What were you doing? Was there a man in your life around that time?
How much can you remember about him?
What feelings come up when you think about him?
Do you miss him?
It’s amazing how sparks fade over time.
No matter how you felt about him then, there’s probably not much feeling left now.
Regardless of whether you hated him passionately or loved him passionately, he’s not relevant to your life today. You’ve moved on. You’re a different person. He’s probably a different person, too.
Now imagine that you were still together, 10 years later. How do you think you’d feel about him now?
Do you think you’d feel the same as you remember feeling all those years ago?
Feelings change. People change. Situations change.
It’s quite remarkable to find a couple that feels EXACTLY the same about each other now as they did 10 years previously.
That’s why one of the least steady foundations for a life together…
Are your feelings about one another.
When I tell couples this, they’re shocked.
After all, the whole reason they got together was their feelings about each other.
They felt something special. Something they’d never felt before with anyone else.
Something so compelling they knew they had to be together for life.
So they got married. Or made a commitment.
They took those special feelings as a thumbs-up from the universe, approving their choice of each other as a life partner.
Fast forward ten years. Or even just a few years.
He asks her to sit down. He says, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I think we’re better off as friends.”
That special feeling is gone. It’s been gone for a while. It feels like it’s never coming back.
That scenario is incredibly common. It happens to a LOT of couples.
So what should you do when the spark fades?
Is it proof you’re not meant to be together after all?
One of the great leaps in relationship maturity happens when you realize that it’s not about how you FEEL towards each other. For long-term relationships it’s about how you ACT towards each other.
Feelings come and go. You don’t have much control over them.
But you always get to choose how you act.
Couples in happy, lasting relationships know better than to let their passing feelings dictate how they treat each other.
Rather than relying on feelings, they rely on a code of conduct. A set of principles that governs how they communicate and interact.
It’s as if they make a vow:
“This is how I will always behave towards my partner, no matter how I feel.”
Don’t feel loving? Doesn’t matter. Act lovingly.
Don’t feel respectful? Doesn’t matter. Act respectfully.
Don’t feel appreciative? Doesn’t matter. Show appreciation.
They don’t leave their behavior to chance. They don’t give themselves permission to react impulsively. They’re conscious and careful with one another, recognizing how delicate and precious a long-term relationship can be.
It’s incredible how fast a relationship can go downhill once one partner decides it’s okay to yell or hurl insults or scoff or mock.
Bad behavior is contagious. Even the nicest, gentlest person can find herself saying or doing nasty things in self-defense.
Strong couples recognize this. So they set some ground rules.
Even if they’re super-mad, they won’t rage at each other. They’ll find a way to communicate respectfully, even if it means taking a break first.
Strong couples also recognize that the spark is going to fade.
If they wait until they FEEL loving to ACT lovingly, they’ll be waiting forever.
So they make a habit of acting lovingly.
Of doing the nice things that make a relationship pleasurable.
Rubbing each other’s shoulders. Making each other a cup of coffee. Taking each other out for a special evening.
Less experienced couples who see other couples behaving this way might think they’re doing all those nice things for each other because they’re in love.
They don’t realize that mature couples do those things because love dies without loving actions.
If you talk to a couple that’s struggling, a couple that’s lost that loving feeling, it’s my bet you’ll see a couple that stopped taking loving actions towards each other.
They don’t act lovingly; therefore, they don’t feel loving.
Feelings follow actions.
So don’t worry about the spark fading. It happens.
But it will always come back if you put in the work.
The work of loving each other as a way of creating your destiny together.