Romantic love fades away but romance never has to end!

Romance is a choice we can make every day!

As a couple you can influence the way you feel about each other by reconstructing the conditions of romantic love.

When you treat each other the way you did in happier times, you will begin to identify each other as a source of pleasure once again.

What could be more powerful than doing the very things your partner has identified that make her or him feel loved??

Here’s a tool that will help you reconstruct those conditions of romantic love. It’s a very practical way to choose romance every day, and keep the fires of romantic love burning.

It’s called…

The Rekindling Exercise

Click on the link above and print out two copies (one for you and one for your partner). Then follow the instructions below.

In this exercise, you and your partner give each other the keys to your heart – specific “caring behaviors” that make you feel loved.

After you go through it, there’s a link below where you can read the story of Wendy and Tom – how their relationship died, and then how it went from “flatlined” to “fully-alive” using this tool.

1. Make a list as you think about three areas:

(1) what your partner is already doing that pleases you.
(2) what your partner used to do that pleased you.
(3) what have always wanted but never asked for.

These may be very private fantasies, but should not be a present source of conflict.

With each item complete the sentence, “I feel loved and cared about when you…”

Fill in your answers on the spaces provided on the printout.

(Examples: make me coffee in the morning, call me from work just to check in, tell me I’m doing a good job, help me with my chores around the house, spend quality time talking with me, take a shower with me, compliment me on how I look, give me a back rub, want to have sex with me, bring me an unexpected gift, cuddle without having to have sex)

2. Indicate the importance of each item with an A, B or C, with A being most important.

3. Now exchange lists.

4. On your partner’s list put an X by any items you are not willing to do at this time, making the rest of the list conflict-free.

5. Then beginning tomorrow, do at least two of these behaviors each day for two months.

Start with the easier ones first and then move to the more difficult ones.

These acts are to be GIFTS, NOT OBLIGATIONS. However, do them whether you feel like it or not.

The act of doing these things will begin to reignite your desire for each other.

Keep going and you will rekindle the feelings of romance, and create a safety zone that will allow deeper connection and bonding.

If either of you experience some resistance with this exercise, keep on doing these caring behaviors until the resistance is overcome. Do it even if you don’t feel it. Your feelings will follow.

But remember, the process won’t work unless you work the process.

Someone told me, “My partner and I tried this and it didn’t work.”

I can relate!

Sandy’s list included things like surprise outings and weekend adventures. Those kinds of things really make her feel loved and cared about.

So I planned one. And it hit the mark! She LOVED it and we felt close. 🙂

But then I did nothing like that again for several months. 🙁

Her efforts to do things on my list were about like mine. One here and one there.

To be honest, this exercise didn’t do for us what I was telling my clients it would do for them!

So I asked Sandy, “Why do you think it’s not working for us?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “It’s kind of like the California drought.”

What?

Then I got where she was going with that.

Until last year, California went through about six years of serious drought where reservoirs dried up, and a statewide proclamation of emergency was issued.

During that time there would be a day or two, here and there, when it would rain cats and dogs all day long. And it felt so good every time all that rain poured down.

But those few times of rain had no effect whatsoever on our reservoirs or on the drought.

Sandy went on explaining…

“The few times we did these ‘Caring Behaviors’ could not make up for the drought we have experienced day in and day out over the years.”

Wow. I get that. That really makes sense.

Lesson learned.

We realize we have to do these caring behaviors REGULARLY and NOT STOP!

The exercise you printed out says “two a day for the next two months”! If two is too much start with one a day and work up from there.

The key is consistency!

Then it’s something hopefully you get addicted to – in a good way.

Sandy and I are rebooting our efforts. And it’s paying off.

What about you?

Print out The Rekindling Exercise and let’s get started!

Click here to read how Wendy and Tom used this tool and saw their dead marriage resurrected!


romantic-love

Let everyone know how it’s working in the comment section below. Also, please share this blog with your friends and on social media!

Let’s continue to be part of a relationship revolution!

Subscribe below to receive my weekly post that will come to you email inbox every Saturday morning! 

My goal is to provide free relationship tools and resources delivered to your inbox every week! 

Why the best relationship tools to improve your marriage don’t work

My business is finding marriage tools that work! So why, after so many years, do these tools not work for some people?

Well, the answer is quite simple.

It’s not that the tools aren’t working. It’s that we aren’t working the tools.

What do you mean?

Let’s consider a prime example – the Couple’s Dialogue from Imago Relationship Therapy.

This is the most powerful relationship tool I know.

Click here to download and print out two copies of this powerful tool – one for you and one for your partner. And get ready to find out how it works!

This powerful tool is based on science. So when the process doesn’t work, we have to conclude that it’s because we’re not working the process.

The science of aerodynamics says you must take into account four factors of physics: lift, drag, thrust, and weight.

