The only thing that’s constant is change. We’ve all heard that old maxim before, and it’s true. But it is particularly true of relationships. As we grow as individuals, it can change the dynamics we have established with our partners; our partners may change with us, or they may not. And while we spend our youth asking ourselves, “How do we find love?” After a while, we must begin to ask ourselves the essential follow-up: “How do we keep love alive?” According to “The Science of Happily Ever After,” couples gave marriage a score of 86 out of 100 in terms of happiness and satisfaction during the first year. After five years, however, that number plummets to 50%. “That won’t be me and my partner,” you might be thinking. And maybe it won’t be. But even the best relationships often fall into a slump.
So, what can be done to keep the love alive? What follows is a series of simple hacks to keep things fresh and new, even after years and years together.
Engage in the Fantasy of an Affair
No, we’re not saying that you should go out and get your kicks elsewhere, but think about what it might be like to have a torrid affair with your partner. Think about what you might say or do if you were actually having an affair. Where you might have to meet, how you might break up your routine in order to accommodate each other. Remember that even the people closest to us have rich, private inner lives, and we only ever get to see glimpses of those inner lives. So try to coax your partner’s inner life to come out and play.
Get Those Natural Chemicals Flowing
Whether this means jumping on a crazy, upside-down roller coaster, heading to a haunted house, or putting on your running shoes and going on a jog side-by-side, research shoes that couples who experience a rush together, stay together. Whether it’s adrenaline or endorphins from thrills or exercise, these types of experience can bond you to your partner — not to mention give your libido a natural boost.
Look into the Future
Change can be scary, but whether you realize it or not, a relationship has a trajectory of its own. It’s headed somewhere, either positive or negative. And it’s up to you to shape what the future of your relationship looks like. Studies show that couples that fantasize about their shared futures together are happier in the moment — and better equipped to face the future side by side as it arrives. Plus, it’s fun to dream and plan, not just for what you want out of your own life, but what hopes, dreams, and fears you and your partner share.
In this day in age, it’s so easy not to engage with anyone in our lives face to face, since we always have the buffer of a digital screen. This is supposed to make us feel more connected, but in terms of our romantic partnerships, it can foster a feeling of isolation. Make a deal with your significant other that you will unplug and focus your attention solely on them during certain times of the day or week to ensure that you are not having to compete with anything or anyone else — let alone a bunch of pixels on a screen. This is a particularly healthy habit to get into at night, when the bright light that emanates from the screen can have an impact on your sleep cycle.
Learn Their Language of Love
Some people feel loved when they are physically touched by their partner; some people feel loved when they receive gifts from their partner; some people feel loved when they are told they are loved; some feel loved when their partner picks up the slack of chores around the house for them. But the point is that the way your partner feels loved might not necessarily be the way that you feel loved, so it’s important for you to learn what makes them tick. Learn their language of love, and encourage them to learn yours.
Above all, you must communicate and make time for each other. It can be so easy to take our significant others for granted, assuming that they will always be there to meet our needs. And perhaps they will be. But in order to have a truly loving and connected partnership, you need to make sure that you keep the love and the spark alive.