By: Camille McDaniel, LPC, NCC, CPCS
“Where Is the Love” is a popular song, recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. It was released in 1972 but the question is still relevant today. At times relationships can seem to lose their luster and shine. You may stare at your spouse and wonder what you still see in that person. Now don’t get me wrong, you may still care for that person deeply but where has the feeling of love and attraction gone?
Look at the following 3 areas. Are you already doing these things consistently? You may want to try before you decide there is no love left.
1. Have meaningful conversation with your spouse daily. Your relationship, like a car, needs fuel to run. You can gas up the car once but don’t think that will last you for the next 2 months. You have to provide constant fill-ups for the entire time you have the car. Your relationship needs to be filled up with meaningful content regularly. What type of meaningful content? I’m glad you asked. Not the “What’s for dinner?” or “The air conditioner went out. Can you call the repair man in the morning?” kind of conversation. I mean the kind of conversation that leads to explaining how your day went, what you want to do together on the weekend, what you look forward to doing on date night, how your dreams and goals are changing, etc. It doesn’t take much to get to a place where you look up one day and realize you really don’t know the person you married that well. People change over time.
2. Learn to Laugh. Get back to doing things that the two of you enjoyed. If you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed an activity together then create new activities now, there’s no better time to start. This will take you back to #1, listed above, because you will need to talk to each other about your interests. Remember, some mental health and physical health diagnoses can change your level of energy, focus, and motivation to be active or have fun. If that is the case, remember to be patient with one another and slowly work your way into activities that may not require as much energy like short walks in your neighborhood, a drive around town with the windows down and your favorite music playing, park your car and have a picnic, or look at the sky while trying to guess what animal or thing the clouds look like <—bet you haven’t done that last one since 1st grade
3. Be open to constructive feedback. Don’t be so quick to get offended when someone says you hurt their feelings or they feel you are being cold toward them. It doesn’t mean you are inadequate as a person. It just means the other person has interpreted your actions or words in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Learn to talk about how your behaviors make others feel and vice versa. Then work on compromise and resolution.