10 Easy Ways to Create Lasting Love

Couple enjoys game of chess“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
—Tom Robbins, American novelist

Are you still “in love” with your partner?

Do you feel deep affection?

Are you best friends?

Do you connect daily?

Is sexual attraction present?

Keeping love alive in a relationship is a challenge—especially when we’re perpetually busy and distracted by our gadgets and social media. Attending to and consistently nurturing bonds over time is key to making relationships last.

Love will fade if we don’t actively do the work to deepen and cultivate our connections. Just as exercise builds muscles and keeps us physically in shape, we must work out our emotional muscles to keep our relationships fit. Consciously loving our partners is what sustains and grows the strength and depth of intimacy over a lifetime.

Often, in the therapy room, individuals and couples disclose they’ve lost their connection. Among other things, therapists hear:

  • “It feels like we’re just roommates.”
  • “I feel detached.”
  • “I love my partner, but I’m not ‘in love.’ ”
  • “I care about my partner, but the attraction is gone.”
  • “We don’t have fun anymore.”

With apprehension, people ask, “Is there a way to get love and attraction back?”

The answer is a resounding yes! And doing so doesn’t always require heavy lifting. Often, it’s more about creating a new habit of going to the “relationship gym” several times a week and lifting smaller weights. Consistency and perseverance are crucial to building relationship muscles. With repetition, loving feelings of warmth and attraction can return.

Here are 10 easy ways to build your relationship and actively create deeper love and connection:

1. Stay in Close Contact

With all our handy electronics, staying in touch during the day should be easy … if we don’t get so focused on work that we forget or fail to connect with our loved ones. Taking a few minutes to text or give a midday call is a great way to keep your relationship in mind and let your partner know you are thinking about them.

2. Be Present

One of the biggest roadblocks occurs when couples are together physically, yet one or both are on (or shall we say “in”) their computers or cellphones. For many couples, it is the only time they have to connect, catch up on the day, and share each other’s lives. To truly be present, you must put the electronics away and make a point of talking, touching, and sharing.

3. Learn More About Your Partner

Think you know everything about your partner? There is almost surely more you can learn. Here are some great resources to get you talking to each other. You might be surprised to discover things you never knew. 

This page contains at least one affiliate link for the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which means GoodTherapy.org receives financial compensation if you make a purchase using an Amazon link.

4. Reminisce

Sometimes my husband and I sit down and try to recall our best memories. We ask each other, “Do you remember …?” It is always fun going back down memory lane and thinking about how far we have come, how much history we share, and how much we have accomplished together over the years. Not just the good times, but the difficult ones, too. Here is a great journal where you can record your story, a place where you and your partner (and, someday, your kids) can remember the way it was.

5. Create a Relationship ‘Bucket List’

Stop and think about all the things you would like to do together but never get to. Chances are you tend to fly by the seat of your pants and don’t pause to think about the fun activities you could do together; the days just pass by. If you write it down, the chances are better you will actually do it.

6. Do Something New Together

Try something you haven’t done before. Go to a bed-and-breakfast for a night, find a new restaurant, have a picnic at a park, go on a ghost tour, do a casino night, visit a museum or art gallery, take a wine tasting tour, or go roller skating. Shared experiences create memories and stimulate connection.

7. Learn Something New Together

Finding a hobby you both enjoy can be exciting. Plus, it’s a bonding experience. Dancing, photography, yoga, couples massage, acting, cooking, painting, home improvement, and fitness are just a few ideas. Think outside the box here.

8. Play Games

Have you ever played a game (without the kids)? Try card games, board games, video games. Here is one from our favorite expert on marriage, John Gottman.

9. Laugh

Many people “forget” to laugh as the serious responsibilities of marriage, family, and career take over and get in the way. Get your laugh on—watch a romantic comedy, turn on Comedy Central, or go out to a comedy club. Spend time with people who make you laugh. I recently discovered something new: laughter yoga. Check out their YouTube video below.

10. Have Sex

Sexual intimacy may be what makes your relationship different from any other kind of loving relationship in your life. We often find in practice that couples neglect their sexual bonds. New research has found heterosexual couples who have sex at least once a week are happiest.

The key to success is to start small and be consistent. Ask your partner to read this article. Then, together, pick one or two ideas from above to start with. Add your own. Build your relationship. Feel closer. Create lasting love.

Reference:

Society for Personality and Social Psychology. (2015, November 18). Couples who have sex weekly are happiest: More sex may not always make you happier, according to new research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118101718.htm

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 15 comments
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  • Eloise

    Eloise

    March 16th, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    There was really a time after the kids got older and moved out that my husband and I ser considered divorce because after all those years of paying attention to the kids we felt like we really didn’t know each other anymore.

