Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Hey, psst, wanna secret for keeping love alive and your relationship going strong year after year? I got one for you...
There’s a lot of talk about the honeymoon period, the glory days when you’re first in love. We talk about that as if there were some magic about those days, weeks, months. A magic that, we’re told, inevitably fades. It’s almost as if we were hypnotized into thinking there’s no alternative to falling into the dull, gray routine of a long-term relationship.
This is a mistake, and it’s wrong.
That magic of the early days was just a magic trick. It was a trick based on newness. When we say, “I love him; I’m just not in love with him,” this is usually as statement about the departure of the newness. There is something about new experiences that gets our attention and makes us aroused.
That’s why we travel. When we go to a new city or a new part of the world, the newness of it wakes us up, shakes us up. Our senses come alive.
Falling in love is like traveling to a new place. Being in a relationship is like moving to that place, buying a house there, getting a job there, and commuting to work there every single day for twenty years. Suddenly Florence isn’t so intoxicating any more.
But this is good news for those of us who are in a relationship for the long haul. Want to bring back that falling-in-love feeling? The more ways you can make things new, the closer you’ll get to that.
How exactly do you fill out this prescription to “make things new”?
Let me flip that around: every time you do the same thing or do something the same way, you’re not making things new. So that’s the secret: ABMC. Always Be Making Change. Permanent revolution.
Now the minute any of us think about this, we see why we’ve been having a problem. There’s a huge part of us that doesn’t want to be making things new. Maybe my partner and I like having angel hair pasta with clam sauce Monday nights. Maybe we like watching a movie every night!
The fact is that with every couple, through experiment, you guys have figured out what works for you and what doesn’t work, and so you keep on doing what works. Why do we so often eat out at Ernie’s when there are so many other good restaurants out there? Because Ernie’sconsistently gives us the best dining experience.
And that’s why and how we quite unconsciously choose to stop falling madly in love with each other and start embracing the familiar.
So we not only have to keep making things new. We have to let go of the hold comfort has on us. Comfort is great, but it’s not the road falling in love, and while you can have both things, you can’t dedicate yourselves to both paths.
Embracing the new means taking a lot of risks. If there weren’t risk, it wouldn’t be the new that we were talking about. But embrace the new anyway.
The more new things you do together, the more new ways you do the things you already do, the fresher you’ll seem to one another and the more falling-in-love-type feelings will come to you.
All artists understand that you don’t wait for inspiration before you create. No. Instead you get to work, and then inspiration comes to you. In the same way, you can’t wait for falling in love with each other again to happen. But if you keep things new, you give it the best chance to happen.
And if you--reading this right now!--have an idea that's worked for you for how to make things new in a relationship, we'd all love to hear. Leave your idea in the comments sections below! And thanks...