How To Renew Love In A Long-Term Relationship

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new Ursula K. LeGuin

A romantic relationship is a wonderful thing. Renewing love between couples is often neglected entirely and most will end up separating after discord has begun, before having even tried to reconnect.

The feeling of falling in love is something most will aspire to experience. The subconscious need to make that reviving connection and the emotional satisfaction it comes with has made for the most popular topic of western music at the turn of the century. With love being such a desired emotion we wish to kindle in order to form a committal relationship, why does it so often end poorly with discord and resentment? Whether these issues arise in the newly developed romance or later on, it can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of the individuals involved.

Falling In Love

Professor of psychology, Stephanie Ortigue at Syracuse University, reveals in her study, “The Neuroimaging of Love” that falling in love only takes one-fifth of a second, and once it happens, the emotions it can provoke are just as exhilarating as those that of a cocaine high. This itself should show the benefits of renewing love.

The other quintessential aspect that the experts discuss is the misconception of love coming from your heart, though it may feel so, love is actually developed and triggered in your brain and is the corresponding reason as to why one may suffer from depression at the stake of it failing.

Dr. Farzana Mohideen-Botes, a clinical psychiatrist at the Akeso Clinic in Milnerton suggests the following,

“Sometimes our yearning for idealized love, to be adored unconditionally, to be fully met by our beloved is unrealistic. Our expectations set us up to fail. Often, we demand from our partners that which we needed, and perhaps didn’t receive, as very young children.”

With this in mind the greatest task at hand is to perceive, as adults, what it is we can use to develop our relationships and form those bonds that rationalize our expectations. Renewing love requires patience and dedication from both parties.

Dr. Mohideen-Botes further goes on to explain the key components she believes are essential for a long-lasting and healthy relationship including:

Respect
Friendship
Compromise
Trust
Communication

More often than not, these modules do not come with ease and have to be taught, many aspects of what makes an adult relationship, often come from the inner child.

“We forget that we need to be playing, have fun, laugh and have a sense of humor. Just to be able to play together is really important for any relationship.”

The Key Elements For An Exciting Long-Term Relationship

Intimacy

One of the first connections one often craves with their newfound partner is intimacy, however, it also seems to be the main cause for detachment and separation later on. It is easy to get distracted when a stable foundation in the relationship has been formed, ones daily routine is often stressful and tiring and time can rarely be set aside for reconnecting on a physical level.

Physical touch with another human stimulates the release of your love hormone, oxytocin. This does not only apply to sexual partners, but for all relationships, including that of your family and friends. It is a key component in renewing love for one another.

Dr. Mohideen-Botes feels that this physical connection between loved ones is often lacking and advises them strongly to reform those bonds regularly in order to maintain stable and healthy relationships:

“I tell couples and families to hug often and hug long.”

With life often getting in the way of your personal re-connections, it is stressed that making the time to be intimate is the most effective way to be together. Prioritise it as you would a meeting or doctors appointment. The dates do not have to be expensive, going for a walk, having a picnic or star-gazing are all affordable options that give you the occasion to be romantic.

“It is easier to prevent a relationship breaking down than to fix it after.”

Attraction

A frequent topic of discussion with regards to the attraction between a couple is whether or not like-minded people attract one another or rather those who are completely unalike. It has been regularly debated and analyzed as a theory, and so from there stemmed the commonly used expression today, “Do opposites attract?”

Dr. Mohideen-Botes explains how the answer is within both extremes.

“In a healthy relationship there needs to be enough difference between the partners to keep it interesting, but enough similarities to keep it safe. It’s like the excitement of a brand new world but also the comfort of your well-loved blankie.”

The bases of a stable and safe relationship allow for a platform on which adventure can grow from. Renewing love from that stage can always come with a lot more ease.

What Makes For An Unhealthy Relationship

Once communication and intimacy start to fall away, people begin to feel very lonely with their partnership.

Where healthy relationships affirm us and give us strength, unhealthy relationships break down our emotional security and leave us vulnerable. It is through that means that one will often seek comfort elsewhere, whether it is through an affair or another form of reckless behavior, the consequence of not stabilizing our emotional bonds can cause severe depression and anxiety.

If the relationship does come to an end, being surrounded by your friends and family and having the support will allow you to mourn in a healthy environment, using that time to focus on yourself and work on your own personal happiness is the most effective way to move past the hurt.

