Keep The Spark in Your Relationship
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.
Gaining Trust With Your Partner
Trust is really built in a million small ways every day, "small things often:. When partners make it a habit of paying attention in small, everyday situations, they build trust.
Dr. John Gottman suggests the following as ways to build that trust:
Cooking for your partner. (Bonus points if you cook their favorite! This shows attention, care, and nurturing.)
Taking care of them when they're sick. (We all want nurturance when we're sick. Usually we need support when we're sick, so this is a great time to enhance that trust, "I can depend on you".)
Listen to them. (Listening attentively is so valuable. We all want to be heard.)
Doing something kind for your partner's friends or family. (It's great if I can depend on you, but if my family can too? Wow!)
Do errands for your partner. (Especially if asked! Not doing what you've agreed to will smash your trust.)
Take a look at the hundreds of ways your partner reaches out to you daily, asking, in effect, "Are you there for me?" Make sure you're responding in a dependable way when your partner does. Trust is built upon these tiny building blocks.
Be sure to offer appreciation to your partner for the little things they do for you too!