“Practice random beauty and senseless acts of love.” ~Unknown
We can grow comfortable in our romantic relationships.
In the first six months to a year, it’s all excitement and an adrenaline rush at the mere fantasy of skin touching, but after two years you really do have to work to keep the romance.
Life can get a little routine and formulaic. You do certain things on certain nights of the week, together or apart. The love is still there, but the accelerated heart rate, weak-at-knees sensation, and feeling that your heart might explode with passion have noticeably decreased.
I recently detected this happening in my own relationship, but I’ve decided to treat it as a milestone—a positive marker for the point at which we genuinely started to work to make our relationship work.
The moment our relationship developed from a clueless hormone-loaded teenager to a fully grown, responsible adult.
Scientifically speaking, it is supposed to be physically impossible to maintain that first intensity of feeling that is experienced at the beginning of the relationship, and I do agree that it’s not sustainable permanently.
If we spent our whole lives in that state we would probably find we got very little else done, and almost certainly couldn’t survive for the period of a lifetime before we died from an adrenaline overdose.
However, there is a difference between a relationship maturing with two individuals growing comfortable with each other, and no longer making the effort to do things that make your partner’s fingers tingle and heart swell.
Here are a few simple ways to keep that flash of young love in your relationship:
1. Don’t stop listening.
There is a point at the start of a relationship where you hang on to every word they say. You just can’t get enough. You’re desperate to understand their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on even the most mundane things.
Each bit of extra information unravels more of this new person that you are treating like a gift to yourself, giddy with the prospect of more to love and lust after.
I’m not suggesting that you artificially re-enact this experience if you don’t feel like it all the time, but create time for listening.
Make your partner aware of the times that you need to be by yourself or in your own head so that they know when it’s a good time to have that long discussion and get your opinion. Create time to listen to them properly so that you can be attentive and present.
If you need thirty minutes after work to yourself, that’s fine. Maybe your listening time is over dinner, or while you’re doing the dishes, or before you go to bed.
Whatever it is, don’t stop listening. Listening is one of the ways that we show others that we value them and that they are attractive and interesting to us. If we don’t do this, it might send conflicting messages.
2. A little surprise goes a long way.
One of the first things to go in long-term relationships is the element of surprise. You get into a routine, and you no longer arbitrarily decide to take her away for a weekend or buy him a gift just because you felt like it.
Perhaps you do still buy ‘gifts,’ but it’s an extra pair of socks when you were at the supermarket because you noticed all his socks have holes rather than the cute or hilarious trinkets you used to buy at the start of your relationship.
The bouquets of flowers and turning up at lunch breaks with a picnic basket are gone, and you are less willing to make a fool of yourself to make the other person laugh or smile.
Put yourself in your partner’s shoes for a few minutes once a month and ask yourself what would be a lovely surprise for them. It doesn’t have to be anything huge—just something considerate that would be appreciated.
Although it sounds like an oxymoron, planning more surprises can initiate those weak-at-the-knees passionate feelings that you felt in the earlier stage of your relationship.
Plan the surprises that were more spontaneous before and you may re-experience that love rush. You might even develop your ability to be spontaneously romantic again.
3. Do the things that don’t matter to you but matter to them.
At the beginning of a relationship it can seem easy enough to do the dishes straight away after a meal if it buys you brownie points and more affection. But it’s harder when you’re comfortable in the relationship, don’t really feel like it, and can’t understand what all the fuss is about.
Maybe the phobia or habit that was cute and quirky a year ago now seems annoying and irritating when you always have to get rid of the spider/take the trash out. Perhaps you don’t understand why your partner needs some downtime by themselves and wish they were more like you in wanting to share thoughts and feelings as soon as they get home.
If it’s something that doesn’t make sense to you but is important to them and would only take a little bit of time, do it. In a mature relationship, passion can be shown by genuinely understanding and responding to your partner’s needs.
Not responding to these can send the message that you aren’t interested in what’s important to them, and it indirectly suggests you aren’t interested in them.
I have found these points really helpful in my relationship, so I hope they are to you. Having brought up the subject and talked about it with my partner, we are both now trying to surprise each other, listen more, and find ways to be romantic and affection toward each other.
There are many more ways you can re-light the spark in your relationship. I’m still finding more. Look at it as a lifelong adventure!
The most important thing is to give it time in your own head and to prioritize your relationship so that you keep working on it regularly, like you would with any priority in your work life. Then hopefully you can be grow old together but still maintain that flicker of passion in your hearts.
Raion Seishin is a Relationship Expert and Counselor, and is currently accepting new clients. Contact him via Facebook for more info.