As Fall hues begin to change, or at least now recognizing that Pumpkin Spice pours out of every orifice of our society, I can’t help but thing of how many times I have heard a separated couple say, “well, we just fell out of love.”
A common myth in relationships is that people “fall in love.” It is as if affection, devotion, connection, and mutual good will is something someone simply fortuitously trips on or stumbles into. This may be more true with instances of chance introduction, recognition of attraction with a new person, unplanned bonding and connection, or sparks of hopes for a previously unknown future dream we now dream of. This seems to imply that there is no personal responsibility in maintaining the relationship, as it was something that was chanced upon or fated to be.
Love in relationships, on the other hand, is a daily choice that takes years, nay decades, to begin to understand. Falling out of love, also, is not an event that occurs, but a process that develops over months or years.
So, if you once “fell in love,” how do you stay “fallen in love?”
(a few points, but not a full accounting)
Top 10 Ways to Not “Fall Out” of Love:
- Pay attention:
Practice non-judgmental active listening.
Learn how to Respond rather than simply Reacting. Don’t fight, launch attacks, or intentionally hurt the other –take personal responsibility when you do, ask for forgiveness and reconnect.
- Respect each other:
Take personal responsibility for you both maintaining mutual respect. Without mutual respect, the couple is not engaging in true relationship.
- Appreciate each other:
Daily recount the good things you appreciate about your spouse.
- Spend Time:
Spend no less than 10 minutes connecting with your spouse daily.
- Have Fun:
Have Date Nights that aren’t focused on kids or household functions
- Don’t Blame:
Catch yourself self-victimizing and/or blaming other or yourself, and find proactive ways to address needs
- Forgive and strive to maintain mutual good will:
Do not harbor resentments, ill will, or contempt, as the other no longer can participate in resentments.
- Focus on each other’s needs:
Recognize your own needs, the needs of your spouse, and work together to address these as much as possible.
Most importantly… Choose, every day, to be and stay in this relationship.
If you, your partner, or you both struggle with any of these, it might be time to do a couples check-up. Schedule an appointment, or find a good couples therapist near you.
Don’t wait until you recognize that you have “fallen out of love,” to address what is already moving towards disconnection, rather than deeper connection.