“The first thing you should do to deal with and mentally recover from a broken relationship is to commit to a lasting, kind, loving relationship with yourself.”

Renewing Love

relationship | Longevity LiveRenewing love is often overlooked, however, many committal relationships are often worth repairing says Dr. Wallace Goddard, Professor of family life from the University of Arkansas says ,

“If commitment is primarily about attraction for the couple, a helper such as a family life educator might invite them to think about the best times in their relationship. If commitment is largely based on moral obligation, a helper might invite them to think about the promises they have made. If their commitment is based on constraint, a helper might invite them to think about the effects of relationship failure on their family and friends…
Of course, there are some destructive relationships that need to end. But most relationships probably need a tune­up rather than a trade­ in.”

Relationships are a two-way street and communication is indispensable if one wants to reconstruct the fragmented bond. The ability to speak openly with both honesty and trust can allow for each partner to admit to their faults, flaws, and guilt within a non-judgemental environment.

Dr. Mohideen-Bote stresses the importance of a healthy communication platform:

“One may commit the act of infidelity and carries more responsibility, but there were also certain things in that relationship that was out of balance and which need to be addressed. Couples need to be aware that if they want the relationship to continue, both parties need to work on the issue and let it go. An affair cannot be used as a whip every time there is a problem.”

The dedication and time needed in renewing love is a commitment within itself, it requires self-exploration and understanding before it is possible to do such for another. With great persistence, it’s something that anyone can achieve in their relationships and have the lifelong love they often dream of having.

“To love and to be loved in return is a gift that should be cherished. To live a witnessed life with another frail, brave human being demands mutual respect, trust, compromise, and compassion. The best way to learn to love another is to love yourself first.”

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Spending Time with Family and Loved Ones…You Will Never Regret It!

Happy family of father mother son and daughter smiling looking out wall isolated on white background with copy place

I am blessed with a husband that taught me the importance of making memories and spending time with family and loved one. I hope that you are able to spend time with your family and loved ones this holiday season. If not, I hope that you will make sure that they know of your love for them!

Today, I want to share a story I love!:

by Stephen on October 14, 2008

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.”

Story shared from the following website: http://academictips.org/blogs/give-time-to-our-family/

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 5

You Find What You Look For

I took last Friday off to spend some much needed time with my family prior to my son’s wedding on Saturday. Thank you for understanding!

Because of that family time, I am finishing my attitude of gratitude series today.

The quote I used on today’s meme tells it all: You Find What You Look For.

What a profound statement! I remember so vividly the night that I had my near-death experience. It was proceeded by a phone call from a bill collector. My severe depression and 24/7 migraines had created chaos of our business and finances. I was not able to keep up and several large clients filing bankruptcy had had a profound effect on our bank account.

I tried to explain to the bill collector that I was suffering from severe depression and 24/7 migraines in hopes that she would be more willing to work with me. Instead, she said, in the snidest tone of voice she could find, “You are depressed and sick because you want to be depressed and sick.”

That conversation was the last straw for my depressed mind that horrible, horrible day so many years ago. Thank goodness for the Divine Intervention that followed that night!

I have learned many things since that day. I have walked a path of healing and I have searched and studied hard. I am no longer depressed and I no longer have 24/7 headaches. I now have the health of someone much younger than my actual age. Nothing about my current situation is an accident. It came as a result of learning and following God’s guidance step by step.

Though I did not consciously choose depression or my headaches, I did have to learn a different mindset to overcome my depression. I had to deliberately look for light and goodness. I had to consciously recognize and acknowledge all that I had to be grateful for. And, I had to commit to using those new found skills for the rest of my life. The result? My life and health is better than it ever has been!

Thus far, we have talked about Depending on God, Delving into the Depths of Your Soul (Getting to truly know yourself), and having an Attitude of Gratitude. Those are the first three steps for overcoming depression.

There are no quick fixes. The law of the harvest is as applicable today as it ever has been. The rest of this week, we will share how the use of exercise can help overcome depression. Be sure to stay tuned! I hope you will enjoy today’s article on using gratitude to overcome depression:

Gratitude – A Cure for Depression?

This Is No Fun

Depression is no fun… none at all, I hated it. Obsession isn’t any fun either… all that relentless going over what happened, who said what, who did what, and how unfair it all was.

