How to Learn to Love Your Partner Again
When the Honeymoon is Over
So the initial feeling of butterflies in your tummy has worn off and you've realised you have in fact married a younger version of your father - who you no longer speak to - and absolutely everything about them is driving you nuts, what do you do?
The common modern day approach to this dilemma is to get a quickie divorce, but the statistics show that most people quickly realise that their second marriage is rarely much different from the first.
Psychology studies prove that the euphoria of being in love only lasts up to 2 years, so its natural for that feeling to subside and the focus to shift from falling in love to staying in love and developing a real connection with your partner or spouse.
There is a less harsh, and far more rewarding way to deal with this situation and live the romance you always dreamed of.
Where to Begin
It's usually a good idea to sit down and "take stock" of your relationship before you make any life altering decisions - particularly where children are concerned.
I like to tell my clients to sit down and start at the beginning - a summary of when and where they met their partner, what was going on in their lives and why they felt attracted to them in the first place. 9 times out of 10 they realise that they initiated their relationship from a place of "need".
In other words, they felt lonely or their life was empty and they felt that they needed a partner to complete them in some way and bring joy to their lives. Very few people come to me and say - "My life was full and I was ready to give to and share with another person." - so now we have identified that they started with a set of expectations and needs.
Now we have connected with who you were and how your journey began, we can move to step two....awareness of who you each are.
Identifying the "Me", "Them" and "We"
Take a sheet of paper and divide it into 3 columns. In the left hand column, write "Fantasy" at the top of the page, in the middle of the column write "Reality" and in the right hand column write "Truth"
1. Under the heading of 'Fantasy" write all the traits you'd like in the perfect partner / relationship.
Things like, tall, handsome, wealthy, takes me on holiday every year, buys me flowers every Friday - whatever it may be that you would like - don't be shy!
Take a few minutes and re-read that list to make sure you have written everything you'd like in a perfect world! Once you're done, count how many items there are in that list and total them at the bottom, so let's say you're list is 55 "traits" long, write "55" at the bottom of that column.
2. Now under the column of "Reality" write down all the good traits your current spouse or partner has - it may take you a little while (particularly if you are in a bad space in your relationship at the moment) but there are definitely a few - perhaps they are a great parent to your children, or a really great cook? Perhaps they have eyes you can drown in or are really punctual, whatever they may be, write them down and then total these again and write the total down at the bottom of our column.
3. Lastly, under the column of "Truth" list all of your positive traits, you may be honest, dependable, passionate, slender - whatever it is that you believe you have to offer. Write them down and once again, tally them up and write down the number at the bottom of the list.
Now take a few minutes and look at the lists and their totals and compare them.
Notice how you're "Fantasy" has far more positive traits than either you or your partner / spouse have? Its quite possible that they have more than the two of you combined! What does this prove? Our expectations in relationships are completely unrealistic! We expect perfection and yet have far less than perfection to offer our partners.
Keep that list handy, we'll come back to it!
What is Your Love Language?
Solving the Mystery of Love
The next step in this process, is to write down all the good things your partner does for you and in general, so for example:
Looks after the garden
Takes care of the cars
Pays all the bills (or the bond etc)
Is a great dad
Has a wonderful sense of humour
takes you on holiday
makes you tea on Saturday mornings
Pays you compliments
Buys you small gifts when travelling
Does all the shopping
Does the cleaning, cooking and ironing
Drops and collects the kids from school
Is kind and generous
Always buys clothes for you when she is out shopping
Works at her job to help you support the family financially
**This is a Work in Progress List that you should keep handy and add to as things pop into your mind.**
Now, look at this list carefully, and mark each of these positive traits as one of the 5 Love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Giving/Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Acts of service
Most people will give to their partner automatically in their own primary love language - so if your hubby works hard to pay the bills and works on your home etc, his primary love language is Acts of service. If he likes taking you out to movies or chatting to you over dinner, he is loving you in the language of quality time.
Write down your own list of things you do for your partner and identify these too in terms of the love languages, what language are you speaking? perhaps your partner is showing you love in their language and you need affirmation in yours - once you identify it, you can work together to communicate in languages that appeal to your partner so you both feel loved and cherished.
Balance in Giving and Taking
All 5 of the love languages are important - each of them has to be fulfilled for a relationship to be full and rewarding, however, most of us have one or two primary love languages which we need to be met first to feel loved and valued. If you are feeling like yourself and your partner are not connecting or you feel empty - this is the area to pay the most attention to, for both of you.
It is important to note that once you have identified your partners love language, you need to work at giving them love in that style. You cannot think "oh well, my wife likes affection but I'm not affectionate" - if you do not give your partner what they need you are starving them and cannot expect the relationship to work. Relationships are a trade, an exchange of caring, love and support. Maintaining this balance will lead to harmony and joy at home, ignoring it will lead to destruction and arguments.
Once you've identified yours and your partners love languages, go back to your initial list of Fantasy, Reality and Truth - notice how many of those positive traits were your partners offering of love to you, perhaps just not in your own love language?
Make a point of giving your partner what they need for 2 weeks, and see them change and automatically give to you what you need to feel fulfilled! if they don't seem to be "getting it", sit down and share this process with them and explain to them what your love language is and what you need to receive in order to feel loved and supported.
Keep that list and have a look at it a year from the day you discovered this process and a new way to live and love, I am fairly certain you will be amazed at how far you have come and how much of the "fantasy" your current partner has become! Time to burn that peice of paper and go live the romance!
Complaint to Identify
How to Give
You're Always at Work!
Make a little 1 on 1 time every week with your wife/husband, sit down and chat while making eye contact - no phones!
We never see you
Take your partner on a date / picnic / walk in the park
You're never here at dinner time
Every other week have a games night with your family so they really feel your presence and have memories of your time together
Do you really need to keep answering your phone?
Put your phone off whilst at the dinner table or engaging in conversation with your partner
Words of Affirmation
What did you think of dinner?
Write down a list of genuine compliments and use them!
Do you like my dress / shirt / hair?
Thank your partner for the lovely meal.
You never have anything nice to say!
Your partner look amazing? Tell them!
You don't appreciate me!
So glad to see that smile? Say so!
Is your wife a wizz with the kids? Tell her!
Your husband got a promotion! tell him how proud you are of him - specially in front of friends and family!
Always speak highly of your partner when with others - news spreads fast!
Giving / Receiving of Gifts
You never buy me anything
Leave little notes for your partner in their lunch box or under their pillow
Don't you ever think of me when you're out shopping?
Buy your partner's favourite sweet and give it to them after dinner
You only ever spend money on yourself!
Buy a book by your partner's favourite author and surprise them with it
It's not always about the money, its about the gesture!
Small things like pretty pebbles picked flowers mean a lot to people with this love language - let them know they are on your mind!
Acts of Service
I have to do everything around here!
wash and hoover your partners car
You never do anything for me
Tidy up the house and prepare a special meal
You never take me anywhere
Take you partner to an event of their choosing - even if you dont like ballet and they do!
When last did you do something for me?
You don't care about me
Back rubs are a winner!
Can I have a hug?
gently touch your partners arm when you are watching television
There's no romance in our lives!
Plan a romantic night and pay lots of attention to your partners pleasure zones
I wish you were more passionate
Kisses and hugs are a daily requirement - build up to it if you aren't naturally inclined to this behaviour.