by Marian Meade
Falling in love is easy…Staying in Love – well, that takes finesse! Who knew?
The world’s best kept secret is that there are special skills required to have a lasting loving marriage. Our society has led us to believe that exceptional marriages happen naturally, like learning how to walk or crawl. Nothing could be further than the truth.
In fact, love needs to be nurtured in order to stay alive. You actually have to do things-the right things- to make it last. My husband Dave and I had no idea about this when we married 28 years ago. That’s why I’m so passionate about promoting great relationships.
Most of us got our education about love relationships from two sources-Hollywood romance movies that focus on glamour and glitz, and our parents- who were often struggling to just to keep things together.
It turns out that every love relationship goes through predictable phases- falling in love, disillusionment, and true love.
When couples fall in love, notice that they’re not doing anything, rather, they are falling – something is being done to them. They get flooded with ‘love potion #9′ – love hormones and experience intense feelings of euphoria, and have boundless energy. They put all their focus on each other, and tune out the rest of the world. It’s such an intoxicating feeling that they think and feel as though they’ve found the answer to all their problems and that they’re going to sail away into the sunset.
Eventually, the chemicals and stardust fade and the couple starts noticing each other’s differences, and annoying habits- like they slurp their soup, they’re always late, don’t understand anything about money….. Suddenly, It seems like they have nothing in common and they figure they’ve made a big mistake. In my and Dave’s case, he suddenly noticed that I was kind of a slob and I noticed that he was bossy. It was such a turn off for both of us.
This phase causes a lot of anxiety for couples. The good news is that this phase is not only healthy, it’s essential. In order to create a deeper, much more intimate relationship, couples need to accept each other as they are, warts and all.
So, how do you get to the true love phase?
- Recognize that falling in love is something that happens to you, but staying in love is an action word, a decision, a choice, an attitude.
- Take 100% responsibility for the results you get in your relationship. Rather than focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, focus on the parsley from between your own teeth.
- Make your relationship a safe place to share thoughts and feelings – even ones you don’t agree with. Be curious about each other.
- Take the time to share your everyday lives with each other – this creates emotional connection- intimacy, otherwise known as ‘in to me you see’ which is the glue that holds relationships together
- Treat your partner like a lover, not a roommate.
- Find out from your partner what it is that they want. What is it that makes them feel loved and cherished and do those things, because we fall in love and stay in love with the people who best meet our needs. And stop doing the things that they don’t like. I really stepped up my tidiness once I realized it was a big deal to Dave, and he became a lot more easygoing.
To have what you want, you need to invest in it- one baby step at a time. Rather than thinking of it as work, think of it as a labor of love, because it truly is.
Marian Meade, Marriage Coach for couples and marriage minded singles, loves helping couples to stay in love. She’ll be at The Ottawa Wedding Show October 18th and 19th to answer your relationship questions. To find out more about Marian go to www.marriagemindedcoaching.com.