Bring back the passion
Has your relationship lost the spark that it once had? Do you remember when you had butterflies in your tummy when the phone rang, hoping it was them? When you just couldn't wait to see them again? When their smell, smile or look in their eyes ...
Now you think to yourself...what happened? How did we lose that "lovin' feeling'? Where did it all go? You look at your partner and see all the things that are "wrong" with them. They don't smile any more...and neither do you. And...their smell...well they can go take a shower!
It's not uncommon to hear that the things that once turned each other on now turn each other off. What once was cute is now annoying. What once you tolerated is now intolerable.
Well, what did happen? Probably the very two things that destroy most relationships - unfulfilled love strategies and a whole bunch of negative associations.
Let's talk about love strategies. What is a love strategy? It's what needs to happen in order for you to feel loved? How do you know what your love strategy is? Simple...just answer this question, "What needs to happen in order for me to feel loved?" Is it that simple? Well, it's a simple question, however the answer can be quite complex...depending on how many rules you have for being loved.
When talking with one couple have a challenging time in their relationship. I asked them that very question, "What needs to happen in order for you to feel loved?" The husband jokingly answered "She just needs to show up!" The truth behind his answer was that in order to feel loved she needed to act a certain way, do certain things, and say certain things. In other words he had a whole set of criteria that needed fulfilling in order for him to feel loved by her. In fact his rules were so limiting that there was no way that she could possibly meet these requirements...and so despite her best efforts to express her love to him he felt unloved by her. The wife answered this question with a long list of things and when we broke it down what she really needed in order to feel loved was his undivided attention. When we looked at how they were going about loving each other we quickly discovered that she was trying to express her love for him by telling him how much she loved him. She did this because that is how she felt loved - when she had his attention and he told her he loved her - but he rarely did that! He was trying to express his love for her by buying her gifts - because he felt loved when she bought him things that he liked. Each of them were in the throws of the fatal mistake of expressing their love the way that they felt loved and their relationship was becoming increasingly distant.
So, find out what you need in order to feel loved. Get out a pen and paper and write it down. Be honest with yourself. Don't just write what you think sounds good - write truly, really what needs to happen in order for you to feel loved. Discover if your rules are easy to fulfil or impossible to fulfil. If you discover that you have a whole heap of rules that make it impossible for you to feel loved then...guess what? Now you can get rid of them and look forward to feeling loved. He with the least rules is happiest!
Of course, you need some basic rules - these will probably be what you can't do without - things that are aligned with what you truly value. For example: if you value honesty then a rule that you have may be that you always tell the truth to one another; if you value monogamy, then your rule will be that you don't sleep around; if you value respect, then you may have a rule that you don't raise your voice or swear at each other. The harder your rules are to fulfil then the more likely your partner will break your rules and then you won't feel loved - the connection and passion between you will begin to die.
If you want to keep that lovin' feeling have rules that are easy to fulfil and serve your values.
The next part is important - find out what your partner needs in order to feel loved.
* Do they feel loved when you do things for them? * Do they feel loved when you tell them you love them? * Do they feel loved when you buy them gifts? * Do they feel loved when you touch them? * Do they feel loved when you spend quality time with them?
Strike up a conversation with them about what they need in order to feel loved...and then, here's the thing...(as long as it doesn't compromise your values) do it for them! If a surprise bunch of flowers makes her feel loved then do it. If buying him something he loves does it...then go for it. If telling she's beautiful and you love her makes her eyes light up then there's your key to passion. If massaging his shoulders without being asked makes him relax then there's your pass to love.
In relationships, most couples don't do what it takes! They say "Well, when she...then I'll..." Each is waiting for the other to make an effort. Here is the big truth...this is NOT your practice relationship - this is your relationship - either you make an effort to make it work or not! It's up to you! Are you going to do what it takes?
We train people how to treat us. So, don't compromise on the things that matter most to you. If your partner does something to upset you let them know how you feel and ask them to find another way to relate to you. If you don't let them know that certain things are unacceptable to you then more than likely they will continue this behaviour until you can't bear it any more. Train each other how to fulfil each other's love strategies.
Apart from not knowing how to fulfil your partner's love strategy the next thing that will kill your relationship is negative associations. What does this mean? We unconsciously link certain emotions to specific things that our partner does. This works great if we link positive emotions to the things that they do...however, if we link a negative emotion to something that they do then even the smallest, insignificant thing can bring the relationship to a grinding halt. Notice when something your partner does excites an unreasonable reaction in you - ask yourself "What is this really about?"
I was working with a couple who were at odds with one another and they didn't know why. We discovered that as soon as he came home and she asked him how his day was that he immediately disconnected from her. He had gone through tough time at work and had associated coming home and seeing her face with recalling his tough days and would automatically feel burdened and frustrated. It had nothing to do with her but unconsciously he had linked the two things together. They need to BREAK THE PATTERN. She decided to create some surprises for him for when he came home - and their relationship flourished.
What patterns do you need to break? What is zapping the passion from your relationship? Find fun and creative ways to sever these links so that you can have your relationship explode with passion.
Finally what does it ultimately take to have passion in your relationship?
It takes you BEING passionate!
If you want passion then be passionate - BE, DO, HAVE - be passionate, do passionate things and have passion.
Make that decision now and commit to being passionate. Find out what your partner needs to feel love and passion. Break the patterns that are holding you back and create new loving, passionate patterns. This IS your relationship NOW - create it the way you want it.