After a major life crisis I spent the next year, though it felt a whole lot longer, pretty much laying around on the couch bemoaning my life and feeling hopeless, pointless, angry, depressed, bitter and also quite a bit righteous. After all, I was the victim wasn’t I?

There’s A Train in My Brain

train-timemachine_640

It felt like I had a train in my brain going around and around carrying a relentless pattern of sad, mad, thoughts. I could not turn those thoughts off, could hardly sleep, and found it hard to think about anything else. The train was full of pain and every time it went around I hurt.

When I looked into the future and imagined living with that train long term it made me feel like jumping off a tall building. Fortunately I didn’t even have the energy to climb to the top of one.

Eventually I got desperate enough to go out and look for a way to change things that did not involve tall buildings.

So That’s How My Brain Works

I happened upon a course that taught me about how my brain works, what neural pathways are, and how flexible and changeable the brain is. During the course I had a profoundly life changing epiphany:

“You find what you look for.”

Those six little words changed the way I live my life.

Backtrack

To backtrack a little: I best explain that even during the worst of my depression/obsession I had been very, very, familiar with gratitude as an concept – I loved it.

I had a gratitude journal (mostly empty) and two of my daughters, Georgia & Hailey, had popular online gratitude projects. Unbelievably, given my mental state, Hailey and I had even written a short comedy film script about gratitude. Still, my gratitude journal sat lonely by my bed while I waited, not very hopefully, for something good to happen, something worth being grateful for.

Why Gratitude Works

While the course was not really about gratitude, the science that was presented in the course opened my eyes as to why and how gratitude could work to alleviate depression and why it had not worked for me so far. I began to understand that it isn’t, as I had thought, being happy that makes us grateful; it is deciding to be grateful that makes us happy (Thanks for that wisdom Dr David!).

I began to see that the intentional practice of gratitude, even when you don’t feel like it, has the power to change entrenched negative thinking and rewire the brain.

Very tentatively, and with some difficulty at first, I began to practice gratitude. In a surprisingly short period of time that relentless train in my head was mostly derailed and my depression faded off into the distance.

There are many reasons that gratitude worked for me, here are just a few:

Other Orientation

Brain rules Dr. John Madina

Gratitude practice forced me to start thinking about other people and the way they contributed to my life. I had less time to wallow, gazing at my navel and more time to notice how many kindnesses I was regularly shown. I’d been so self focused that I just took them for granted and didn’t even notice them.

Dr John Medina, author of the NY Times Bestseller ‘Brain Rules’ spoke, during an interview film for our (still in production) documentary Goodness Gracious Me!, about how effective ‘other orientation’ is for getting out of depression.

Lots of Good Chemicals

I found gratitude practice reduced my stress levels almost immediately. There is so much science backing this up – research shows that gratitude practice reduces the stress hormone cortisol and dramatically increases the feel good hormone DHEA. There is nothing like an all natural ‘happy chemical’ cocktail to make you feel better. You might enjoy this page on the Science behind gratitude.

New Tracks

It turned out I did have a train in my brain going around and around on tracks I had laid for it: neural pathways! These little guys are the highways for information travelling through our nervous system and they are built by our own thoughts. It works, very simplistically put, like this: Thoughts create neural pathways and the more thoughts on a subject the stronger that neural pathway becomes. Our brains have to automate most of our thinking just to get through the day so the strongest neural pathways are the default thinking. My nasty, sad, self pitying and angry thoughts had created a super highway and it was no wonder I couldn’t think about much else.

As I began to deliberately think grateful, thankful, good thoughts the more my brain began to think positively and the less traction the old super highway depression pathway had. In time I found it more natural to default to a positive take on things that happened.

Different Picture

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When I said I had had an epiphany around the six little words “You find what you look for.” I meant it.

Just simply deciding each day to look for the good in my life, and express gratitude for it, has meant that my life has become filled with good. The more I look for good things in my life the more my brain becomes alert to good things, scans for good things, and finds good things.

It is hard to be depressed when there is so much good around. Previously my brain was wired to scan for bad, and it was exceptionally good at finding it.

Named My Own Game

Once I understood how my own thoughts could play a part in depression I realized that I was often making the choice to replay certain things for a variety of self-serving reasons.

Firstly I had developed a victim mentality – starring in a victim role comes easily to me and I have learned to become more aware of it, avoiding it as often as possible. Bad stuff happens to everyone and it is my choice if I let myself play the victim.

Gratitude teaches me that I am not a victim but the undeserving recipient of so much beauty and grace.

