the sound of that. Tell me more.”

      • CAMia said:

        Except that he didn’t see that she was the great love of his life, rather that “he was her one great love”. Vastly different statement from where I stand. Self-centered, making assumptions and overly confident. I like your response and think it could fit with the adjustment in the wording, and I’ve often been accused of “playing semantics” but this seemed like an error to me.

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