Speaking from an American perspective, I think the majority of people want to marry a person who they have fallen in love with. We want to experience true love – with all the butterflies, the goosebumps, the passion, devotion, faithfulness, respect, honesty, trust, … and unfortunately, the majority of people in America find love and lose it – if we look at Divorce statistics. The best time to realize that those original feelings of love have somehow disappeared is before that walk down the aisle. It’s a lot less complicated and painful than later on down the road, especially when children are involved in those divorce proceedings 5, 10, 15, or 20 years past that memorable wedding day.
So what kind of safeguards can we put up to protect our love from being destroyed? How can we preserve that wonderful feeling of love, or – if possible – restore the romance in a marriage that has fallen apart? If you’ve never been married, or have been divorced and want to get it right the second time around, here are some important points to keep in mind if you want to keep your love alive.
The first thing I would suggest is “be compatible”. How many relationships have been harmed because the two people who fell in love with each other were so different from each other. We have so many various backgrounds, experiences, cultures, goals, beliefs, values, political views, personalities, opinions, and personal interests. We may be originally drawn to each other because of the “opposites attract” syndrome or just because we filled a need for each other, but what about later – after we get used to each other, …when we are living everyday of our life with that person because of that original spark of excitement we felt with each other? Being incompatible can chip away at the emotion of love because of the clashes that we begin to have in everyday life. The love can start to slip away without us even realizing it. Then we begin to ask ourselves, “Was I ever really in love”? I think people really can be “in love” and lose love. Yes, we confuse infatuation and lust with love, and can explain it as that later on when the feelings die. But maybe we really were in love, but set ourselves up for possible failure because we weren’t compatible in the first place.
Secondly, I have found that “touch” is very important in protecting the romance. Romance itself could be a one-word synonym for that feeling of love we don’t want to lose. A big part of romance is the physical connection. It’s not just the end result. We’re not just talking about that complete act of intimacy. A couple in love needs to touch all the time. That helps keep the passion alive. No matter where we are, we should always be expressing our love to each other in physical ways. We need to hug, kiss, cuddle, hold hands, sit next to each other in restaurants – all the time, multiple times a day, in every place we are. Forget the mentality, “I don’t like physical displays of affection”. Show your lover off to the world. Show others how to keep the love alive. Don’t be embarrassed! Walk hand – in – hand where ever you are. Kiss in the Check Out stand at the grocery store, or have some spontaneous fun in a corn field. Whenever you see each other again, even after hours, let it be like you have been apart for days, weeks or months. Embrace each other, let your lips meet with a long lasting welcome. Watch a movie hand in hand, arm in arm, or cuddled under a blanket. Always lock eyes on each other and kiss and hug anywhere in the house throughout the day. Make it up as you go along, but keep touching each other. Keep your bodies connected, and that will help keep your hearts connected too.
Next, we will keep our love alive by “treating each other with love”. If we don’t want to lose the “in love” feeling, we have to show each other love as well – by everything we say and by every gesture that we do. Again, our love for each other can start to slip away if we are not supporting each other on a regular basis. We need to say, “I love you” every day, preferably a few times. We need to thank each other for the things that we do. We need to encourage each other. We should always be thinking about things we can say to make our spouse know we care. Our actions are just as important. Help each other with everything. We can have mutual understandings about who does what, but if you know your spouse doesn’t like to do something or doesn’t have time, do it yourself. Help each other when the other is sick or injured. Open car doors for each other. Bring home a box of chocolates or other favorite treat for your lover. If we want to preserve those feelings of love, then we must always be proving our love by what we say and do to each other.
Finally, we must protect our hearts by “not belittling or hurting each other”. If we don’t want our love to die, then we better not kill it. When we say hurtful things to each other and do thoughtless things that affect our spouse, it tears away at those feelings of love we once had.
It’s a wonderful feeling when we first discover a love connection with someone. We don’t want to lose that emotion of love, that passion, that romance. We want it to last for a lifetime. We want it to last forever. But we will pull the plug and lose that connection if we don’t take steps to preserve our love. Start off by weeding out anyone who you aren’t compatible with in the first place. You may indeed be crushing on someone big time. But think seriously about the long term. Just ask yourself the necessary questions. We can keep the love connection alive by touch. Remember that first kiss? – electrifying. Don’t just kiss before and after work. Kiss and touch in every other way throughout the day. And we will keep our love alive when we are consciously saying and doing loving things and biting our tongue every time any thought comes to our mind to say or do harmful things to the one we walked down the aisle with.
Many words of good advice here. My wife and I run a marriage course together and the content is very similar to your article. We've been married almost 43 years and still that wonderful spark!
Colin & Gill