Love Rejuvenation: 3 Ways to Pump Up Your Relationship

 

Most of the  ideas in this post come from my mentor and friend Stan Tatkin and his recent blog post about rekindling. I basically rewrote it with my own little twist. However, if you want to get it from the horse’s mouth (he’s really a good writer besides a brilliant clinician), read it at Stan’s blog:

https://stantatkinblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/daily-rekindling-of-love/

 

While this may be stating the obvious, it is important to experience positive emotions in our relationships and is vital for a successful marriage. This is really what love is, the “high” of feeling good together.

While we do it all the time, we often don’t think about it is quite such a raw way: We can bring positive energy into the relationship and even amplify it.   We, in a sense, have the volume control for the emotions in our relationship and if we get good at it, we can turn up or turn down the positive experience.

 Good couples also act as a salve to sooth upset, hurt feelings, or discomfort as well. However, this  will be dealt with in a future post.

This article will show three ways to boost positive emotions in a relationship to rekindle feelings of love and attraction. These work for any love relationship (of the romantic variety) whether new or long time no spark.

Lovers Gaze  

Perhaps one of the most powerful ways to ignite the love juice in a stale relationship, or to increase feelings of love even in a good relationship, is the lovers gaze.

In general the eyes have great importance in humanity. It is an old Yiddish proverb that says, “the eyes are the mirror to the soul” that tells how important the eyes are. Eyes are actually a window into the nervous system. Because of our social nature the eyes are a vital part of being human.  

So what happens to that powerful thing in a long term relationship? We tend to stop looking into our partners eyes. In fact we may tend to stop looking at our partner at all, much less into their eyes. You might say that when relationships get stagnant, eye gaze stops.

Or, perhaps it’s the other way around, what if relationships get stagnant because eye gaze stops.

 

Looking into our partners eyes is an intense but simple  act that stimulates both longing and calm, both fear and desire- releasing a boost of stimulating hormones and neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) into your system.  

Dopamine is one of the primary components in the experience of pleasure- it can get you high.  ( Imagine getting high any time you want by simply looking lovingly into the eyes of your partner.)

The point here is to increase the energy level between us- to “mutually stimulate positive feelings” together and to do it focusing on those beautiful eyes of your partner.

Through just a few minute of gazing into your partners eyes, you can stimulate excitement and energy that is needed to reignite those loving feelings.

By the way, any important conversation should occur face to face- eye to eye and relatively close up. Don’t do important emotional stuff on the phone if possible, while driving in a car, or in a text message. Fun conversations or those without emotional charge can be relegated to the car and phone.  Important means close up , in person, eye-to eye and maybe skin to skin. (One good use for texts is to think of them as love letters in brief. A cute, “I love you” or “can’t wait to see you” statement is a wonderful use for text messages.)

All true and deep connection occurs in our eyes and up close. We are made that way. Simple eye gaze is a powerful and simple way to reignite love and romance. Imagine, you have a love potion available to you almost anytime- right in your partner’s eyes!

 

Joint Attention

While eye gaze is perhaps the most powerful rekindling activity, if it is forced, it can have the opposite effect. We don’t want to torment each other, we want to connect and ignite the love juices.

A different way to do “pump a couple up” is through focus on a  “third thing”.

We can focus on interests we have in common or simply through engaging in a fun activity that we both enjoy, sharing the experience- the mutual positive emotion. This does not only mean that we both play at or attend to something at the same time.  Joint attention is a sharing of the positive energy, which, if going well,  tends to amplify the mutually enjoyed experience.

For example, we could watch TV together, pausing during the commercials to talk about the show, heightening the experience for each other. We can jointly attend to watching the children play, to  playing a game together, to spending time  with friends, to eating a luscious dessert with one partner feeding the other. This sort of sharing in the positive experience together enhances our connection and increases the time spent together in positive experiences.  

Having an interest in common, a hobby, sport, or physical activity you both love, provides more opportunity for positive shared experiences. It only works if both people are enjoying the experience- both adding energy to the relationship system.

Many couples unfortunately engage in “parallel play.” Parallel play is basically not sharing the experience, though we may be doing the same thing. (for example you and your wife watch TV together and face the same direction, never discuss what is interesting or not; you simply watch the show in the same room.)  In essence you are playing at the same thing but not mutually sharing or amplifying the experience.

Converting And Transmitting Positive Emotion

Some of us have positive or exciting experiences throughout the day. We can’t wait to get home to tell our spouse the story of the day’s adventure (It helps if you are an arctic explorer or perhaps a firefighter.) But all too often, these experiences are the “had to be there”, or even “had to be me being there“, kind of experience. Sometimes telling a long drawn out story about what we did in the day can bring on a silent (or not so silent) sigh. The positive energy is lost because the “story” may not have the same meaning to your partner.

Why not try this instead and perhaps shorten the story and ad this as a kicker:  Take the positive emotions that you feel about what happened that day and sort of digest them, then convert that energy into positive emotions “directed” toward your partner. 

For example, you just made a big sale today. Instead of going through the details of what happened, convert  that positive experience and tell your spouse how great he is, how beautiful she is in that skirt, or how much you love him. In essence, you are using the energy you brought into the relationship as a personal experience to drive connection and shared experience that you and your partner can use together, no matter what their involvement in the original positive experience.

We can also generate a positive experience from inside, adding that energy into the relationship rather than simply enjoying it in one’s head. Basically, we take the positive, one person experience and make it mutual, that we can both share in.

So, the next time you think about how lucky you are to have your children, as you watch them playing, give that positive experience to your spouse – “I am so lucky to have you in my life.”

Converting positive personal experience into a shared experience is mutually beneficial for both you and your partner and everyone in your life. Talk about the trickledown effect!

 

 

Leave a Comment