That same effort is required to keep the heat in your relationship.
To keep a fire going, you have to take care of it. You stack the logs and starter, blow on the fire and get it going good. Now to keep it going, you have to mind it and guard it from going out. That same effort is required to keep the heat in your relationship.
When we first begin a romance, there's that obsessiveness that compels us to notice every small detail and compels us to attune to them. This is why our connection is so intense during the early part of a relationship. This level of intensity is not sustainable, however, so it must cool!
Once the fire starts to cool, we sometimes believe it's something out of our control that's at work. It's a common belief that passion naturally fades over time. People lose interest, they "fall out of love". The truth, though, is that passion doesn't die out; it can be enhanced.
It does take work, though! A long term relationship requires time, energy, and intention to keep love alive. The initial excitement fades amidst the business and stresses of life, work, and family.
What does it take to keep those embers glowing strong? There is research that shows us what behaviors enhance strong and happy relationships. The biggest factor in common with happy, loving relationships is how they handle "bids for attention". This is a concept developed by John Gottman. It refers to our many daily attempts at connection with our partner. This could be as simple as a comment, a touch, a question. Every time our partner turns to us, we have an opportunity to respond positively. So focusing on these "bids" is the best way to keep that spark alive.
Not responding makes your partner feel unimportant and unsafe. It also creates feelings of distrust. If I can't trust you in these little ways, how can I count on you for the bigger things. A huge passion killer!
Relationships require attention and care to stay vibrant. Treat your partner like the priority they are. Give them your time and attention above all other interests. Make your partner your safe place and be theirs.
Listen to words and body language. Stay interested in your partner. Never stop learning about them. Nothing makes us feel more special than our partner's curiosity about us.
Don't let the spark of your relationship die out into a pile of ashes. It is a responsibility we have to our relationship. Rekindle those flames and your relationship will stay warm and cozy for a long time.