Gratitude is an instantly rewarding practice that gave me positive emotions that transitioned me to a place where I was stronger emotionally and able to be a little more self controlled.

Another game I was playing was the sympathy game – if you are depressed people treat you kindly and give you sympathy – yay! Gratitude is teaching me to give empathy to others and stop making myself the center of my own, and everyone else’s, attention. I also began to glimpse how draining on everyone my misery was – not a pretty sight.

I also secretly enjoyed knowing that I did not have to be strong and self controlled if I was rolling in my own misery. Everyone understands that when you are miserable it’s hard to be strong and so there is tolerance for much self indulgent behaviour. Gratitude is an instantly rewarding practice that gave me positive emotions that transitioned me to a place where I was stronger emotionally and able to be a little more self controlled.

My own experience tells me that gratitude is a powerful antidote to depression, many people I talk to feel the same way.

mountains joy awe

Feeling grateful brings emotions of awe, wonder, happiness and joy, to name a few, and those emotions shove depression aside.

As I have researched the subject of gratitude I have come across loads of scientific studies that back up my own experience regarding depression. I have looked a little at depression research too and more and more there is an understanding that our own thoughts have a huge role in this affliction.

Certainly the widespread acceptance that depression is just a chemical imbalance or a random disease is under review among many scientists and psychologists at the moment.

Kill Depression With Kindness

Which brings me to my other depression killing tip: Random acts of kindness – if all else fails for me, and I find myself getting a little down, I just go out and do secret acts of kindness for strangers and friends. Works every time!

This article was written by Toni Powell and is shared from the following website: http://gratefulness.org/grateful_living/gratitude-cure-depression/


smiling woman Toni Powell

Toni Powell is a recovering worrywart, author, storyteller and award-winning filmmaker. She spends most of her time teaching people about the life-changing power of gratitude through very funny workplace seminars, professional development for teachers, public How To Have a Happy Life workshops and videos like the surprising, hilarious and helpful video, The Yellow Car.

 

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You Can Never Cross the Ocean Unless You Have the Courage to Lose Sight of the Shore…

art wood sign on beach

I don’t know about you but personal growth always feels like a remodeling project to me – with too many walls being demolished and the new construction always fraught with delays. Yet, when the work is done, I never fail to look back and feel a heart full of gratitude.

Personal growth is such a blessing! Self improvement always requires a leap of faith and courage. Although we may see massive benefits to changing, where we are is usually where we feel most comfortable. God is our most ardent fan. He is mindful of our capacity and our abilities. No one knows us better – not even ourselves. You only know yourself from a mortal perspective. He knows your mortal history and your pre-mortal history. He knows your magnificence! Best of all, He believes in You!!

Are you feeling a need for some changes? Perhaps God is nudging you! Listen to your heart and allow yourself to really feel deeply what God is trying to speak to your spirit. Then use His guidance to start the step by step process that He will provide. He will help you across your “oceans” and you will never regret the journey.

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Follow Your Heart….

Pursue what catches your heart, not what catches your eyes Roy T. BennettIn my experience, the heart is not given its due respect. As the recipient of a host of various experiences involving the heart and my Creator, I believe that not only is the heart vital for knowing and understanding God – it is also of prime importance in understanding ourselves.

In today’s complex world of technology and insistent demands, it can be so easy to quit listening to our hearts. Yet, that is exactly where all of the answers are that we need!

Our hearts can tell us what our true passions are as well as provide answers from God, himself.

However, the heart does not shout and it does not demand attention. In order to get the full benefit of our heart, it must be listened to. In order to listen, we must allow ourselves quiet time, time to reflect, and time to commune with God.

If you want peace and joy in your life – make time to listen to your heart! I know that you will be blessed for doing so!

Instead of an inspirational story today, I found a poem that I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy!

Follow Your Heart

Although it’s been said many

times before

It’s a powerful message, so I’ll

say it once more…

Follow your heart, go wherever

it may lead,

Follow your heart and you’re

sure to succeed!

For when you follow your heart

and do what you love,

God gives you guidance and help

from above…

And things start to happen that

you never thought could,

And dreams come true…that you

never thought would!

For God’s given each of us a

special part to play…

So follow your heart and you

won’t be led astray!

©Faye Kilday 2000

Today’s poem is shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.com/poems/follow-your-heart-faye-diane-kilday-poem/

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