It seems the world over, couples are wanting their love for their spouse to return.
What is happening that so many couples are falling out of love?
Could it be we expect too much? Do we think marriage is about living in a constant state of extreme passion and euphoria? Are we wanting our spouse to solve all our problems, fulfill all our dreams, and be the perfect man or woman?
Or maybe we forget that our marriage is only as successful as the couple makes it.
Perhaps we don't feel love because we have stopped loving?
In a culture that often portrays a successful person as one who has the most brilliant and/or beautiful spouse, with the perfect relationship, is in perfect health, looks fabulous at any age, and has a wild, exotic sex life, it is difficult, yet extremely important to step back and look at what life and relationships are truly about.
Marriage is much more than living in a state of constant bliss with a perfect spouse. It is about two people caring and loving each other, sharing their lives together, and helping each other to grow, develop, and express their most wonderful self.
A beautiful marriage is something to create not something that is bestowed onto a couple from on high or out of nowhere.
Soul mates are not found, they are created as a couple grows together, overcoming challenges, working together to bring forth the beauty in each other.
The wild and crazy, out of control, initial euphoria of a relationship does not last forever. Typically this stage of a relationship lasts about one to two years. This early attraction phase, while extraordinarily powerful is not deep and connected love, it is a temporary feeling that evolved in the human to bring people together so they could mate. The emotions required to create a long term relationship are softer, more comfortable, but brilliantly essential for a life time commitment.
For those who are struggling with their relationship, wondering what to do about their loss of love for their partner, let me address five important points to contemplate, then I will give five essential things to do to feel loving once again.
Five important points to contemplate:
First you have to decide if you are willing to do the work to restore the love for your partner. If not, then don't remain in a relationship out of pity which of course is extraordinarily demeaning and degrading to another human being.
If you remain in a relationship when you do not love your partner, and have no desire to restore that love, you are holding your spouse back from finding another partner who will truly love him or her. You owe it to your partner to release them from such an unfortunate relationship.
Secondly, no relationship is perfectly peaceful and fulfilling 100 percent of the time. Relationships are not like a stagnant pond, they are more like the ocean with times of beautiful calm and times of raging waves. While we sometimes have this image that once a couple is married they life happily ever after, this expectation can often set a couple up for disappointment, even anger and sorrow.
A healthy relationship is one where the couple is deeply committed to each other, where they are determined to work through the rough times always with the understanding and expectation that the relationship will continue to become strong and fulfilling.
Third, while we want relationships to be fulfilling and wonderful, it is often true that we can't have everything we want.
This may be controversial so let me explain. If a woman wants a family and children and also wants to become a nun serving in a developing Country, she may have to choose a particular life path. Or, if a man wants to be married and have children and also finds the idea of traveling the world without attachments entreating, he may have to decide which road he will take.
In other words, there are times we have many options and ultimately just have to decide which life dream we want to pursue. Of course it may be that we alter our dreams, or find ways to blend our dreams together, or even spread them over a lifetime, nevertheless, we can't always have everything we want simultaneously.
Forth, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. In fact, there may be no grass at all. The truth is, while there are obviously some situations that are better or worse for each of us, often the degree of happiness we feel is the result of how we approach the situation.
There is a lot of research that demonstates the level of ones happiness or unhappiness is independent of their situation.
Fifth, don't be lured by the false notion that relationships are always fabulously exhilarating. While the idea of a perfect partner is enticing, we all know that reality is not quite so easy or simple.
Deep love may exhibit itself in many ways, sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. For example, sexual intimacy, compassion, care, enjoyment, respect, connection, passion, fun, etc., may all be there at times but at other times one or two may be at the fore. This is how relationships are.
Now, if you decide that the relationship is valuable enough to restore, there are some very specific behaviors you can to do to intensify the love...
1. Focusing on the positive aspects of your partner creates brain chemistry that feels good helps us actually see the other in a bright light. This doesn't mean you ignore harmful behavior, it just means that you look for the good and hold in your mind and heart that which is great about your partner. What do you love? What is fabulous? What are the really amazing traits of your spouse?
2. Engaging in stimulating and high energy activities as a couple actually creates chemicals in your brain that bond you to your partner. I have written about this research in several earlier articles. Basically, a vibrant and passionate marriage requires that we do not get into a rut.
3. Do everything you can to bring happiness to your partner. I have previously posted several articles about this as well. While we tend to think that a person to whom we give will appreciate and love us more, the truth is the more we give the more we love our partner. This is a vitally important key to restoring love.
4. Reawakening your love is not something that magically happens. True love is something that is created. Too often people think the love disappears and there is nothing they can do about it. Wrong. Love can come back if the work is done. Do not for one minute think love will just happen, it requires nurturing and nourishing.
5. Give the best you have to the relationship. As we get comfortable in a relationship it is easy to be lazy and forget that a relationship takes great care and investment. The more you live in your highest light, the more your relationship will blossom. The more you bring your personal gifts, talents, spirit, and energy to the partnership, the more love will fill your relationship.
To sum it all up, if you do not want to make your relationship work, you owe it to your partner to move on so they can be loved in a healthy and happy relationship.
If you want to make the relationship come alive, you must commit your heart and then do the work that will once again help you feel love for your partner.
If one is undecided, whether to remain in a relationship or not, I offer the idea to do all you can to make the relationship as fabulous as you can. Make the commitment for a few months and see how the love blossoms. If after a time your best effort is not enough, then contemplate another choice.
My best wishes to all those wanting to reignite that spark!
This post is my heartfelt response to the several comments and emails I have received over the past couple of weeks. My thoughts are with you!