How do you prevent romantic love from dwindling over time? Is it possible to keep the butterflies we once had in the beginning of the relationship?
It’s all too common that a relationship will, after an indiscriminate amount of time, go from passion and fireworks to careening down a slippery slope of ho-hum and complacency. Unfortunately, for many marriages, this is an easy trap to fall into. One day you fall asleep next to your lover and the next, you wake up next to your roommate. It happens so subtly you don’t even realize it’s happening.
In Susan Piver’s book, “The Four Noble Truths of Love,” she talks about life and love stating that we can’t live on Planet Passion. She recommends we travel there often and spend as much time as we can there, but we can’t live there. Life can be messy and even great relationships have challenges at different times.
Whether you’re married or in a long-term relationship how do you ensure that you experience adequate and frequent passion in your relationship? I have some tips that are essential to maintaining an amazing, healthy relationship that stands the test of time.
Try out the ABCs (Affinity, Balance, and Conversation) for creating a successful relationship.
Affinity for your partner is paramount. Affinity is defined as a spontaneous or natural liking for someone. It is a force between people that causes them to enter into and remain in combination with each other.
To be connected and have passion for someone, at the core, you must really like that person. You must have affinity. The key is to always keep affinity for each other in check. Once affinity is completely lost for each other, it’s very difficult to restore. Not impossible, but challenging.
Balance in a relationship is vitally important. Balance is defined as a physical equilibrium, an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements — mental and emotional steadiness — to bring into harmony or proportion.
Balance is the necessary ingredient that forges individuality within a couple. It’s also a significant ingredient in finding compromise to the challenges faced in any relationship. Two individuals must consciously join together while maintaining their individuality in the name of love.
It’s a wonderful and necessary benefit when you can balance each other out. For example, as stress arises, balance is when your partner realizes the situation and knows what it takes to intervene and help take the pressure off. This is the nature of a symbiotic relationship and a great way to strengthen your bond and generate greater connection and harmony.
The ability to have effective conversations is the most important aspect of any relationship. A healthy conversation is an exchange of sentiments, observations, and ideas.
Conversation is the central core for a couple and dictates the direction of any relationship. When conversation is absent, affinity and balance start to decline to complacency. That leads to the feeling of being stuck in a rut. The element of conversation is the most important element of the ABCs of a fulfilling relationship.
Being able to converse about the most challenging topics is critical to the success of your relationship. Using words that draw you closer together rather than encouraging fight-or-flight is essential. For example, if your partner does something to anger you, your first instinct may be to let them know how they pissed you off. However, this usually results in them defending themselves, fighting back, or walking away from the situation. None of these scenarios are helpful. What if, on the other hand, you shared the root of your anger? ‘When you didn’t show up for me like you promised, it really made me sad. I felt like you don’t care about me or my feelings.’ Words such as this will draw you closer together rather than pushing you further apart.
One final thought: Be sure that you’re having FUN in your life. It’s hard not to be happy when you’re enjoying the ride. Novelty in a relationship is of the utmost importance, so be sure that you’re planning dates nights with each other on a regular basis. Relationship studies have shown time and time again that by replacing the habitual dinner and a movie with a date activity you normally wouldn’t do makes a huge positive impact on your relationship. So get out of your routine and try something new like an art class, spa night at home, dance lessons, indoor or outdoor skydiving… well, you get the idea.
We all know having an amazing relationship takes work but is worth the energy and effort when you’re in good one. My hope is that you and your partner avoid the stuck-in-a-rut syndrome by adding novelty to your dates, practicing the ABCs, and thereby creating an amazing relationship that will last a lifetime.
This story originally appeared on Marriage.com