A common email request I receive daily is a question about how to make love last, specifically passionate love. Here’s one from Jo in Chicago:
“I'm crazy about my live-in boyfriend but worried about making it last! Already, we don’t make love as often. Help--what do I do to keep the spark going?"
Jo you are not alone. Keeping the passion of love going is the holy grail of all relationships. And believe it or not, researchers and clinicians like me have spent decades studying the specific behaviors that are common to long-lasting, PASSIONATE and loving marriages. Yes, they exist and they have SECRETS we can learn from them about making REAL love last.
These habits are what I want you to cultivate whether you're: just dating; wanting to deepen your relationship; in a more committed couple; or already married. In my new relationship advice book, Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love, I devote an entire chapter to the Eight Habits of Love, which are the keys to making a relationship hot and happy "forever." We don't have room here to cover them all so let's look at just one of the eight habits that is detailed in the book and at a couple of exercises that you can use to make your relationship better than ever.
SECRET #1: The Habit of Care-Full Communication
Notice that I spelled the word "careful" with two "L"s. When couple's words and actions are full of care, they are more likely to be the lucky ones who stay in love. In fact, the renowned love researcher, Dr. John Gottman, has observed this in thousands of happy couples. His research, as well as that published by my husband and I, find loving couples liberally use four insurance factors when they communicate with one another:
In-love partners, whether they have been together one month or 25 years, maintain a ratio of 5 of these positives to 1 negative interaction in their relationship. This ratio of positive and loving behaviors coupled with acts of kindness provides a bedrock of connection and win-win teamwork. Below are two exercises that will help you and your partner cultivate the care-full communication that leads to happy relationships.
It is especially important to try these exercises AND MORE if things are rocky between you. Relationships can end in a heartbeat.
The Five to One Process
Read over this exercise with your partner.
For the next hour or so when you are talking or hanging out together, try to act the way you usually do. But take two notebooks and each one of you write down the number of positive or negative words/gestures you yourself are making toward your partner. Take another hour and deliberately double the positives.
After this, discuss the experience together. You may find yourselves rolling with laughter. This is good! Not taking things so seriously will set you both free of your negative patterns.
On your own, track the number of positive word/gestures you put out to your partner. Now, double the amount. Now triple it, and watch what happens. If you keep it up, eventually you will get positives coming back to you. Practice giving and receiving them!
It is very critical to create care-full communication with your partner. Attention to and practice of this skill will go a long way to creating a lasting love relationship. Otherwise you risk losing it all. To learn more about the other seven habits that promote lasting love, pick up a copy of my new relationship advice book, Sealing the Deal. Then get many, many, wonderful bonus gifts from top self-help and relationship experts instantly at Lovein90days.com.
Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. is a frequent guest psychologist on The Today Show & author of the highly acclaimed new book, “Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love” as well as the best-selling author of “Love in 90 Days.” Dr. Diana’s revolutionary work is the basis of her PBS Special on love. Connect with Dr. Diana through her FREE Relationship and Dating Advice Newsletter