5 Ways to Renew Your Love

love on hand by David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.netA lot of insightful research on relationship effectiveness comes out of the Greater Good Science Center. This article from researcher Barbara Frederickson, PhD, was exceptionally interesting in that she essentially breaks down our loving feelings into a science.  She explains that love is a renewable resource, and tells us five ways in which we can renew it.

Frederickson describes these loving feelings as a combination of the sharing of positive emotions, the synchrony between your and another person’s biochemistry and behaviors, and a dual motivation to invest in each other’s wellbeing. The positive energy we create can be sustained and can grow (with effort).

Several results occur when we inject positive emotions into our day, according to researchers. First, we open our awareness and better see the big picture. We see more possibilities when we experience positive emotions (as opposed to neutral or negative ones), and we can bounce back better from adversity. Even creativity and academic test results are improved when they are preceded by positive emotions.

Clearly these outcomes would benefit a marriage, particularly when we are looking for solutions or ways to do things better. The kicker is that we need to renew these loving feelings daily—multiple times each day. Frederickson shares five ways research says we can boost our “positivity resonance:”

  1. Look into your spouse’s eyes as often as possible. Your body craves more than text message connections; it craves “moments of oneness.”  Eye contact helps you synch up.
  2. Look for opportunities to be silly together in a cooperative manner. For example, don’t be afraid to engage in silly contests and have fun figuring out how best to solve the challenge together.
  3. Bring up shared history in a positive way. Show that you know your spouse well and that they can trust you.
  4. Take time to appreciate the good things. Express gratitude not only for the actions of another but for the good qualities that you see in your partner. This extra step helps your spouse feel validated and cherished.
  5. Invest in positive emotions for the future. They can be built up, and when difficult times appear, you will have a resource from which to draw on.

Frederickson says, “Genuine positive emotions are available to you at any time.” Practicing these five tips may help you feel more connected and give your marriage greater resilience.  You can find more insights from the Greater Good Science Center here.

Do you agree with these suggestions, or do you believe love isn’t something you can break down into actionable components?

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com.

Photo by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

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9 responses to “5 Ways to Renew Your Love

  1. Thanks for this list. As a boring straight numbers kind of guy i’m having a had time trying to figure out number 2. Could you give me an example of what you are referring to as a guide to point me in the right direction? I’m now realizing that I am not fun anymore with all the cares and concerns piling up on me and need some direction again.

    Thanks.

    • If you check the original article, she gives an example. Although that example was set up in the lab, I would think any challenge you take on together and think of creative solutions could qualify. So for example, if you’re having a backyard bbq, you could set up a 3-leg race with couples competing. Or you could play charades as a team. Anything that would allow you to have fun while working together on a challenge. It takes a lot to admit that you aren’t bringing much fun to the relationship, so it’s great you are looking for ideas. Your wife may also have ideas of what is fun to her. Best wishes to you.

  2. I think she’s broken it down pretty well but there remains an intangable, an X factor as some say, that I don’t think we can determine at this point in time. No doubt chemical X but until we have a better understanding of the human brain I think love will be beyond such categorization… although these are certainly on the right track.

    Great to see you back posting Lori
    Grace

  3. Yes, I know what you mean. Thanks for the note. Finished up with some public speaking so hopefully will be able to get back to a regular schedule.

  4. I love suggestion number two about being silly together. Last week on Valentine’s Day my wife put together a series of challenges/activities for us to do throughout the evening. One of them was to “frolick in the street in front of our home for 9 minutes.” Talk about fun. We just jumped around in the street for 9 minutes frolicking. I won’t forget it soon and that’s not something that money can buy. Thanks for the post!

    Check out other suggestions for having fun and making your relationship great at http://www.uplifting-love.com.

  5. Pingback: Link Round-up: Clean Showers, Wreaths, Relationship Tips, and More | Smart Mom Style

  6. I really enjoyed this post. In fact, I’ve come back to it about 5 times! Thanks again!

  7. The being silly suggestion is one that my man and I have had fun with. It took a little while for him to warm up to it at first (he’s a bit on the serious side) but once he lets go it’s just like being teenagers all over again. A great piece of relationship advice!

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