When your sweetheart goes from hottie to having more hair in his nose and ears than on his head, how do you keep the flames of love alive? Don't just take a chance, choose to be in love and plan to stay that way.
There is nothing more amazing than new love. Falling in love is intoxicating. Scientists, at At-Bristol, tell us it is caused by hormones, but we don’t care. All we care about is looking deep into our lover's eyes, laying our head on his shoulders and touching him constantly. These are the days of sunshine and roses.
There is a word for this moment in a relationship. It is limerence, defined by Wikepedia.org in Diana Tennov's book “Love and Limerence,” as, "…an involuntary state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated.”
I describe limerence as intoxicating magic. When I think of new love, I remember how my thoughts of that person consumed my every waking moment. I wondered if he would like what I wore and what he was doing right at that moment. I was completely irrational when thinking about him and his amazing attributes. I become a completely useless friend or employee. Then reality would begin to encroach on my magical kingdom.
As relationships progress, hormones wax and wane and the real world begins to interfere with our romantic moments. We have to go to work and meet our other obligations. We get married to spend more time together and find that in order to pay the bills, we never have enough time together.
While running support groups, I heard the same question repeatedly, “Why can’t we just go back to the way it was in the beginning?” I always answer that question with this question, “Are you the same way you were in the beginning? Do you always speak with love and laugh at all his jokes?" The answer is usually no.
So do we just have to accept the fact that we have moved on and give up on limerence? I don’t believe so. I believe the trick is to do everything we can to keep our love alive, to nurture it when it wanes by feeding it and waiting patiently for the next growing season.
Here are some ideas for keeping the limerence or magic alive in your relationship
Inside jokes, pet names and code words
We are a tech savy world, texting and talking under our desks at work and on the phone constantly. Pet names, inside jokes and code words increase connection and make life fun. When I text my husband xxoo&5# it is not a misprint, it’s a request that makes our evening look like it’s going to be more fun. It keeps us thinking about each other all day.
Keep pictures on your phone, ipad or desk. During the day, set a timer if you have to, and stop and think about your partner.
Plan acts of service
. Little acts of service for others naturally increase our love and connection. They also require us to know our partner and what he likes. For example, if I am going to cook something delicious for my partner, I need to know his favorite foods or what new foods he has tried and liked.
Keep it fun and silly
Laughter and joy connects us. When my sweetheart began going bald, rather than mourn the loss, he and a friend shaved their heads together. It became a party. We laughed so hard, it became one of our favorite memories.
Look deep into each other’s eyes. When we are first in love we can’t take our eyes off each other’s faces. As the relationship progresses, we spend more time side-by-side looking forward. Turn toward each other and really look at your partner’s eyes, face and heart.
The longest weeks become tolerable when you know that date night is coming, even if your date is just going for a walk together. Time alone touching, talking and reconnecting regularly is important.
Take care of yourself
Be the kind of person you want your spouse to be, it’s infectious. If you want surprise gifts, give gifts. If you want romance, be romantic.
Choose words wisely
Words can uplift and inspire or seriously injure our partners. They can be so powerful they are impossible to forget. When problems arise remember to use “I” messages and to avoid put downs. For example, “When you’re late to pick up the kids, it frightens me. I need to feel like I can trust you.” By using an “I” message, you have respectfully shared your feelings and the bigger issues behind the request. Avoid words like, “you always,” or “you never.” They are rarely true.
Make a positive sandwich
Your partner has a lot of positive attributes. When you need him to change something, sandwich the request between two statements about the things he already does well. For example, “You are such a great father. I am surprised when you are late to pick up Jake from soccer because I know how much you love him.”
. Share your wishes and dreams with your spouse. Talking about things you would like to do, or have together is fun and helps you learn how to please each other.
Choose to stay in the Heaven-sent love you found by chance. Create a little limerence in your world. Surprise your partner with new ideas and fun, send little notes or messages and invest in love. I think the return on your investment will surprise you.
Shannon Symonds, Author of Safe House due to be released July 2017 by Cedar Fort, has 15 years experience working as an Advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence while raising 6 children in Seaside Oregon. She loves to write, run and Laugh