I’m no scientist, but I know if you neglect even one of these factors in your design, you’re aircraft will never get off the ground.

In the same way, with The Couple’s Dialogue, you must take into account four factors: interest, curiosity, vulnerability, and safety.

If any of these are neglected it won’t fly.

When doing the dialogue…

  • Sometimes a partner will lose interest and the other partner feels abandoned or that their efforts are insincere.
  • Sometimes an emotional reaction will override curiosity and drown the process in negativity.
  • Or maybe a partner does not yet have the courage to be vulnerable.
  • Then, because the relationship is not safe, connection cannot happen.

So, if you neglect any of these basics, like a poorly designed plane, The Couple’s Dialogue will not get you off the ground.

And unfortunately the couple who crashes in a few failed attempts joins that crowd that says, “It didn’t work”. 🙁

On the other hand…

The Couple’s Dialogue is what helps you channel interest, curiosity, vulnerability and safety in a structured way that makes connection as a couple possible.

marriage-tools-2

Here’s how Sandy and I are trying to make it work for us.

Make dialogue a lifestyle – something you do every day.

The Couple’s Dialogue should be the way I communicate with my partner everyday, in every conversation.

It should be a lifestyle – part of our relationship DNA.

Mirroring, validating, and empathizing is a regular way of communicating that can always lead to a closer connection with each other.

“Hold on.” one of my couples said. “Who has time to stop and do the couple’s dialogue every time you have a conversation?”

And so this couple keeps coming back to me for therapy. That’s OK. It helps pay the bills.

But, my goal is for every couple to experience mature love ON THEIR OWN – a conscious relationship that becomes a partnership of mutual healing and growth.

The Couple’s Dialogue is the most powerful tool I know that can help you get there.

And you can do it on your own. And it WILL work.

Here’s how.

1. ALWAYS MIRROR each other.

That’s right – in every conversation.  I do this silently in my mind so it comes across very naturally rather than in a structured or stilted way.

When she’s talking, I seek to listen as if I’m going to repeat back to her what she said.

I’ll say in my mind. “Let me see if I got it. You’re saying…”

The point is – I’m listening with full engagement.

This helps me turn turn my interest toward her and hear 100% of what she’s saying.

“So you’re saying”… and I mirror her.

Then I check for accuracy –  “Did I get it?”

And then I continue with curiosity – “Is there more about that?”  

Mirroring says to your partner, “You matter.” “What you say matters.” “I see you.” It says, “I’m genuinely interested in you”. And that feels so good to your partner.

Nothing says “I love you” more powerfully than when you listen with full attention.

Well ok, if you were to push your partner out of the way of an oncoming train, and get run over yourself – that, too, would be a powerful way to say “I love you”.

But, hey, this is something you can do every day, and without getting killed!

And…without paying for expensive therapy!

So always mirror your partner.

Mirroring helps you regulate your defenses while creating safety for your partner.

2. ALWAYS VALIDATE each other.

To validate is to simply say, “You make sense and what makes sense is…”

Then tell them from your heart what you see that makes sense according to their inner logic. Do this while maintaining your own inner logic which may, of course, be vastly different.

Validation facilitates “differentiation” which is necessary to feel a genuine connection.

What?

Whenever we discover our partner is “different” – has a different taste, or opinion, or perspective, our natural response is to polarize – to see them as wrong and then try to fix them.

That feels judgmental. It’s not safe. And conflict is the result.

Validation dissolves polarization and enables differentiation – the essential condition for genuine connection.

Finally…

3. ALWAYS EMPATHIZE with each other

Mirroring is about about meeting “mind to mind”. Validation is also “mind to mind” enabling differentiation.

But empathy is “heart to heart”.

Empathy is about entering your partner’s world on a “heart” level. Feeling their feelings. Fully realizing their pain, or joy, or fear, or anger.

And this is where your presence with your partner in their vulnerability is a powerful healing force. In that context, your partner can  process their wounded emotions and heal them.

So learn to MIRROR – VALIDATE – and EMPATHIZE in every conversation.

Make it a lifestyle – part of your relationship DNA.

Sandy and I are also working toward spending 15 minutes each evening engaged in the fully structured Couple’s Dialogue.

Why?

Why not?! It’s like free therapy!

The structured dialogue makes it safe for thoughts you’ve never thought, and feelings you’ve never felt to come to the surface, and become integrated into your relationship.

The Couple’s Dialogue is truly a transformative process. 

So, if you haven’t already, click here, print it out, and go for it!

And please, let everyone know how you’re using this tool in the comment section below.

Share this blog with your friends as well and on social media. Let’s be part of a relationship revolution!

Subscribe below to receive my weekly post that will come to your email inbox every Saturday morning! 

My goal is to provide free relationship resources delivered to your email inbox every week!