Feeding the Flames of Your Partnership

Married and long term partnered couples know that love can heat up and cool off.  If your love isn't flaming hot —but still good enough to stay—how do you keep the flames of love high with your spouse? Here’s some of Bela’s tips on how to feed that fire once again.

1) Be realistic above love.

No matter how long you've been together, you can always spice up your love. You have to “grow up,” and accept that you probably will not get back to that “new,” “electric,” “can’t-stop-thinking about-you” feeling again. The newness of when you just met won't come back in the same way; but, you must realize that what you have now— the security and unconditional love of a committed partner—beats electricity any day. Be grateful for it – and don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not ‘in love’ because the newness has dissipated!

2) Get rid of resentment.

As we live together, it's natural that two humans will disagree and have different values & ways of doing things.  If you get incensed that your husband leaves his socks at the door every night, or you’re irritated because you feel like your wife doesn’t initiate sex anymore, those negative feelings can take on a life of their own. The best thing to do is to take a hard look at the complaints you have about your partner, and then take a harder look in the mirror.  This is actually YOUR problem, not theirs. Expecting your partner to always do what you want is a  sure-fire recipe for fights and failures. To get some excitement back, you first you have to get over your resentments and learn to accept your partner as they are.

3) 30 Second Hugs - Bring the touch back!

When you're first dating someone new, we look for ways to be in as much physical contact with that person as possible! To 'bring back that lovin' feeling', you need to make a concerted effort to bring some affection back to the game. 30 second hugs are my favorite. It really brings you closer together - and if someone is sad or has had a bad day—it works wonders at making them feel better. Longer hugs spark oxytocin, the attachment hormone!  Your sparks may start to fly after that 30 second hug; and, if you're daring, try two per day :)

4) Go against the grain.

The longer you're with the same person, the more likely you are to focus on the 'not-as-nice' parts of your spouse, rather than the traits you found adorable when you first fell for him—it's part of the ‘negativity bias’ of human nature. A foolproof remedy is to actively work to change your mindset and look for what is good. It's not always easy, and requires work.  Commit to saying at least two nice things to each other per day. Watch the sweet grin on your partner’s face when you say something nice about her!

5) Like your mama said, be nice!

This is hard to do - especially when your partner pushes your buttons.  An easy tip is this: make a list of the things that irritate you most about each other, and accept that this is part of your package!  Everyone has their flaws. Then, for each of the items on the list, have a plan to respond with kindness (or even neutrality) instead of venom.  This will go a long way towards making your partner feel loved, valued, and important.