Love, love, love. The very idea of a love that lasts forever is the stuff of award-winning songs, the dominating inspiration of most poetry, and the indomitable engine behind the #1 publishing genre of all times (romance).
Plus, experts continue to tout the numerous health benefits of being in love.
But, contrasted with this is the whole 50% divorce rate issue, and the fact that so many couples are so dissatisfied and just can’t seem to get along.
Sure, you hear the stories about people who’ve been married since the turn of the century or whatever, but are successful, long-lasting unions really possible for the majority of us?
“We are born to love,” writes anthropologist and author of Why We Love, Helen Fisher. “That feeling of elation that we call romantic love is deeply embedded in our brains. But can it last?”
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, which compared brain regions activated in individuals in long-term romantic partnerships with individuals who had recently fallen in love, it was discovered that couples can not only love for long periods of time, but they can stay in love.
Here are three ways that experts say couples can keep love going, and going, and going…
1. Learn Together
According to mental health experts, when you learn something interesting and new, it sparks something in you that is very much akin to desire. Similarly, successful couples can tap into this and keep the relationship interesting by not being afraid to experience new things together.
Which activities? It doesn’t really matter. Just make the effort to keep learning and growing as a couple.
2. Don’t Forget Who You Are
Many people, especially women, often fall into a dangerous pattern of pushing their lives off to the side and letting their relationships dominate everything. The problems with this are, a) you make yourself less of a priority, which isn’t fair to you, and can often lead to resentment, and b) this tendency can lead to depending too much on another person for your happiness and well-being, which isn’t fair to you or your partner, and can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction…and becoming annoyingly needy.
Plus, being more confident and owning who you are can actually be an extremely sexy thing to your partner:
“When I see my partner on their own, doing the thing in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift of perception and I stay open to the mysteries that are standing right next to each other,” says psychologist and Mating in Captivity author Esther Perel.
3. Understand The Real Reason You’re In A Relationship
In olden times, people mostly got matched up for security and safety. But these aren’t as much the dominating factors today. These days, people get married because they want to feel personally fulfilled through companionship with someone special.
According to experts, this is actually a very good thing, since a marriage based on seeking fulfillment has a much better chance of actually being successful and, well, fulfilling.
The trick to making this work? Investing time and energy into the relationship, and communicating with each other honestly about expectations and needs.