A recent marketing book I read touted the importance of getting potential clients to "know you, like you and trust you." It seems that marketing and romance have more in common than meets the eye: In the world of marketing you're trying to convince someone your product or service is worthwhile; in the world of romance you're trying to do the same for yourself.

If you and your partner didn't like each other, your relationship probably wouldn't have survived for any significant length of time.

The importance of LIKE in your marriage or relationship

Adults seem to focus more on the experience of the love than like. It's implied that if you are heading down the path of love, you already like the person--though at some point you can love someone yet dislike them (ask the parent of many a teenage child, for example).

Does your spouse or partner still like you?

Although it might not be the stuff of Hollywood movies, falling in like (and out of like) is an important part of your romantic journey. Couples who get into trouble fall out of like long before they fall out of love--often without realizing it. For some reason, the importance of liking one another is overlooked once love takes over the romantic landscape—this is a significant relationship faux pas.

You can still love your partner while having momentary lapses in like--couples argue and fight all the time (and rarely like each other in these moments), but at the end of the day love and commitment remains intact. As one wife recently said to her husband during a counseling session, "You’re lucky I love you, because right now I can't stand you!"

But you shouldn't be fooled into thinking that love is all you need—It’s just as important that you and your partner like each other (most of the time, anyway). When like totally vanishes, the safety net of love is in danger of eroding. Momentary lapses in liking your partner is one thing, falling out of like is a different ball game.

Take the Necessary Steps to Keep Like Alive

When couples are first dating, they make it a habit to put their best foot forward. These efforts are directed toward increasing their likeability factor. Just think back for a moment when you were first dating your partner/spouse. Even if you both had a natural, magnetic chemistry, you probably didn't just rely on this mystical attraction. I’m betting you exerted extra effort to get your partner to like you.

Do you continue to act in ways that make you likeable?

People often choose their friends because they like them. When you like another person, the relationship remains interesting and fun. Liking someone brings out the best in you. It’s human nature to distance yourself physically and emotionally from someone you don’t like. Time and time again I hear couples talk about feeling trapped in their relationship—still in love and committed to one another, but they don’t find things to like about each other anymore. When this occurs, they begin to close themselves off emotionally from each other.

What have you done recently to prevent this from happening to your relationship?

How can you make liking each other as much of a priority as loving each other?

Think of it this way: If you don’t like someone, what’s the point of waiting around for love to strike? And this is applicable to people already in loving relationships: don’t let love become a type of blind loyalty for you. Remember all the things you first liked about your partner (before you began loving him/her). Celebrate those things regularly so you can keep like alive in your marriage or relationship. This provides the dual benefit of keeping your partner a unique individual in your eyes, as well as strengthening the love between you.

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Author's Bio: 

Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. is a psychologist and relationship coach who is passionate about helping couples protect the sanctuary of their relationship. Rich and his wife Lucia founded LifeTalk Coaching, an internet-based coaching business that helps couples strengthen their relationships.

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