7 Hacks To Keep Love Strong In Your Relationship, According To Science
Keeping love strong between you and your partner is one way to guarantee that your relationship stands the test of time. But as you probably know, that's easier said than done. Luckily, studies have found some useful hacks you can use to keep your connection alive for a long time. The best part is, they're really easy to do.
Researchers have been searching for the keys to relationship success for years. But as Richard Matzkin, relationship expert and author of Loving Promises: The Master Class For Creating Magnificent Relationship, tells Bustle, the number one hack you should know to keep the love strong and constantly growing in your relationship is to bring your "highest and best love" to your partnership whenever possible.
"You must first be the way you want your partner to be," Matzkin says. "Give the love you want to receive." For instance, if you want your partner to be kind, generous, honest, and loving, be that way for them. When someone's kind to you, chances are, you're likely to be kind in return — sometimes it really is that simple.
So here are some other hacks to maintain the connection in your relationship and keep love growing, according to both science and experts.
1. Be Grateful
Showing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to help your partner feel loved. A 2015 study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that saying “thank you” can go a long way and positive relationship outcomes are affected by the amount of gratitude shown. Couples who found little ways to show their appreciation for each other every day were more likely to work together to overcome challenges. "Let your partner know you appreciate what [they do], their personality traits, and their companionship," Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author tells Bustle. "We all want to be appreciated. The more you praise what you like, the more you'll get of it." Celebration and appreciation helps your partner to do more for you and the relationship, she says.
2. Be Kind And Generous
Making sure you and your partner stay in love doesn't have to be too difficult. Keep it simple. In fact, research by psychologist John Gottman found that relationships that were built to last were filled with kindness and generosity. Happy couples are generous with their time and attention, and will show kindness through their words and actions. "It’s really easy to let the day-to-day stuff take over and you start taking your partner for granted," Couples Consultant and Coach, Lesli Doares, tells Bustle. "But continuing to make the effort to treat your partner well keeps the positive feelings flowing." So treat your partner with kindness and respect at all times.
3. Spend Time Together Asking Each Other Deeper Questions
It's easy to drift apart when you feel like you've learned all there is to know about your partner. The danger in doing so is feeling bored and finding stimulation elsewhere. But as Doares says, "high quality, high quantity time is what can keep the two of you connected." One way to make sure that the time you spend together is "high quality," is to dig a little deeper. Ask questions that go beyond surface level. If you need a good starting point, psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron put together a list of 36 questions that are meant to create a bond between people and possibly lead them towards falling in love.
4. Find Ways To Create Exciting And Positive Memories Together
Another study by Dr. Aron found that couples who tried new things together, even for just 90 minutes a week, were much happier than those who did not. "Neural pathways are responsible for many of our sub-conscious thoughts and feelings," intimacy expert Miyoko Rifkin, tells Bustle. "They are created when we do or learn something new, creating physical and emotional responses to those activities." When you create new experiences for your partner on a consistent basis, you attach feelings of pleasure and happiness to the experience. Trying fun, new things that you both enjoy can help to keep the "warm fuzzy feelings" in your relationship alive.
5. Do Your Own Thing Every Now And Then
A long-term study titled The Early Years of Marriage Project by psychologist, Dr. Terri Orbuch, found that nearly 30 percent of people who say they don't have enough "privacy or time for self" in their relationship reported being unhappy. "Often times we find ourselves dependent on our [partner] for our entertainment and happiness," Rifkin says. But by making plans to not spend time together, you are giving both people a break. Without that much-needed time apart, you can possibly create unhealthy attachment and codependency in your relationship. According to Rifkin, spending time away from each other also encourages self-growth and self-reliance, which are essential for long-term relationship success.
6. Do Something That Scares You
As cliche as this may seem, "healthy doses of fear and insecurity are beneficial to human connection," Rifkin says. When you're scared, your body releases hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. "Adrenaline fuels us with energy, norepinephrine contributes to arousal making us more aware, and cortisol in optimal doses does wonders for healthy bodily function," she says. When you do something "scary" together, you can deepen your feelings of trust and security in your relationship. In fact, a study by Dr. Aron and Donald Dutton found that being in a heightened state of fear or anxiety can make you see someone as more attractive to the point you may start confusing it with love. Just remember to be safe.
7. Use Texting To Your Advantage
According to research, people get addicted to texting and other social media notifications because it hits us with an instant boost of dopamine. "Sending your partner a loving or sexy message will give them an instant dose of [dopamine]," she says. "What’s even better? Respond to their banter with something that’ll put a smile on their face. While the brain does get a burst of happiness from a random surprise, it’s even more rewarded when it receives an unanticipated compliment." Find ways to keep texting light, fun, flirty, and sexy.
Maintaining the love in your relationship doesn't have to be hard. It really comes down to the effort you two put into it. If you make it a point to be kind to each other, find creative ways to keep it fresh, and give each other enough space to be individuals, you may find yourselves in love for a really long time.