  • Glenna

    Glenna

    March 16th, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    Your spouse is a person that you have probably created more memories with than anyone else in the world. It can be a great thing to talk about old times just to remind you what created that spark between the two of you in the first place.

  • connie r

    connie r

    March 17th, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    The one thing that I think gets glossed over a lot is that lasting love does not always come easily. This is something that has to be worked at and nurtured, it doesn’t last all on its own.

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 17th, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    Eloise, We see that all the time. No one tells us that after kids come along, we have to intentionally feed and nurture our connection to keep it alive. Then when you launch the kids and life slows down a bit, you realize you do not feel connected. I hope you and your husband stayed together, because it can be a great opportunity to get to know each other again, without distractions; to focus on your marriage; and create a vision of a wonderful future. Thanks for sharing. Lori

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 17th, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    Glenna, You’re right. Our spouses have walked the journey with us – we share the birth and lives of our kids, the ups and downs of careers and dealing with our families. We share losses that have occurred. It’s a very rich history, which is why we always encourage couples who feel they have lost their loving connection to try couples counseling and get it back!

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 17th, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    Connie, Yes, it’s not easy, even for me and my husband; and we do this for a living. Perseverance and enduring and working through the struggles are key. Thanks for your comment.

  • Jay

    Jay

    March 18th, 2016 at 7:35 AM

    There must be a feeling that this is a relationship of equals and that one is not more in love with one another. I mean, you know there are always those relationships where you can see oh he loves her more or vice versa. I know that things will ebb and flow as any relationship progresses, but there always must be a respect and trust that has not faded. I think that if there is a feeling of equality that runs throughout the course of the relationship then there will be a lot more happiness, consistent happiness in the home.

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 18th, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Jay, Yes, respect, trust and appreciation for each other is very important for a healthy relationship. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Lori

  • Mally

    Mally

    March 21st, 2016 at 7:23 AM

    It’s so hard to have sex when you are angry with your partner but you know whaT? When you keep that kind of connection with the person you are with then it helps to maintain something deep inside and it makes it that much harder to let the relationship go. So stop pretending to have a headache!

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 21st, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    Mally, thanks so much for your comment and perspective. The other option is to work through the conflict, makeup, forgive and then have sex. Lori

  • Kat

    Kat

    March 21st, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    After 39 years of promises, being told “we’ll have fun after the kids are raised”, I’m exhausted by a spouse that doesn’t want to do anything now. His depression has tainted our relationship. His promises are vacant. We live in a remote location so I have no friends or ability for socialization. I’m lonely, tired and married to someone that picks up his tablet to read his email soon after I ask a question for morning coffee chit-chat. I’ve referred him to online articles about how to make our relationship better, but he refuses. I’ve shared my feelings of how this makes me feel when he has these behaviors and he now states “that’s the way it is – sorry you feel that way but, that’s who you’re married to”. I’ve spent time off and on in therapy with the therapist telling me “you’re not really the problem here – and you know what to do”. I now regret not divorcing when I had a job and a support structure. I am now alone and live too far from children for the honey of time with them. Sad chapter as I now feel stuck with the “until death do us part” comes to pass.

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 21st, 2016 at 6:17 PM

    Kat, So sorry for your pain. It sounds like the therapist was telling you to separate and that wasn’t an option for you at this stage. Is that correct? If so, I have some other thoughts. You don’t have to get divorced to create your own happiness outside of the relationship. You are the one who has control over that. I would look for activities that you like to do and go by yourself: volunteer, take a class, join a book club, etc. That way you will meet new friends. Focus on the things you have control over, not the one thing you don’t (i.e. your husband). Hope that is helpful. Lori

  • kat

    kat

    March 21st, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Thanks for the response. We’ve moved four times in two years (great distances) which is a complication. I DO want to do outside activities. I have a hard time committing when I know I’m moving again :( . I know I need to get out and not feel so confined. Thanks again.

  • Tabitha

    Tabitha

    March 24th, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    I never feel like my husband wants to be with me anymore. He makes plans without me, not even consulting me, and spends more time out of the house than in it. I have tried talking to him but he gets defensive and says that I am acting crazy. Am I?

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    March 24th, 2016 at 6:38 PM

    Tabitha, Sometimes a husband creates distance and then denies it, when his wife senses it. When he invalidates his wife’s feeling, she begins to doubt her own perceptions. I have seen times where women doubt themselves only to find out later that their intuition was correct. I don’t know if that is what’s happening in your situation, but I would suggest you talk to a counselor about it, even if your husband won’t go with you. Hope that is helpful.

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