Dr. John Buri, author of “How to Love Your Wife,” has an announcement: Love does not commit suicide.
Yet we all know that love can die. So how does it get from a thriving, pulsating feeling and action to something as dead as a doornail? Plain and simple: We kill it.
Some may say such language is too harsh. After all, can’t love in relationships just die a natural death, without individuals doing anything to it?
Exactly, Dr. Buri would say. Without intentional action and proper nurturing, love will die.
Here are five ways, according to Dr. Buri, you could be killing love in your relationship.
1. You don’t keep the 5:1 ratio
Researcher John Gottman developed the theory that for every negative interaction, you need five positive interactions to recover. Negative interactions are anything that induce negative feelings in the other person. Thus, if you snap impatiently at a loved one when they leave the toilet seat up (excuse me, leave it in whatever position is inconvenient for you) you need five positive interactions with him (pardon, or her), verbal or non-verbal, to repair the damage done by your comment.
2. You fail to show lots of affection
Affection is not only physical, it can be any way of telling your partner you care. Giving a genuine compliment, taking time to flash a special smile, grabbing for your partner’s hand in public – all this counts as affection.
But while we all show affection, do we show enough? Dr. Buri believes this is where we fall short. In order to keep love alive, we need to bestow both a quality and quantity of affection toward our partners.
3. You don’t share activities together
In our highly individualized society, it’s no surprise that research finds couples spending only two-and-a-half hours together each day. Unfortunately, this average includes weekends. Statistics like these suggest that most couples go on living as if they are still single!
To combat this problem, Dr. Buri suggests finding activities that you and your partner can do together. A fun hobby is always great, but even simple things such as grocery shopping, going for a walk, or volunteering together work as well. Shared activities give back time with your partner that a busy life can steal from you.
4. You fail to have an active interest in sex
Sex is a complex issue and the scale of sexual satisfaction is subjective. However, the topic should not be avoided. Having a frank conversation about you or your partner’s sexual needs or interests (or lack thereof) can go a long way toward restoring love in your relationship, After all, studies show sexual dissatisfaction as an underlying factor in separation and divorce. Having the tough talk may save you and your partner a lot of heartache in the future.
5. You fail to communicate
Speaking of conversation, failure to communicate is relationship poison. It’s cited as the leading cause for both therapy and divorce. In the words of Dr. Buri, communicate, communicate, communicate about nearly everything. Over-communication, while possible, is rare and well worth the risk.
Even if a romantic partner isn’t in the picture, most of these points (except number four) are applicable to friend and family relationships. The fact is, every relationship needs nourishment, and this knowledge makes change possible. So whether this list overwhelms or encourages you, the power is in your hands to resurrect, not kill, the love in your relationships!