by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com FREE Online Dating
In dating and marriage, the honeymoon phase of infatuation will help carry a relationship from the beginning for a number of months or even a year or two. However, even the most exciting, stimulating relationship will eventually calm down, cool off, and become—gasp—mundane. No escaping it. Nothing will be new and stay new forever. Impossible. As the initial powerful butterflies calm down, a more companionate (“friendship-based”) relationship naturally and inevitably takes hold. Some partners may see this as a red flag and an emergency. A sign that “maybe this wasn’t the right person after all and maybe we shouldn’t be together”. And that “maybe I need to go find someone else to provide those butterflies again”. This is a mistake. Sadly, if a person floats from one relationship to the next in hopes of finding and always keeping those butterflies has an unreasonable and unrealistic idea of relationships. Announcement: no one keeps the new relationship excitement/butterflies forever. That is just real life.
Keeping As Close and Connected as Possible:
To feed, fuel, support, and nourish your dating (and maybe/hopefully/eventually married) relationship, there are some things you can do:
*Modify and normalize your expectations. As already explained, understand and accept that the initial infatuation of your relationship will calm down, and that is OK. And acceptable, natural, normal, and predictable.
*Own the need to make regular, persistent efforts to fuel and feed your relationship. Accept that relationships take work. It isn’t the other person’s job to be the full-time entertainment committee. BOTH sides need to make strong, regular efforts to feed and fuel the relationship. Ideally, both sides learn what the other most wants and needs in the relationship, and then work to give to the other accordingly (within reason).
*Learn about the opposite gender and what they tend to want, need, and feel, as well as what makes for healthy relationships in general. Then, apply these ideas to your relationship accordingly. Spend some regular time watching, listening to, or reading some quality information about gender and relationships. This will give you extra ideas and information to improve your understanding of and treatment of the other. Learn and implement accordingly. Good authors for this includes John Gray, Deborah Tannen, and Mark Gungor.
*Always remember that a relationship takes quality time and attention together. Plan some formal time together. Also, be opportunistic. When some spontaneous time suddenly becomes available, please take advantage of it. Quality time together is simply for the two of you together, interacting positively in an effort to enrich and strengthen your relationship. This is also called “bonding time”. These times can be in or out of the home, free or costing money. But ideally, they do not involve other/outside people. Quality time is, ideally, just the two of you. Sorry, no dogs or cats either.
*Talk nicely to each other: How talking and listening with each other goes will greatly determine how your relationship goes from there. Talk civilly, respectfully, softly, affectionately. Listen with empathy, understanding, patience, and interest. Open up about your inner world: your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations, longings, memories, painful/challenging experiences, etc. Ask about the other’s inner world as well and take an interest in them. Also, give and receive compliments well, as well as verbal affection, thank yous, expressing love, appreciation, admiration, and so on. Nourish each other with your words. Respectfully talk out differences and finding mutually agreeable solutions and compromises.
*Be physically affectionate: Giving regular positive physical affection is important. Hugs, pats, snuggling, caressing, kisses, and so on show warm, closeness, and caring. In marriage, a healthy, regular sex life is also very important and helps to bond couples emotionally and physically. Physical affection, when given regularly, helps the keep energy, spark, and passion in a relationship. When someone has had a negative history regarding physical affection or touching, getting some professional therapeutic help may be needed to strengthen and enjoy this part of your relationship together.
*Looking good for each other: making regular, reasonable efforts to look good when around your partner keeps the mutual attraction higher and keeps a spark in a relationship. Aim to try to keep your weight, health, and looks at least as good as you were when you met through diet, exercise, decent sleep, etc. Keep some good hygiene and fashion habits as well. In short, make an effort. Never “let yourself go”. Conversely, there is not a need to be extreme or obsessive about your looks, just that you make reasonable, regular efforts.
If you think of a relationship like a living organism, it needs to be fed regularly with proper and adequate nourishment. The ideas in this little article can help you feed your connection and keep you both close. It is important to be proactive and give your relationship (and hopeful future marriage) the best chance possible for success. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).