New relationships are exciting. When you first fall in love, many of your thoughts and actions are consumed by your beloved. But of course, this intoxicating time is limited. Psychologists maintain that the dizzying feeling of intense romantic love lasts only about 18 months to (at best) three years.
Once this endorphin-ridden - yet at times anxiety-provoking - phase winds down and our love grows into a calmer, steadier relationship, we may no longer feel the need to get everything “right” or feel driven to maintain a sense of perfection. So how can we support the steady fire of enduring love? Below are three tips to lasting love:
1. Be present.
Take a moment for your significant other each and every day. This doesn't mean you throw your routines and obligations to the wayside. It means you carve out a few minutes a day to really see him; to really, truly, hear him. Maybe it's over the sink as you clean the dinner dishes together, or as you're lying in bed right before sleep, that you listen to his frustrations regarding his coworker, or his fear over his mother's recent decline in health. Whenever it is that you can carve out that moment, make the effort to do so. Showing consistent interest in your loved one (even if the topic seems mundane) is a way to show support and share daily intimacy.
Give him a kiss, a hug or some other form of skin-to-skin contact every day. Every. single. day. Just like we need food and water, we have an innate need for physical touch. When this need goes unmet, we suffer from something called “skin hunger.” So when a romantic couple ceases to participate in those small moments of physicality, we can also suffer the pangs from this hunger. And when we go too long without alleviating this hunger, it leads to negative emotional and physical consequences. Starving for affection isn’t just a metaphor - we all need physical touch to create that connection between emotional and physical well being.
3. Be grateful.
Remind yourself often how grateful you are to share your life with this amazing person. Remind him how grateful you are that he is in your life. Telling someone how much they mean to you is a joy-generating gift. In addition, reminding yourself how special this person is to you will positively affect your interactions and viewpoint towards him. He will feel cherished and you will feel thankful.
Maintaining a steady flame of love takes intention and effort. Sure, it's easy to jump from relationship to relationship in search of that early fire, but it's relationships that endure that are the most fulfilling. And it's when the gifts of attention, touch, and gratitude are regularly offered that our relationships are likely to withstand challenges and provide long-term satisfaction.