In dating and marriage, the honeymoon phase of infatuation will help carry a relationship from the beginning for a number of months or even a year or two. However, even the most exciting, stimulating relationship will eventually calm down, cool off, and become—gasp—mundane. No escaping it. Nothing will be new and stay new forever. Impossible. As the initial powerful butterflies calm down, a more companionate (“friendship-based”) relationship naturally and inevitably takes hold. Some partners may see this as a red flag and an emergency. A sign that “maybe this wasn’t the right person after all and maybe we shouldn’t be together”. And that “maybe I need to go find someone else to provide those butterflies again”. This is a mistake. Sadly, if a person floats from one relationship to the next in hopes of finding and always keeping those butterflies has an unreasonable and unrealistic idea of relationships. Announcement: no one keeps the new relationship excitement/butterflies forever. That is just real life.
Keeping As Close and Connected as Possible:
To feed, fuel, support, and nourish your dating (and maybe/hopefully/eventually married) relationship, there are some things you can do:
*Modify and normalize your expectations. As already explained, understand and accept that the initial infatuation of your relationship will calm down, and that is OK. And acceptable, natural, normal, and predictable.
Own the need to make regular, persistent efforts to fuel and feed your relationship. Accept that relationships take work. It isn’t the other person’s job to be the full-time entertainment committee. BOTH sides need to make strong, regular efforts to feed and fuel the relationship. Ideally, both sides learn what the other most wants and needs in the relationship, and then work to give to the other accordingly (within reason).
Learn about the opposite gender and what they tend to want, need, and feel, as well as what makes for healthy relationships in general. Then, apply these ideas to your relationship accordingly. Spend some regular time watching, listening to, or reading some quality information about gender and relationships. This will give you extra ideas and information to improve your understanding of and treatment of the other. Learn and implement accordingly. Good authors for this includes John Gray, Deborah Tannen, and Mark Gungor.
Always remember that a relationship takes quality time and attention together. Plan some formal time together. Also, be opportunistic. When some spontaneous time suddenly becomes available, please take advantage of it. Quality time together is simply for the two of you together, interacting positively in an effort to enrich and strengthen your relationship. This is also called “bonding time”. These times can be in or out of the home, free or costing money. But ideally, they do not involve other/outside people. Quality time is, ideally, just the two of you. Sorry, no dogs or cats either.
Read the rest about Staying Close and Connected here!