Love at first sight? Yes, it can happen. But when we buy into the idea that love can only happen in a spontaneous, earth-shaking fireworks display, we can close the door to allowing love to bloom and blossom in its own time. Knowing how to keep a relationship alive can open doors to deeper and more meaningful connection – but to get there, we need to know what to do.
How to keep a relationship alive
A relationship is like a tender sapling.
It needs nourishing and feeding, light, warmth and cherishing; it needs stamina and commitment to strengthen it so it becomes resilient in the path of outer circumstances which could blow it off course. It needs space and air and tender care, it needs understanding, and good and fertile ground in which to put its root down. And as it grows, we need to prune away the dead wood and keep the live wood where the buds are forming and developing.
Today I want to explore how love can grow and evolve over time – even in relationships that have faced challenges, rocky patches, or resentment.
- What has to happen to keep love alive?
- How do you turn a relationship into an adventure and a delight rather than a downward spiral, set in its ways?
- How do you nurture and expand the potential so it becomes a fully passionate and joyful journey of discovery, intimacy and truth?
When love feels easy
All of us at some time or another have been in that special relationship – we are in love, it’s like the sparkling river of life, there’s joy, there’s laughter, there’s passion and desire, everything seems brighter, clearer and more vital.
Above all there’s a feeling of being connected, a oneness with your beloved, a connection from heart to heart rather than from head to head.
You look at that person and you see their true nature. You see all the good in them. There’s an openness, a trust, an honesty, a goodness – almost childlike – with nothing in the way. The world around you looks wonderful, you want to love everyone, and you feel that this could last forever.
Over time, however, it can be as if you lose sight of the person and the life force within them which so attracted you in the first place.
- You no longer just see their good points; you begin to see bad points that you didn’t notice before.
- You begin to focus on your differences; your analytical mind comes in now.
- You focus even more on what’s wrong with the relationship – they have such annoying habits!
- You begin to hold things against them; resentments, grudges, even hostility can arise.
The barriers go up between the two of you and you begin to live once again in your individual world of separate realities. Once again you feel lonely, alienated, hurt, disappointed, misunderstood; your barriers of self-protection go up even more as you are constantly on guard against the possible onslaught, and you are defensive from the moment you wake up in the morning.
Now you begin to spend a lot of time thinking about what’s wrong with the relationship, what’s wrong with the other person, and how you can fix it.
You have these head to head discussions that end in emotional upsets and everyone feeling even worse, until finally you’re left with only one solution.
So what’s really going on?
Let’s slow down and really see what’s happening.
The truth is you have stopped having a relationship with the miracle of life that is in the person in front of you. Whether it’s right or wrong, it has become a relationship with your thoughts.
We get triggered by things happening which remind us of problems in our previous relationships – but actually have nothing to do with the person you are with right this moment.
When you first saw that person, you saw them without the contamination of your analytical mind – you probably saw them as they really are, with their true nature. Spending time with our thoughts rather than our partner even when we are supposed to be with them, never allows for potential to emerge.
We don’t wait to see the person grow before we jump in with our judgments.
So ask yourself: “Do I want to have a relationship with my negative thoughts, or do I want to have a relationship with the Life in that person so that we can evolve together?”
That doesn’t mean changing who you really are, but evolving and growing in the presence of the other, and with their energy, to help you grow and expand your life.
When you stop making assumptions about the other and just allow the other person to unfold in all their magnificence, it is like witnessing a rose opening petal by petal as you encourage its vitality and beauty.
Explore this miraculous being by asking inquisitive questions that are positive to draw out the best qualities in them and find out what lights them up.
Our tendency is always to focus on the negative and talk about the darkest moments in life as if that will create a connection – it will of course, but not one that brings joy to the relationship.
8 questions to help you reconnect to your partner
Try asking these questions and listening openly to the answers. You might be surprised what emerges when you give your partner the space to respond.
- What did you like doing when you were a child?
- What are your happiest memories?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What are your needs as a man/woman?
- What are your individual needs?
- If I were to give you a magic wand, what would you really like?
- What little things make you feel good?
- What makes you feel loved – is it by being told, being bought gifts, being given surprises, being held and made love to? Being left little notes? Find their needs and make them your needs, not by becoming a pleaser but by the sheer joy of lighting up someone else’s life – if they are doing it for you too, what a magnificent journey you can have together.
Does this mean that you will end up forever with this person? There is nothing guaranteed in love and life and it may just run its course, but at least you will enjoy the journey far more.
You see, we can never learn love. We can only remove the barriers that block love from coming in, and from us expressing it.
Fashion Designer | Grandmother | Dancer
One of many master coach and trainer Susie Heath is an expert in love and intimacy and an internationally acclaimed author and speaker. She has been a buyer for Marks and Spencer, a shoe designer, a horticulturist featured at the Chelsea Flower Show and more.
Now, as a coach and trainer she has has worked personally with hundreds of men and women, helping them reawaken their authentic selves with her profound coaching and movement workshops.