Do you remember what it was like when you met your partner or spouse? Maybe there was an instant attraction or perhaps not! But in that very first interaction you didn’t know them and they didn’t know you. It was a moment of pure possibility laden with potential! Together you began the process of moulding your relationship together. You discovered so many things about them — what they liked and didn’t like, their dreams and aspirations, where they had been and where they intended on going. And in return, they learnt all about you.
Bit-by-bit, that understanding sowed the seeds for something wonderful to grow. We can all remember being swept away by the delicious insanity of falling helplessly in love! Yet there seems to be a myth that those feelings are destined to fade.
We distinguish between being “in-love” and feeling love. In my coaching work with couples, too many times I hear the expression “I love you but I am not in love with you“, as though that explains away the troubles in the relationship. Does love really exist on some kind of imaginary scale? Or could it be that the measurement exists only in our heads? And the trouble with the latter is that it is extremely difficult to feel the true depth and richness of love when we are using our minds as the tool!
Familiarity often seems to edge true love out. Over time we start to recognise the patterns and habits of our loved one. We can start to predict their behaviour with a fair degree of accuracy. We begin to get used to them! We think we know what they will say and what they will do. It all starts to feel a little bit mundane. And without the curiosity and intrigue that drove the desire at the beginning of the relationship, we can start to lose interest. Humans may be creatures of habit but they thrive on variety and uncertainty. No one wants to live a ‘Groundhog Day’ life. Love grows in the fields of newness!
Let’s go back to scene one! There you are meeting your soon-to-be beloved for the very first time. Knowing so little but with your heart open enough to entertain a possibility. That doorway was enough for passionate and unlimited love to find a way in. So what has changed? That the person you are in relationship with has ceased to offer that potential for head-over-heels-crazy-about-you love or could it be that maybe, just maybe, you were the one who stopped looking for it? Take a moment and check in — was it you who shut the door on possibility? I guess if you want to know the answer to that, you may need to reintroduce some curiosity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started…
- Ask your loved one some deep and personal questions — find out what is their unfulfilled dream, what is top of their bucket list, how they know they are loved or what they would most like to hear from you! You may be surprised by some of their answers. Perhaps you don’t know them quite as well as you think.
- Invite your partner to play the ‘presence game’ — no it doesn’t involve wrapped parcels although you may well find a few gifts! Find a place where you can sit comfortably opposite each other. Take each other’s hands and make eye contact. Sit together in stillness and silence for ten minutes. What can you see in each other’s eyes? Remember our eyes are the doorway to the soul!
- Create a lover list — You and your partner write a list of the ten top things that you most admire and respect about each other. Share your answers. And if you find this easy, do another fifty!
Even in inspired relationships, we have a habit of living at the surface so dive a little deeper. What else can you find out about each other? Curiosity is the match that reignites the fire of true love!