Human love has an evolutionary purpose. When we experience feeling loved our brain and nervous system become more relaxed and efficient and we feel happier and are healthier. Feeling loved is nature’s antidote to stress. There is no quicker or more effective way to override too much stress and upset than positive face-to-face communication with someone that makes us feel understood, safe, and valued.
Falling in love is often an experience that seems to just happen to us but preserving the “falling in love” experience takes commitment and effort. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort.
Here are some of things neuroscience has taught us about preserving the falling in love experience—perhaps for a lifetime:
- Be willing to invest quality time, energy, and focus in your relationship. This may not be easy given the demands of work, career, parenting, and the need we all have for time to ourselves. Failure to invest in the ones we love results not only in the loss of pleasure but in lost opportunities for health and overall well-being.
- Communicate what you feel as well as what you think. Emotional communication is the language of love. When we experience positive emotional cues we feel safe and happy, and when we send positive emotional cues to others, they feel the same.
- Don’t be afraid of disagreement—see it as an opportunity to grow the relationship. Some couples talk quietly, while others raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key is not to be fearful of disagreement. Everyone needs to express things that bother them without fear of humiliation or retaliation. Couples who do this learn a great deal that helps them improve themselves and the relationship
- Enriching the relationship with outside interests. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Bringing positive energy from family, friends, and outside interests into a relationship can stimulate and enrich it.