Some people enter a relationship hoping they found their soul mate and that they’ll stay in love forever. However, after a few years, that loving feeling tends to fade. The humdrum of daily life sets in, and things begin to get stale. It’s often at this point that couples consider divorce. So, how do you make love last?
In Fall in Love, Stay in Love, Willard F. Harley Jr. says,
Couple after couple explained to me that they didn’t marry each other because they were communicating so clearly or resolving their conflicts effectively or were not fighting with each other. They married because they found each other irresistible — they were in love. But by the time they came to my office, they had lost that feeling of love. Many actually found each other repulsive. And one of the most important reasons that they were communicating so poorly, resolving their conflicts so ineffectively, and fighting so much was that they had lost their feeling of love.
But how exactly do you bring back that loving feeling? Here are a few tips for how to keep the fire alive or reignite a spark that is fading.
1. Make each other feel special
Everyone has a different way of giving and receiving love. Find out what makes your partner feel loved, and do those things. Investing time in making each other feel cared for and special could reap a lifetime of rewards.
In The 5 Love Languages, Gary D. Chapman writes,
There are five emotional love languages — five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics, a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects. The number of ways to express love within a love language is limited only by one’s imagination. The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse … Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe that you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage.
2. Look at each other
The longer couples stay together, the less they look at each other. Take time to really look at your partner and gaze into his or her eyes. Studies have suggested that when couples make extended, uninterrupted eye contact (for at least two minutes), they feel closer and experience more of a connection to each other.
3. Fight fair
Don’t let arguments turn into a blaming match. Humble yourself, and admit when you’re wrong. Also know when to end the argument and come to a compromise. It’s not about who wins or loses. There’s no point in winning a few arguments if you eventually lose your marriage.
“It would be nice if a marriage meant that everyone always got along and never had any disagreements, but that is not how things go down. Whether it is today or 10 years from now, there will be something that starts a fight. Fighting is not necessarily a bad thing when it is done right, when it is fair,” writes Emily Chinnery in Solve Your Marriage Problems Now!
4. Embrace forgiveness
Don’t hold grudges. It will not only make you feel worse but also start to chip away at your relationship. Learn how to let things go so that you can love each other with your whole selves.
“When you know how to forgive, you eliminate excess mental and emotional weight that keeps you stuck in repetitive situations, circumstances, and experiences that are not healthy or productive. The only true way to create a more loving, productive, and fulfilling life is by forgiving the past. Releasing the past restores us to the full energy of the present,” says Iyanla Vanzant in Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything.