They are staggering statistics: According to studies, up to 50% of first marriages fail, while 67% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.
Falling out of love is an epidemic in our society, but there are cures. The first step is to realize that love isn’t something you fall in or out of. The thing you fall in and out of is called puppy love, which is really just lust. It’s generated by a whole bunch of hormones that act as strong attractants when you first meet your partner. The purpose of these hormones isn’t sexy, although the results are. Their purpose is procreation. This set of hormones generally wears off within the first six months or so in a relationship.
After the initial attraction wears off, you get to decide if love is something that can be nurtured in this young relationship. The problem is that we weren’t taught that love requires care and attention. Instead, we were fed a steady diet of fairy tales that not only have nothing in common with real love, but they actually damage our ability to have a real, happy, loving long term relationship. We don’t understand that long lasting love takes effort. Just like you water your plants, feed your pets, and nurture your children, you must care love in order for it to thrive.
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Here are four ways to stay in love. They can even work to rekindle a love you thought was gone.
4 Tips for Staying in Love With Your Spouse
1. Talk about it! Don’t let a stale relationship become the elephant in the living room, and don’t let small peeves build to major blowouts. Effective, authentic communication goes a long way to keeping love alive. Relationships fail because people don’t talk through their peeves with each other: Studies show that couples who are able to disagree and voice complaints productively have greater marital satisfaction and much lower divorce rates than couples who fight in the traditional way of blaming and shaming each other. One simple tip is to focus on yourself instead of your partner. Use “I” language to reduce blame; for example, try “I feel embarrassed when you talk to me like that” instead of “you make me feel stupid.”
2. Cultivate love. There are 5 love languages, according to author Gary Chapman. These are ways that your partner can let you know he loves you, and vice versa. Figure out what your primary love language is and tell him so that he will know how to show you he loves you. Have him take the quiz too, and then show him in ways he can appreciate and understand. Often, a person shows love for a partner in ways they want love shown to them. If our love languages are different, we each think we’re sending love messages, but our partner can’t decipher the message.
3. Notice the “Best Version” of Your Partner: Dan Savage, syndicated writer of a column titled “Savage Love” suggests that you try to notice the best version of your partner. He believes that long term relationships survive when each partner insists on noticing the best version of their partner, even when their partner isn’t displaying that particular version of themselves. Try this experiment: for one week, do your best to ignore the annoying little traits your partner has. I know it’s not easy; we all want our partner to be perfect, but he’s just as human as you are. Focus your attention on the things you love about him. Compliment him on those things, and ignore the things that irritate you. At the end of the week, notice how you feel about him. I’ll bet you feel more loving toward him.
4. Have more sex. The funny thing about sex is this: the more you have it, the more you want it. Unfortunately it works the other way as well; we can literally get out of the habit of having sex. One of the pieces of homework I often give couples is to have seven days of sex in a row. I tried it with my own relationship first, and it was amazing. Having sex, especially if there are orgasms involved, just makes you happier. Even if you don’t feel loving or close with your partner, try this and see what happens. I’ll bet you feel closer!