Lasting love is the goal for many marriage-minded Christian singles. But what happens after you meet The One? How can you keep that spark of love strong throughout the years? In this article, Christian Mingle author Eddie Gilman discusses the healthy relationship habits that can make that honeymoon feeling last throughout your years together.
In a relationship, the Law of Familiarity would be defined as:
“The more time I spend with anyone or anything, the more familiar it becomes. The more familiar it becomes, the less excited about it I become.”
We’ve heard the term “honeymoon phase” used to describe the earliest moments in a marriage, when passion, intensity, desire and the electric spark of a relationship is the most intense. But over time, the intensity of these feelings begins to die down, sometimes to the point where we begin to relate to our spouse as a casual friend or roommate.
Many would say it is impossible to hold the level of intensity in a marriage the way it exists in its honeymoon phase. I disagree. If we can become so familiar with our marriage that it suffers, then we are equally capable of creating the passion and intensity that makes it thrive. The trick is to make these healthy relationship habits part of your routine.
Where Your Focus Goes, Energy Flows
We have been conditioned into the belief that marriage is hard work, it’s not always fun, you won’t always feel in love and that eventually, the honeymoon phase will end. And without many marriages modeling something in opposition to this, we buy into the context of these lies. Am I saying that it is always easy, or that it doesn’t take work? Of course not! But where the focus of your attention, intention and efforts go, the energy that creates a positive or negative outcome follows.
The idea is similar to that of the placebo effect. A saline or sugar pill is given to one person who is told that it will help them get well. The same type of pill is given to another, and nothing is said to that person. The ones who were told that they would certainly get well – and believed it – get well markedly more often. It was nothing more than the focused belief that the medicine would make a person well that directly affected the incline or decline in their health.
The first step in proving the masses wrong is simply believing it can be done! It is possible to create an environment of love that grows and thrives again and again. The torches of love and passion never have to go out! But if we treat our marriage like most people treat dieting – a temporary method of invoking just enough change, then returning to the old way of doing things once we see the first sign of improvement – we will experience the same results. Our mindset has to be permanently married to a new belief that we can achieve such a marriage, so that the focus of our energy can create that reality.
Repeating Intentional Healthy Relationship Habits
A habit can be developed by repeating a sequence of events enough times that it gets rooted into our subconscious mind, where it becomes second nature. Or as Tony Robbins would say, “Repetition is the mother of skill.”
To create an environment in which your marriage constantly thrives, you must become habitual about two things: taking intentional, proper action under the influence of the belief that such a marriage can exist, and viewing each day as its own day.
The Law of Familiarity blends one day into another. It is going about our daily routine in somewhat of a fog. In most cases, we treat marriage like anything else; if it’s not broken, no need to fix it. But that mentality is the fuel that familiarity runs on.
In this case, being intentional means choosing to develop healthy relationship habits that create a positive and thriving marriage. Every day must start over new and fresh; there are no credits or carry overs. One does not live on the highs or lows of yesterday. Every day is a “gold-medal effort” kind of day. We set out each morning to love our wife or love our husband. The goal is to create that intensity daily and learn what works in your relationship to make that a way of life. If we can make familiarity, stale and mundane marriage a normal thing, we can make a passionate and intense one a norm, too.
The best way to start this process is to set aside one night a week entirely dedicated to creating, adjusting and implementing that plan. Discuss your individual needs and workout any issues or hurdles. Throughout the week, stay focused on the intentional effort of serving each other. Learn each other like never before! Lay yourselves bare before each other. Visualize the future together. Dream together. Pray together. Wake up each day as if the whole reason you exist is to love the other person.
Each day is a brand-new day, with brand new effort. If you do that for 90 days, your relationship has to change. A new outlook and mindset, coupled with daily intentional efforts, will transform your marriage. Dare to believe there is always better than “good enough,” and never settle for a mundane marriage. This is the beginning to a love relationship labeled impossible.
You may also be interested in What Makes A Healthy Relationship? The 7 Must-Haves