- Increase the positive emotions and interactions with your partner.
According to Dr. John Gottman, a pioneer in relationship therapy, this is one of the single most important factors that make relationships last. Research by Gottman found that in happy and stable marriages, the ratio of positive to negative emotion in conflict was 5 to 1, in other words for every negative interaction there were 5 more positive ones. For example, if you have been critical or defensive you need to balance that with empathy, acceptance, respect, affection and laughter.
- Be aware of the roles you play that might kill off desire for your partner such as the Parent – Child dynamic.
If you find yourself taking on the responsible parent or helpless child role in your relationship, this might be a repetition of the role you played in your family of origin. When one person plays one role it forces the other into the opposite role. Playing these roles can kill romance.
- Increase the playfulness in your relationship
Sometimes you have to plan to be spontaneous. Activities like flirting, dancing, creative games and laughter will increase the love and intimacy you share.
- Let go of Criticism.
Conflict is inevitable in long term relationships. When one partner is critical of the other it usually leads to defensiveness in the person criticised. This criticism- defensiveness dynamic often causes relationship breakdown, especially when it escalates into contempt and withdrawal and if repair attempts are not successful.
Next time you feel discomfort with your partner’s behaviour firstly ask yourself is this a battle worth fighting. If you feel that it is an important issue then find a way to bring this up without being harsh and critical.
How couples handle and repair conflict is key to keeping the love.
- Learn Love Maps.
Love Maps are another principle developed by Dr Gottman and are a way to get to know your partner better and build a strong friendship. You can build a Love map of your partner by finding out and storing lots of relevant information about them, their goals, dreams, fears, likes and dislikes and significant life experiences. This closer understanding of your partner will forge a stronger connection which can also help you weather future stormy events.
- Express Gratitude
Say Thank you and compliment your partner even when they do things you expect. It will encourage them to do more of it. Show gratitude for who they are as well as for what they do.
- Value your differences.
Everyone has different opinions on things and that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Use this as an opportunity to learn something new about a subject or about your partner. Respecting and valuing each other’s perspectives is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
If you are looking to explore new ways to connect with your partner, book a free 20 Minute consultation to get started.