The first rush of love can feel euphoric and is completely inimitable. But when that rush starts to fade, it’s often followed by a devastating crash.
Whether it’s the seven-year itch or just the stress of having to raise children and pay bills, keeping the spark alive in a long-term relationship takes work. But you don’t have to give up on having romantic, gushing love.
With a bit of ingenuity, the rush of first love can become the high of lasting love. Here’s what psychological research tells us about keeping the spark alive.
Fake It Til You Make It
In the first months of a new love, we all strive to put our best face forward. But as intimacy increases, the quality of our behavior often decreases until we’re taking the other person for granted.
This creates a cycle of resentment in which you take your spouse for granted because you resent that he’s doing the same thing to you. But faking it by showing gratitude, being kind even when it’s difficult, and thanking your spouse for little kindnesses can help you reignite that spark.
Even if you’re not feeling loving, faking it will help you to eventually actually feel it. And when you treat your spouse kindly, he’s more likely to return the favor.
The Power of Touch
A diminishing sex life is one of the most common complaints in otherwise happy marriages. One of the primary reasons for this is that, as we become more comfortable with someone, we actually touch them less.
Several studies have shown that couples in long-term relationships kiss and hold hands less frequently. Touch releases powerful endorphins that can bring back a rush of love.
Even better, touching frequently throughout the day can improve your libido and make your sex life more pleasurable. So reach across the divide to touch your spouse as often as you can.
New relationships are powerful partially because they are novel and a little bit scary. Once you know someone inside and out, it’s hard to make every interaction feel like an adventure.
But couples who try new things together often find that their relationship retains the thrill of novelty even when it’s far from new.