What does falling in love mean to you? Maybe after a first date, you’re smitten, and you stay up all night thinking about them. Maybe, you look into the eyes of an old friend and realize they’re more than a friend. You share favorite songs. You share meals. You introduce each other to your parents. You’re happy.
After some time, though, the “spark” can seem to dissipate. Life together becomes normal. The love you share is still there, but it’s somehow too familiar to energize you like it used to.
I would like to share a useful exercise that can help us remember the attractiveness in our partner’s differences. The complexity in the differences between humans is also what brings us together. Reminding ourselves of the power in this connection can help keep the romance alive in your relationship.
- Sit very close to your partner; almost a foot apart from each other’s faces. Practice simple conversation. Start with, how was your day? Listen to their reply. Keep eye contact the whole time. We often drop eye contact without realizing it, and this is an important physical response.
- A few minutes into this conversation, move away from your partner by a few feet. Let them continue talking, and move a few more feet until you’re about twenty feet apart. Keep eye contact.
- Shuffle back toward your partner. This time, close your eyes while they continue talking. Use all of your senses except your eyes. Listen with your ears, use smell, and touch, to feel close with your partner.
- Reverse the roles of the listener and speaker.
Do this for a few days, preferably at the end of the day when you’re seeing each other and naturally making conversation. Afterwards, compare your reactions. Did you feel closer with or without eye contact? Did you feel like one another was listening to the conversation? How did you feel when you moved back and forth?
These rudimentary reactions show a lot about your feelings in the relationship. Let the distancing exercise be a daily reminder that this loving partner can still be strange and distant without the proper attention.