Falling in love is easy… Staying in love takes work, compassion and forgiveness.
In the beginning of most relationships there’s this honeymoon phase if you will. Where you’re learning about each other, asking lots of questions, everything is new and exciting and the butterflies are flying…. This is what researchers would call the dopamine phase. But as time goes on, we enter into the gentler more nurturing stage of oxytocin or partner bonding. Now I can only speak from my personal experience and what research says. But for me, even though I love love my man and he’s my favorite person to be around, after years of being together I find myself not always having something to say on our dates. Maybe you’re in a similar predicament with your significant other.
Here are five ways to get the conversation going and deepen your relationship this fall!
1. Ask New Questions
Asking questions is always a good idea! Try ones that you may not have asked during the “getting to know you stage”
but would be fun to know or could deepen your emotional connection with your partner.
Some of our favorites are:
- What gives you hope?
- What makes you feel alive?
- What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Another fun option is to look up a list of questions and save them on your phone to ask on your date or dinner in!
Here’s an awesome list of 36 questions from The New York Times.
2. Practice Gratitude
Research is showing that grateful couples are more satisfied in their relationships and feel closer to each other. Moments of gratitude help peoplerecognize the value in their partners—and a valuable partner is worth holding onto, of course. Gratitude has also been known to create a “healthy cycle”.Grateful partners tend to practice more caring and attentive behavior, thus their partners tend to feel more appreciated and grateful for them. Then, they in return practice more caring and attentive behaviors as well.
Try sharing one or two things you’re grateful your partner does for you and why, and share one thing about who they are as a person you’re grateful for! Practicing gratitude out loud to your partner may seem uncomfortable at first, but like most things, it gets easier with practice and the benefits in your relationship are so worth it!
3. Choose a New Activity to Try Together
Not only will trying a new activity give you something new to talk about, but it also can bring some of that dopamine back into the relationship!
You could go rock climbing, take a fun vacation together, go to a sports game, or play a video game together. It just needs to be something you’d both enjoy! My partner and I recently started playing pickleball with his parents.
4. Dream About the Future Together
Dreaming together about the future is one of the ways in which you reaffirm your commitment to each other and to your life together. Making plans and setting goals helps you grow together, not apart, because you are both moving toward the same future. And dreams provide the glue that keeps you working together. They give you a purpose to your everyday activities.
5. Explore Your Love Languages
Maybe you already know each other’s “love languages”, or maybe you’ve never heard of this before.Either way, it's fun to take the quiz to find out! And then talk about your results.
Although demanding that your partner love you a certain way is never healthy, it can be a very helpful tool to know how the other person tendsto express love and feel loved, bringing you into a deeper connection.