In our very active and full lives, it is so easy to get caught up in the daily demands of our work or individual interests and sacrifice love. With the added challenge of technology addiction, couples can be living more like roommates than lovers. Many struggling couples ask me, "Can you fall out of love?" or tell me that they've fallen out of love.
The truth is, love requires nurturing. No matter how deeply you love someone, if you allow weeds to grow in your relationship, they can crowd out love and choke the life right out of your marriage. It doesn't take long for two people in a loving relationship to become distant or "fall out of love." Because of the day-in, day-out details we are continually juggling in our lives, we can slip into autopilot in ways that slowly eat away at the loving feelings we once felt.
Are Unconscious Habits Draining the Love Out of Your Relationship?
Any routine actions become a habit and are automated by the brain because it's efficient—even if the habit has a negative effect on our lives. It can be automatic to make sarcastic comments. It can be a habit to nag your spouse for things they haven't completed or even pick fights when things are going well. It's common to replace quality time with pass-by logistics and talking about scheduling conflicts and the latest news. And of course, there's always Facebook or Netflix to ignore the gnawing feeling that something's missing in our relationship.
However, it's not so easy to shift when a habit of criticism or discontent sets in. Mindlessly the days fly by and couples can forget to take the time every day for loving gestures that nurture one another and strengthen their relationship. Don't let love pass you by on cruise control.
Are you tolerating an unhappy relationship?
Have you gotten lazy in love?
Are you neglecting the muscles that strengthen your love life?
Has your kindness to your partner gotten a little flabby?
Are you cultivating a healthy and loving bond or are you saying and doing things that increase the distance between you?
Are You Falling Out of Love?
Can you fall out of love? Take a look at the science of what happens in the brain when someone falls out of love. However, the brain responds to how we are framing our relationship. In large part, the chemicals released are dependent on our experiences and perspective. So the key to falling in love over and over is to create experiences that continually reignite your love.
Get in the driver's seat fully awake and mindfully nurture your relationship.
By giving love in small doses each day, you'll vitalize—or revitalize—your relationship dramatically. Below are some simple (don't underestimate them!) and keys to creating a happy and thriving partnership in love.
How to Be More Mindful to Build a Healthy Relationship
LOVE ACTION #1: Greet your partner like you're happy to see them!
When we are preoccupied, we can forget how essential greetings are. Think for a moment of a time when someone happily or excitedly greeted you. Maybe you were picked up at the airport after an extended visit away. Or perhaps your Black Labrador welcomes you with his tail in full swing. When someone is happy to see us, the message is clear: They missed you. You are important to them. Greetings are immensely validating!
So the next time your partner comes home, stop what you're doing and greet them. Enthusiastically show your love and give 'em a big hug and kiss.
LOVE ACTION #2: Focus on what's right in your relationship!
I've heard dozens of times from couples, "he/she only tells me what they don't like" or "I feel like my partner doesn't like me anymore; they only point out what's wrong."
We often make the mistake to focus on past hurtful actions instead of investing in the quality of connection we desire. When we only visit—or continually visit—what's wrong, it's discouraging for your partner. Train yourself to focus on what you love about your partner. Let them know how much they mean to you.
And yes, because we are human, there will be things we don't like. No partner is perfect. When you do want something different from your partner, keep reading!
LOVE ACTION #3: Ask for what you want from your partner.
When communicating with your partner, ask specifically for what you want instead of pointing your finger at what you don't want. For example, if you feel ignored and miss your partner because they're working too much, instead of saying "You never spend time with me," you could say, "I feel sad when we don't spend time together and I miss you. Let's schedule a date night this week!"
Related reading: "Love Is a Choice—the Best Marriage Advice!"
When we first fall in love, our partner can do no wrong. And in the honeymoon cycle, we spend hours talking into the wee hours of the night. We can't wait to spend time with our partner. We're interested in their thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and experiences.
Don't let the little annoyances take the spark out of your love. Don't let your busy lives steal away connection and an appreciation for your partner. Nurturing relationships is critical.
LOVE ACTION #4: Practice mindful loving.
Lives can get mundane. Practicing mindfulness within a relationship adds a dimension that boosts love.
Take the simple act of kissing; it can increase closeness. Kissing not only bonds us together, it adds to good health! Kissing releases oxytocin, the feel-good drug and tells our partner we care. Kiss more frequently, and do it with passion, not a quick peck.
Think about what you say you want from your partner. Then give what you say you want: attention, intimacy, random kindness, quality time together, loving affection. Watch the weeds die off and love bloom again. It only takes one person to shift relationship problems to relationship bliss.
And pretty soon, just like the song, you'll be thinking and feeling, "I got love on my mind!"
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