How to keep the spark in your relationship? 3 Major tips!
How to keep the spark in your relationship? That’s quite a common question we get asked frequently; To keep the fire burning you need to take care of it – place the trees in the right place, add combustibles and ventilate the flame. Dealing with attention to fire prevents it from turning off and keeps it “alive.” Much like lighting a fire, this is the secret to keeping the spark in your relationship!
The excitement that accompanies a new relationship causes us to be fascinated by our spouses. We can spend hours looking at them, feeling the need to be close to them all the time, and experiencing impulses to buy them gifts or write them love words. In other words, in a new relationship we are highly motivated to pay attention to and nurture the relationship. Indeed, intimacy and passion increase significantly in these first months – but what happens when a relationship lasts for a long time and becomes an unexciting routine?
“I’m not as in love as I used to be”
There is a wrong and common assumption that we stop being in love at some point in a relationship. That is, something out of our control happens in the relationship and begins to extinguish the flame that burned in us earlier. When this happens, people tend to say that “they just don’t feel the way they used to.” Often, they even blame the lack of passion for something they or their partner did.
However, scientific studies show that brain-related areas that we feel at the beginning of a relationship can remain active even after 20 years of dating. That is, passion does not just die by itself. The truth is, in a long-term relationship, you need intention, energy and constant work to keep the love alive – but it is possible.
When the sense of novelty fades, we may become accustomed to the presence of our spouse so it is easy to take it for granted. The time you once spent thinking about him or looking into his eyes for a long time is now full of the stresses of life and everyday life. This is a natural development of difficult and in fact it is quite necessary in order to maintain a healthy and functioning relationship. But nonetheless, the problem of fading passion begins when we forget the law of conserving the flame: it must be addressed and treated so that it does not go out!
How can a relationship be nurtured to keep it thriving?
As part of researcher John Guttman’s groundbreaking research, married couples were videotaped in a lab. Guttman found that the future of marriage lay in the couple’s responses to “requests for connection,” those small moments when one spouse was trying to get the other’s attention. These moments can be asking a question like “Did you read the paper today?”, Mentioning something to start a conversation like “Wow, that cloud can look like Donald Trump’s head!”, Or even a physical attempt to initiate intimacy like trying to hold hands.
The couples who participated in the study and later in the follow-up period divorced or reported an unhappy marriage, responded to the connection requests from their spouses in only 33% of the cases, and ignored them the rest of the time. In contrast, couples who reported that they continued in a happy and fulfilling marriage, during the filming, responded to the connection requests 86% of the time. That is, this study shows that maintaining the spark involves responding to our spouses with affection and attention on a daily basis and striving to create a connection.
So some little tips for preserving the spark
Reply to “Connection Requests”
When your partner is trying to make contact with you, no matter how marginal and small this experience is, try to respond with concentration and interest. If your partner says, “It was a nightmare at work today,” try to listen and show him that you really care by asking questions about what happened and how he feels now. Try to empathize with his feelings, and offer comfort and encouragement. Over time, if we do not respond to such requests, the partner may feel invisible and unimportant, which creates distance and dulls the passion between you.
Invest your most attention – even through mindfulness!
Passion fades when we get used to our spouses, and stop treating them in a special way. Therefore, give your partner full attention when you talk to him or perform activities together. Life is full of distractions, but remember that spending real time with your partner can provide you with a respite from all this hustle and bustle.
To maximize this effect, try to practice mindful listening. In order to practice this, try to listen carefully to each word of the partner, and to his body language. If another thought passes through your head, let it pass, and try to return the focus to your partner and the present moment with him.
Such listening encourages your partner to open up, and allows you to produce a flowing conversation. In addition, it can help you avoid prejudices and habits that you attribute to your partner, and really listen to the content of his or her things without falling into judgment based on past experience.
Be curious to learn something new about your spouse
The routine and repetitiveness of daily life leads us to start thinking we know everything about our spouses. However, there is a great mystery behind the way your spouse thinks, feels and experiences the world, which you are not yet familiar with, even if you have been living together for 20 years.
Take time to ask questions about the past, feelings and ideas, in order to open new doors that you are not yet familiar with with your partner. You can even think of a topic you have not yet had time to talk about and ask your spouse’s opinion on the topic.
Like remnants of coals and ashes, there are relationships that cool down and fade over time. However, the fate of your relationship is in your hands. You have the power to keep the flame burning. If you cultivate your relationship with a lot of attention, you can even bring back the spark and stop wondering how to keep the spark in your relationship.