One of the most enjoyable aspects of the beginning of a relationship is the infatuation phase. Often this time involves extremely powerful feelings of excitement, passion, obsession, daydreaming, butterflies, etc. The purpose of the infatuation phase of a relationship is to be a quick and powerful agent to bring people together and get things started and going. Endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin flow strongly and freely. It seems for a while that permanent bliss will be present forever and forever as two lovebirds soak in each other and cannot get enough. But then…
You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling:
In as short as a few months, these initial feelings of powerful excitement are bound to ease and lessen. When this happens, assuming that the relationship is decently healthy and respectful, it is not a sign of a problem. Instead, the lessening of infatuation is a reflection of the relationship maturing. The transition is normal and expected. As infatuation lessens, relationships transition to what is called more of a “companionate love”. A companionate relationship is characterized by stability, calm, security, comfort, and friendship.
Commonly, when infatuation lessens and a new relationship transitions in this way, the most important thing is deciding how to interpret what this change means. Again, if a relationship is decently healthy and respectful, then this is a natural, normal, healthy change. Therefore, embrace the change and see it is as positive evidence of growth, maturity, and the evolution of the relationship. No need to panic, get mad at the other person, be hard on yourself, or even worse, break up. After normalizing such changing feelings, the good news is that infatuation-like feelings can partly return with new additional efforts to bond and connect together over the years and decades.
Reigniting the spark:
Here are a few ideas to bring the spark back and keep it as much as possible:
1) Maintain physical affection: Kissing, cuddling, snuggling, hugs, back scratches, and so on can help to keep spark and connection strong and rejuvenated. Of course, striving to keep moral boundaries before marriage is a challenge as well. Allowing physical connections to wane can possibly alarm either partner and lead to questions about the relationship. How to keep a balance of appropriate premarital physical connection vs appropriate boundaries is an important element of both maintaining connection, while at the same time avoiding needing visits to the bishop to confess violations of the law of chastity.
2) Discuss: Talking together openly and supportively of each other and the relationship can be helpful. Normalizing the changes in the relationship can be helpful as well. Asking and answering questions securely and supportively minimizes anxiety, insecurity, and needless panic or even breakups.
3) Maintain verbal affection: Expressing love, caring, consideration, praise, thanks, and so on is very important to preserve as many butterflies as possible. Keeping kind, loving words flowing freely will keep your bond as strong as possible. Such words will also reassure other that such changes are normal with a more companionate relationship.
4) Do different things together: Keep the connection strong by going to new places and taking on new projects or hobbies together. Find new restaurants to go to, travel to new spots, and overall, try to vary what you do and where you go. Such variety will help lessen stale feelings in the relationship and ignite fun and stimulation.
5) Study: Regularly learn about what makes for healthy, thriving relationships. You can study alone or together. Not only will this normalize changes occurring in the relationship, but this study will also give you additional ideas of what to do and not do to stay strong, close, and connected.
Some decent books to consider reading:
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
That’s Not What I Meant! by Deborah Tannen
You Just Don’t Understand! by Deborah Tannen
6) Prayer: When the relationship changes and matures, prayer and inspiration can help you to feel comforted and assured that all is well, even when things feel differently. Remember that the scriptures review various “fruits of the Spirit”—helpful feelings you will enjoy when you have the Spirit through prayer. From Galatians 5:22-23 we read: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Such feelings will help you through insecure, changing times in the relationship.
Prayer and the resultant spiritual support that will follow can act as a buffer and a strengthener to handle these relational changes and fluctuations. Spiritual support is often an important key to this process of time and feelings changing.
Infatuation feels great, but it won’t last like the beginning--and that is ok. As you understand and work with this evolution, insecurity will minimize, and you will equip yourself well to go forward to a successful lifelong and eternal marriage. Have confidence, faith, and go make it happen. 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.
|2019-04-15||Shawn Gordon||Healthy relationships|
About the author
I am a founder of this site and as of May 2015 I am happily married to a wonderful LDS woman. I spent my years in the singles system as a singles rep working to optimize events and maximize the effectiveness of people interacting and finding someone to love. I studied psychology for years and my years as a software and business consultant have made me very adept at understanding people and their motivations. I hope to help others find that same happiness that I have.