Why is Romantic Love Essential for the Long-term Success of a Relationship?
Every year, Valentine’s Day comes around and people feel a cultural opportunity (or obligation, depending on your attitude towards the day) to renew romance in their relationship. Contrary to some popular theories out there, romantic love does not just exist in the honeymoon phase of relationships. Indeed, it’s chemical spark takes on different shapes and strengths throughout the life cycle of any couple relationship, however it is an essential component to long-term success. Why? Romance is one of the vehicles that allows couples to get closer emotionally.
How Does Valentine’s Day Encourage Romance?
This is the annual love holiday. It reminds couples to express affection, love, thoughtfulness, and perhaps a little sexy time. Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to go above and beyond the usual garden variety efforts to connect with your partner. It’s an opportunity to get creative and add that element of surprise. Sure your mate might be expecting chocolates, flowers, the usual. By adding something new and fun into the mix you can recreate a little bit of that spark from the beginning of when you two were in your courting phase.
What If Valentine’s Day is Triggering for Me?
It’s not unusual for people to have mixed feelings around the holiday. After all, many of us have been, or are currently single on such cloying holidays. We can be reminded of past pains, shattered expectations, and an overall bitterness towards those who have what we have so long desired. It obviously depends on why it’s triggering. The first piece of advice I’d offer is to make sure that you are taking care of yourself in the most basic of ways. No matter what hurts, practicing love for self can make all of the difference. Consult an expert’s list on Best Self-Care Practices and get to it. If something is being triggered, it’s the body’s alert system telling you to pay attention. If you’ve taken proper care of yourself, you’ll be that much more prepared to check out what that alert is all about.
How Can We Rekindle Romance When We’ve Been Struggling Recently
Intimacy has different starting points depending on the strength of the emotional connection in the relationship. Sometimes the most effective tool in building intimacy is having meaningful and deep conversations. You can frame your desires by telling your partner about the things that you look forward to creating with them. Keep the spirit of cooperation, co-ownership, and shared values in mind. You can also reflect and reminisce about old stories in the early chapters of the relationship. And don’t count out the tried and true element of adventure. Even when you have kids and your babysitter cancelled on you, adventure means exposing yourself to unexplored territory. It means seeing the opportunities before you that have been overlooked.
So What Do the Experts Say?
Relationship Experts say to invest your energy in giving your partner what they find to be meaningful and valuable. Often times this includes spending quality time, being intentional about physical touch, and giving gifts that show you put the thought in, not necessarily the paycheck. Get to know the inner emotional world of your partner. Ask questions about chapters in their life that you don’t know much about. Offer to give a massage to a part of their body that has been ignored recently. Give the gift of your authentic curiosity and attention to your partner’s inner self. Happy Valentine’s Day <3
Robin S. Smith, MS, LCMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in clinical practice in Bethesda MD, and specializes in relationship issues for couples, families, and individuals, for improved quality of life. His clinical specialties include: transition to parenthood for new and expecting parents, infidelity, sex and intimacy issues, premarital counseling, and trauma. Robin has given talks to various groups including hospital administrators, graduate students, therapists, and child birth educators. He is the primary contributor to The Couple and Family Clinic Blog.
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