Marriage isn’t an easy endeavor; it’s one of the hardest, yet potentially rewarding, things someone can experience.
‘Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs.’ ~ William Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet
Sometimes, one or both people question whether or not they should stay in the relationship. This sense of inner conflict can feel torturous at times; because though one may not love the other as they used to, there’s often a deeply-felt sense of care and responsibility.
Relatedly, perhaps the most challenging moment comes when the person questions whether they’re still in love. It’s very, very hard because love is what defines marriage and, without it, there’s really no marriage at all.
According to therapist Randi Gunther, in a piece published in Huffington Post:
“By the time they come to me, they have usually struggled with their feelings for a long time, wanting to make absolutely sure they are not prematurely leaving. They’ve tried everything they can do to stay in love with their partner but just can’t seem to bring back the feelings … if they’re going to cause pain and sorrow to someone they once loved, maybe they should question themselves before giving up.” (Emphasis mine.)
Before delving further into this admittedly tough scenario, please remember this: if you’re the one who fears that you’re falling out of love, do not blame yourself. Dr. Gunther agrees: “Your feelings did not change overnight, and you might even have not realized it was happening.”
Every relationship, no matter how strong, includes phases of self-doubt, self-questioning, and passivity. If, deep down, you believe that you still love your husband or wife (or boyfriend/girlfriend) there are things you can do to rediscover your love bond.
Here are 10 ways to fall in love again:
1. Make The Choice
Nothing else on this list will matter if you aren’t committed to change. If you want to work towards what you once had as a couple, then there’s a good chance at making things work. On the other hand, if putting forth the effort required sounds more arduous than potentially rewarding, it may be time to consider other options.
2. Apologize If Needed
It’s common for one or both people in a hard relationship to become cold and distant. Though it may feel more comfortable and safer to ignore rather than resolve problems, this isn’t an option when trying to work things out. So apologize for the past and move forward!
3. Appreciate The Small Things
In today’s world, most of us experience frenzy and overwhelm. Add in any one of the countless numbers of distractions (technology!) – and there’s little wonder as to why we, at times, lack mindfulness. Pay attention to the details of your partner – their appearance, body language, mannerisms, and so on. Try to appreciate the little things.
4. Look For The Positive
Evolution has left us with a negativity bias, or “the notion that … things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on one’s psychological state (than) neutral or positive things.” In other words, we’ll slowly begin paying more attention to the negative things our partner says or does. Look for and accentuate the positive things too!
5. Put Them First
Time moves on and relationships evolve. The place in your heart and mind once reserved for your love is impeded by something else (work, kids, etc.) Sound familiar? It should, as this appears to be the norm nowadays. During this time of transition, it is necessary for you to put them first to make things work again.
6. Set Date Nights
You’ll probably never be able to entirely escape the hurry of everyday life; which is precisely why date nights with your love are so important. Alone time doing something enjoyable allows you to both recharge and reconnect as a pair.
7. Disconnect the Tech
Get off of the damn smartphone/computer/tablet/phablet/Smart TV. Seriously, shut it down for an hour or two (try 24-48 hours; it’s great, really!) Technology is by far the most significant distraction in relationships.
8. Stop Being So Sensitive
If you’ve lived through any serious relationship for an extended period, the odds are that you’re quite attuned to disparities in the sense of humor, quirky mannerisms, and other things that can test your temper. Regardless, it may be time to toughen up a little and stop being so touchy-feely.
9. Practice Active Listening
Here’s another one where many couples (and people in general) experience their fair share of difficulty: paying 100 percent attention to a person when they’re talking – or active listening. Active listening is perhaps the most vital relationship component; especially when you’re trying to mend fences.
10. Start Dwelling on the ‘Do’s’
Here’s the negativity bias rearing its ugly head again. There are probably a few things that your wife or husband ‘doesn’t do.’ Here’s a question: When is the last time you’ve sat down and thought about what they DO for you? Try to override your innate biases once in a while – and appreciate the things your man or woman does for ya!