Some believe that romance should just come naturally, and if the closeness between the two of you starts to fade something is wrong. Nothing can be further from the truth. Keeping love alive requires time, awareness, attention and the knowledge of some simple steps to take. This article offers information, guidelines and exercises so that the sparks can keep flying and the bond between the two of you can grow stronger. It is based upon Dr. Shoshanna’s best seller, Save Your Relationship.
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Some believe that romance should just come naturally, and if it doesn’t, or if the original closeness that existed in a relationship starts to subside, it means that something is wrong. Nothing is further from the truth. Keeping love alive requires time, attention and the willingness to keep things fresh and learn how to constantly reconnect. Here are some steps that will help us reconnect with our partners, and keep the love alive.
Step 1: Give up dead routines
After the initial excitement of being together is over, many fall into a routine and begin taking one another for granted. They assume they know what their partner is feeling, that it doesn’t matter if they come late for a date, don’t look as good as they used to, or decide to spend more and more time out with friends. However, it is crucial to realize that there are many small ways in which we sabotage relationships. Unless two people feel cared for and valued by one another, it is easy for the feelings of love to fade away.
Break into routines. Snap out of ruts. Take time to plan exciting, romantic, delicious times to spend together. Even if it’s just for a little while. Dedicate time to the relationship that nothing can interrupt. This is a sacred time for the two of you, and during it do what makes both of you feel most fulfilled.
Step 2: Take Charge of How You Perceive Your Partner Each Day
The good feelings between partners are often heightened by the way in which they view one another. Do you view him as a hero? Someone you can look up to and respect? Or are you mostly dwelling upon his/her faults? After a relationship has gone on for a while it is easy to begin to view one another as ordinary. This is a sure-fire technique for putting out any fire that might exist. Remember, when you first fell in love, you only saw the best about that person and focused on how wonderful they were. If you want to keep the love alive, keep that going consciously.
Here are two exercises to do to help. Get a personal notebook to record your experiences and feelings in. Read it from time to time. Dedicated a certain time each day to the relationship and what is possible between the two of you.
Exercise A – How You See Your Partner
Take some time and write down a description of how you see your partner. Who is he/she to you now? How do you feel about him? Write this down without censoring your thoughts and feelings.
Then, write down how you saw him when you first met, and how you felt about him then. See how your feelings of closeness are affected by the way you are perceiving the person today. Realize that how you perceive a person is totally within your control. You can have the most beautiful person in front of you, but if you do not see it, it is of no avail.
Consciously view your partner in a way that is similar to the way you did in the beginning. They will feel the effects of this, and begin responding in kind.
Exercise B – Stop Pushing Him/Her Away
There are many, little things we do (consciously and unconsciously) that push our partners away. Many are afraid of intimacy and do a great deal to short circuit it. Take a little while to write down ways in which you push him/her away. This is not to blame yourself, but to become aware of the times when you are not actually inviting closeness, but putting on the brakes.
Now, decide to change the way you behave. Each day take one item on your list (the way you’ve pushed him away) and do the opposite. For example, rather than criticizing him in public, say nice things about him with friends. A few small actions can have huge effects. .
Step 2: Understanding Hidden Expectations
There is nothing that can cause us to disconnect from each other as much as expectations that have been unfulfilled. We all enter relationships with many kinds of expectations and dreams, some we are aware of, others not. There is nothing that causes more disappointment than our expectations which are not being met.
Take a moment to become aware of what you are expecting of your partner. Is it possible for him to fulfill these expectations Does he want the same thing from the relationship?
More often than not, it is our unfulfilled expectations, not the other person, which make us upset. In order to feel close and satisfied in a relationship, a crucial step is making sure your expectations can be met. See how your expectations align with the person you’re with. Also take time to see if anyone can fulfill them? Are these expectations realistic or simply childhood dreams you are still carrying with you?
Exercise C — Letting Him Fulfill Your Dreams
Become aware off which expectations of yours your partner does meet. Now see if you are willing to be satisfied with that. Can you find a way to feel grateful for what you are receiving? Sometimes just deciding that what your partner offers is good enough, can allow the love to re-ignite once again.
Then, let him know that he’s making you happy. Most people have a deep need to know and to hear that they are meaningful to you.
Step 6: Re-Choose Your Partner
When these steps are taken, you will not only be more connected, but you will be with your partner because there is no other place you want to be. The relationship will not be one of convenience, but one of choice. The actual act of re-choosing our partners, of knowing they are the one’s we want to be with, is the culmination of the reconnecting and romance we’ve found.
Sometimes it is very beautiful to make this process conscious. You can write down and express the ways in which you wish to recommit to your partner, you can write down and express the aspects of them that cause you to feel this way. By doing this on an on-going basis, we not only keep the love and relationship fresh, but we keep ourselves aware of why we are with the person, what our part is in the relationship, and the joy and romance that is possible for us to have forever.