Whether you have been married for six months, six years, or sixty years it is normal that some of the “spark” in your relationship might be lost over time. Things are always exciting at the very beginning. As time passes, you get more used to one another and you both may stop trying as hard to make things exciting or memorable. Over the years, I’ve concluded that there are habits of happily partnered couples:
- Accept each others’ changes.
The most successful couples really take note of each other’s changes. Even though there may be similarities they don’t assume their partner is the same person they were 20 years ago. Taking time to know who their partner is at this moment and looking ahead to who they might become secures a truly intimate relationship.
- Fight fairly.
Most couples have disagreements, but successful long term relationships know how to discuss differences without demeaning each other. To build a stronger, more loving relationship then at the end of an argument you should feel stronger and more intimate than you did before you started the argument. Strongest relationships most often have disagreements end with understanding and respect.
- Find new ways to play.
It’s easy to get into a routine when you have been with someone for a while. Life becomes predictable and routine.
According to brain science, new experiences activate our brain’s reward system. This increases feel good chemicals of dopamine and norepinephrine and bring on similar feelings to early romance. Try something new together that you may have been talking about. Whether it is learning a new hobby, starting a new business or helping each live healthier any new enjoyable pursuit can make a couple feel younger and invigorate intimacy.
- Accept challenges of aging.
In strong relationships partners accept the vulnerability that comes with aging. Taking care of one another while dealing with physical challenges of aging and feelings of mortality are part of acceptance. By sharing thoughts on what lies ahead there forges a rock solid belief that their partner will be there no matter what happens helps to forge strength in committed relationships.
- Stay physically and mentally connected.
Couples who still touch, kiss, snuggle and, yes, create an erotic environment over the years keeps romance alive. Granted, things change: Illness, medication and life crises might get in the way of the kind of passionate romance you had years ago. But I have found that the happiest couples are those who have found a way to combat the physical and emotional obstacles and maintain a satisfying and sensual physical relationship.
Staying mentally present is also a key component to staying connected. Ditching the distractions of the television, computer or phone is essential. Spending time engaged and talking is a key to emotional intimacy. If you are used to having distractions as a buffer, spending quality quiet time together might be uncomfortable at first, but do not give up and go back to old habits.
If you need help with reconnecting, contact Dr. Lisa Webb at Body & Mind Consulting at 615-310-1491 or visit bodymindtn.com.