Keep The Fire Burning From The Fire of Passion to … What? From the Fire of Passion to . . . What? Most committed relationships, except those of convenience, had a spark that caught fire and became an unbridled passion. Feelings were intense; the couple spent as much time together as possible and had difficulty keeping their hands off each other. They decided to proceed to the next relationship stage and move in together or get married. Within a couple of months, they began to wonder what had happened. Where did all the passion go? Maybe this is you. Let’s talk about what happened. How Your Body Manipulated You Yes, your body manipulated you into forming a relationship with the one you love. But, it’s not that your body believed in love. No, your body wanted only one thing. Your body wanted to ensure the human race continued and did everything possible to get you to fall in love. To encourage relationships, your body produces chemicals, such as: ● Dopamine, to keep you feeling fantastic about your loved one ● Norepinephrine, to keep your heart a flutter ● Phenylethylamine gives you emotional and physical energy. ● Oxytocin is known as the “bonding” or “cuddle” hormone. (We’ll discuss ways to keep producing this fun hormone.) These and other chemicals manufactured by your body had you believing you had fallen in love. Once you form a committed relationship, your body has you where it wants you. Where Did the Passion Go? People often complain about passion missing in their relationship. They wistfully talk about the “old” days when the fire was burning. Now the connection seems so, well, ordinary. Consider what happens when you get married or move in together: 1. You no longer have to arrange to see each other. You’re already together in the home you share. There isn’t the ritual of calling to arrange a time to meet each other. ● We’ll discuss ways to keep the excitement of being together going. 2. The routines of your daily life are shared. The daily chores of keeping the house clean, making money, and other daily activities are no longer done out of sight of the other. ● Who does which chores? If these chores are going to get done, it’s essential to make time for them and discover how to share the responsibility. ● These are the ordinary activities of life, which aren’t exciting, but they’re necessary. 3. You’re not always “up” for each other. When you see each other daily, it’s difficult to hide from each other when you’re tired, stressed, or grumpy. Before, your excitement about seeing each other overshadowed and even overcame your weariness. 4. You “forget” to do the unique things you did for each other. When life becomes routine, it’s common to skip the little things you used to do for each other. ● This includes special gifts, saying how much you love each other, and giving compliments. ● You begin to take each other for granted. The specialness you once felt seems to recede into the background. This can negatively affect your relationship if you allow it. Hidden Expectations Emerge When you’re dating each other, and the chemicals of passion are in control of your relationship, you’re excited by the newness of it all. You’re open to things being different in your life. When your relationship settles into a routine, subconscious forces begin to emerge. From the moment you were born until now, your subconscious mind has gathered information on how you and your partner should interact. The challenge is that each of you may have different “shoulds,” which can conflict and be utterly unknown to each other. These “shoulds” set your relationship up for misunderstandings and hurt feelings if they aren’t discovered and addressed. Keep the Fires Burning Luckily, despite the routine of life, which comes from work schedules, caring for the home, being part of each other’s families, and perhaps, establishing a family of your own, there are ways to keep the passion burning in your relationship. The rest of this course will address common issues which arise in committed relationships and how to work through them. Just reading about what happens in relationships lets you know that you and your partner aren’t alone in these challenges. Other couples go through these challenges as well. You want to be different from many couples by recognizing potential difficulties and knowing how to resolve them. Be one of the couples who celebrate their 50th anniversary and not one who says with regret, “I wish I’d known.” Summary You’ve learned how your body conspired to have you fall in love by producing powerful chemicals which keep you attracted to each other. Unfortunately, once you form a committed relationship, those same chemicals decrease. Before you move into learning about strategies to keep your relationship unique, take a few minutes to reflect upon how what you’ve discovered applies to you.