“I love my spouse, but I’m no longer in love anymore”? These are chilling words that often precede a downward spiral of emotional disconnection, separation and divorce. Alongside are the emotional consequences of disillusionment, anger, heartbreak and broken lives.
Is waning love inevitable in romantic relationships? Do couples that stay together for many years really still love each other, or have they just learned to accept and tolerate being with each other?
In her research study Joanni Sailor discovered that the loss of love in a relationship happens gradually. Bit by bit there is a progressive erosion of the little as well as the big things that connect the couple together. The little things may be as simple as greeting each other and sharing with each other about the events of the day. The big things may include not communicating about major life issues such as financial transactions, or not sharing inner struggles or concerns.
On the other end of the spectrum couples who have been together a long time and who claim that they are happy say that they are really good friends and enjoy each other’s company. In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work John Gottman indicates that these couples are able to work through disagreements. Long-term couples that are happy understand what it means to sacrifice for the benefit of their relationship.
Long-term happy couples still experience excitement, sexual attraction, emotional connection and intense pleasure when they are together. Researchers Acevedo and Aron at Stony Brook University scanned the brains of long married, happy couples and found a spike in activity in the brain’s pleasure center when each spouse focused on the image of their loved one.
What does it take to enjoy a long and rewarding love relationship? Here are four key strategies to help you reverse the feeling that you are no longer in love.
Four Key Strategies
An Adjustment In Your Thinking
When love is new it is passionate, intoxicating and exhilarating; you have a compelling desire to please your spouse. As time goes by, you become more aware of your spouse’s imperfections and you may not feel the desire to love unconditionally. An adjustment in your thinking is necessary to bring about lasting love. Instead of the emotion of love propelling you to exuberantly demonstrate your adoration for your spouse, you now need to deliberately act in loving ways. The choice to act in loving ways helps to reverse the feelings of being no longer in love. Make the effort to show an interest and join your honey in the activities he or she enjoys. Find ways to genuinely show appreciation to your spouse. Make time for sharing fun activities together.
Healthy Communication Skills
When you and your spouse communicate effectively, you experience a powerful feeling of shared understanding. Set aside your agenda for a moment, listening attentively and make every effort to understand your spouse’s point of view. Be respectful as you listen, even if you disagree. Then it’s your turn to appropriately share your thoughts and feelings.
A Bond Of Trust
A deep sense of trust is necessary for you to experience true intimacy and friendship. Both you and your spouse need to make the effort to be honest and trustworthy; this creates a feeling of safety, which makes it easier to open up to each other.
A Willingness To Help Your Spouse Achieve Personal Goals
In a beautiful paradox your union is strengthened when you and your spouse honor each other’s individuality. Encourage and support each other in exploring your individual interests and personal goals. Attend the events that your spouse enjoys and invite him or her to attend yours.
Is it possible to still be in love after being married for many years? The answer is a resounding yes! It takes commitment and intentional choices in order to create and enjoy a fulfilling and loving partnership.
Would you like to learn more about how to create a lasting love relationship? Check out our course 30 Days to Better Love, it’s a step-by-step guide that provides tools and strategies to help you and your partner win at love.
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