Can we make our marriage work if we love each other? You would think so, but it’s not necessarily true based on my experience. Certainly love is an important component for marriage success, but may not be enough to sustain the relationship. The other two components of a relationship are like and in-love. Love often is a stable and consistent feeling, but the like and in-love feelings change throughout the relationship, even in healthy marriages. Many couples who are going through divorce will acknowledge later in the healing stages that they still love their ex-spouse even though the relationship failed. Our love can grow or wane over time, but what people don’t realize is the importance of the like and in-love feelings.
The like part of a relationship consists of friendship, companionship, and connection through activities. When couples harbor negative feelings or experience unresolved conflict the “like” part of the marriage evaporates. Couples will say: “I don’t like the person you’ve become” or “I don’t like spending time together anymore.” Relationships need connection through conversations, activities, and intimacy, but this is impossible if you don’t enjoy each others’ company. Spending time with our partner, sharing experiences, and hanging out together are ways to increase the like. Even if you have different interests or personalities you can still achieve connection by alternating the activity and stepping into the other person’s world.
Lastly, the in-love part of the relationship is the passion and intimacy that all couples seek. Intimacy, both physical and emotional, can bring energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to the relationship. These feelings grow when conversations are deep and personal along with consistent affection and appreciation for each other. I have found that when the “like” fades so does the “in-love” feelings. The two appear to be connected and can feed off each other either positively or negatively. Simplistically, if you work on the connection and friendship aspect of the relationship, typically the passion/intimacy will follow.
Create connection through your words, activities, and spontaneous affection. The greatest joy I have found in life is to be rich in relationships. We all want to experience like, love, and in-love feelings in our marriage, so commit today to make it happen!