Sparking Passion Losing passion in your relationship isn't unique and it's okay! BY DR. TERRI L ORBUCH
Kaia Lai (www.kaialai.com)
If the passion seems to be gone don't worry, because you can do something about it.
I love my spouse very much but lately, it just seems like our relationship is in a rut. Why do I feel like we don’t have any fun together anymore? Why do I feel like the spark and passion is gone?
Stop for a second and think about when your romantic relationship was new and exciting. Can you recall when you were impressed by anything and everything your partner said or did? Do you remember how you would gaze into your partner’s eyes and talk about your hopes and dreams for the future? It was intoxicating, wasn’t it?
We all crave passion, but sometimes we take it for granted, assuming the intensity and excitement will last forever (after all, it does in romance novels and movies, doesn’t it?). But when passion inevitably declines in your relationship; as you begin to zoom up the career ladder, work late, pay bills and change diapers, you think the same thing everybody else does—that the loss of passion signals trouble in your relationship.
Want the real truth? The passage of time does affect passionate love in romantic relationships, and the decrease in passion can sometimes occur quite quickly. Studies show that most couples are unable to maintain that urgent longing for each other that originally led them to be together. And there is a very logical reason for this. At the beginning of a relationship, passionate love is high because everything is new and stimulating. You are learning interesting and exciting information about your partner every day, which fuels the passion.
Plus, at the early stages of your relationship, you idealized your partner and saw them through "rose-colored glasses." Chances are, you ignored or minimized your partner’s faults or any undesirable information that didn’t flatter your partner. You often hear the phrase "love is blind." Well, in this situation, it is true! She talks during movies? No big deal! He gets crumbs all over the table when he eats? You barely notice! But, as time goes by, you take the rose-colored glasses off and begin to see the imperfections in your special someone. What’s more, the element of surprise is now gone. You know your partner’s food preferences, their political views, and what they like to do on Sunday afternoons. While this information is comforting and increases what is known as companionate love, the love that is characterized by support, intimacy and friendship, it also weakens feelings of passionate love.
The good news is that even though passion has dwindled in your relationship, it can be reignited! Try these simple suggestions to recreate the passion in your relationship:
New Activities. Try some new and novel activities with your partner. For example, you may want to try skiing for the first time or attend a cooking class with your partner. Many couples tell me that they pick a new restaurant or plan a mystery date for their partner. Unique, unexpected activities you share together will spice up your love life and add a romantic flavor to your relationship.
Romantic Getaway. Plan a romantic getaway together—just the two of you. Your mini-vacation should last at least one night. Go somewhere that interests both of you and can create new memories. You don’t have to go far from home, just a place where you can spend some quality time together.
Arousal-Producing Activities. This is my favorite suggestion, but it is not what you are imagining. Do activities together where arousal can get transferred to your private, intimate relationship. For example, go on a roller coaster ride, see a scary movie or exercise together. Studies show these arousal-producing activities increase passionate love; the arousal that is produced will get transferred to your relationship and partner!
Hold hands. Be sure to hold hands to keep romance alive. It is necessary for couples to feel physically bonded, which is important to passionate love. Studies show that people feel better and more connected to their partners when they hold hands, hug, cuddle and kiss.
Terri L. Orbuch (Ph.D.), aka The Love Doctor, is a psychologist, sociologist, Oakland University professor, and research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She has written five relationship books; published over 40 articles about marriage, divorce, parenting, love, and sexuality; and recently released her 3-CD audio set, Relationship CPR: Passion, Trust and Conflict. If you want more information on this topic, or have a question, visit The Love Doctor on her website at www.detroitlovedr.com.