Relationships have 2 basic phases. In the first phase, relationships are new, exciting, and exhilarating. Often, partners become very infatuated, even obsessed with the other. Hence, this phase is often called the “infatuation phase”. Time together is often intoxicating, and time away is spent longing to be together once more as soon as possible. This stimulating phase often lasts anywhere from 6-12 months, sometimes less, sometimes more. Rarely does this phase last longer than about 2 years. The strong instinct and emotion of this stage powers a couple to bond together in an emotional and physical way. The infatuation phase literally bridges the gap from meeting each other to being committed and settled together as a stable couple. It is very important and enjoyable, yet will not last. At least not like it was when the relationship is new. That only occurs once.
Then, after this newness and excitement wears off to a notable degree, the relationship calms down. If this calming of excitement reveals a weak, hollow, superficial, or even unhealthy relationship, such relationships often fall apart and break up at this time. There was not enough health, bonding, and overall compatibility to allow the relationship to continue. In other words, such relationships lack staying power. Certain glue is needed to allow a relatinship to keep going over the years, decades, and as we understand as fellow members, eternity. In this little article, several ideas and suggestions will be given to assist you with strengthening a relationship to have staying power after the initial excitement fades and real, regular life sets in. As the old saying goes, “the honeymoon is over”.
Strengthening the Staying Power of a Relationship:
*Spend regular spiritual time together. Such positive spiritually bonding time together includes things like reading scriptures, praying, attending church, watching conference, going to the temple, etc. As you do regular spiritually uplifting activities together, spirituality increases and at the same time, couples become closer and more bonded.
*Spend regular quality time together. This is time dedicated to be spent exclusively as a couple, with no one else. Friends are not invited, and younger kids and taken care of by family or babysitters. This quality time could be spent at home together or away, and it could involve spending some money or being free. It could involve doing something fun, relaxing, or it might involve doing a work project together. The important thing is that you do it together and you use that time to bond, talk, interact, and get closer.
*Give each other regular affection. There are three main kinds of affection. “Verbal affection” involves expressing love, caring, concern, thank yous, appreciation, admiration, praise, and so on. “Non-sexual physical affection” is just that—physical affection apart from sexual activity, such as hugs, cuddling, snuggling, holding hands, and so on. And finally “sexual affection” involves sexual activity together. As church members we reserve that for marriage due to the law of chastity. However, once married, it is important to remember that sexual affection and expression together is very important to bond, nourish, and nurture a marriage, and should be prioritized and engaged in accordingly.
*Have regular, quality conversations together. This involves discussing below the surface and deeper topics, issues, and feelings. Such below the surface discussions may involve such things as thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, aspirations, longing, memories of positive or painful experiences, fears, wishes, and goals. Talking about and listening to such topics regularly with interest, support, and respect not only bonds a couple stronger together, but it also helps partners know, understand, and relate to each other. Such conversations can happen anywhere. The important thing is for this to be regular and for it to be done openly, respectfully, and civilly.
*Learn to talk out differences and arguments constructively and productively. To assertively talk things out involves civil, respectful, open, honest, and direct communication on relevant important issues and topics. To be aggressive is to be open, honest, and direct, but at the expense of the other’s feelings. To be passive is to talk civilly and respectfully, but without being fully open and honest in an attempt to avoid conflict. Both of those styles of communication need to be minimized. Conversely, to speak and listen to differences assertively will not only help couples work through and resolve conflicts, but it will also bond couples closer together. It will help them feel like an effective team that is mainly devoted to getting along, collaborating, and compromising.
Infatuation lessens over time. All that is left in a newer relationship will then be a friendship and how each partner treats each other from there. When both sides commit to and work towards strengthening their bond together, a more “companionate” love is forged that gives true staying power to the relationship. Sure, romance and passion are still there, but in a more mature, somewhat predictable way. Storms are weathered, differences are navigated, and emotions stay close and loving. Feed your relationship to give it staying power. This will allow you to remain together not only for the rest of this life, but forever in eternity. Such is the way it was meant to be. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2021-05-30||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships, Marriage preparation, Communication|
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org).