People come to couples counseling and marriage therapy for many reasons. One reason is that their relationship seems to be predictable, routine and void of spark or passion. Often these couples are best friends, love each other, and want to stay together but either one or both acknowledge that “something is missing” or one will say “I don’t feel like a priority to you anymore”. If children are in the picture, they often feel they are better “co-parents” than “lovers”.
Couples are so busy with work, raising children, paying bills, house responsibilities, volunteer work, staying connected with family members, trying to have a social life, and simply having time to go grocery shopping that quality time with a spouse or romantic partner usually goes to the bottom of the list. Even when they say that the relationship is the most important thing in their life! Although not intentional, it’s easy for the relationship to get put to the side
Where do we learn how to keep the passion alive? Not in school. For many, not from parents. We know that in order to have a beautiful garden, we need to plant, landscape and nourish it. But the important thing is that it will not maintain itself. This is the same for a relationship. The dating stage can be magnificent, with passion, great sex, and the ability to always be thinking about what to do together. This is all done naturally and with great ease. But it can change. The dating excitement is what we want to continue in a long term relationship and it is possible.
Couples therapy can provides a third person to mediate, direct and give the thoughts, exercises and skills to reconnect. The goal is to go forward resulting with more joy, contentment and passion for the relationship. In addition, to feel empowered that you’re giving time to what’s important and what you value in life.
I highly recommend Gregory J.P. Godek’s book “1001 Ways To Be Romantic”. What a find! Great inexpensive suggestions for anyone in a relationship. It includes ideas for having quality time together, how to make special occasions more special, activities that include music, chocolate, things to do at home, and so much more. It works for those of us who are not naturally, “romantic” but wish we were.
One suggestion, on her birthday, if you’re going to give a dozen red roses, make 11 of them red and one yellow. Attach a card that says ” You’re one in a million”. The book made such an impact that it was follow by another book “1001 More Ways to be Romantic”! I hear they are now combined and you can get “2010 Ways to be Romantic”!
The IMAGO model of therapy says, “If you want more love, be more loving”. “If you want more sex, be more sexual and initiate”. ” If you want more acts of kindness, give more acts of kindness”. Not only do you feel like you are being the person to initiate what you want but healthy people appreciate and reciprocate”. Of course trust and communication are essential…Good Luck with developing your romantic creativity and ability. It can make someone you love, including yourself, feel great!