If you find yourself “falling in love”, “falling out of love”, questioning whether or not you love your partner, or searching for a more fulfilling relationship, then I got an equation for you to help. Through my experience as a couple’s therapist and through ongoing consultation of colleague’s and clients, I have pinpointed the formula for love that you can apply to your romantic relationship. When you want to get that love back, begin by using this formula! (For best results, take notes and use this formula daily.)
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(A+E)At = L
Attention plus Effort multiplied by Attitude equals Love
First in the formula is attention, because it is the foundation for love. Pay attention to your spouses likes/dislikes, what makes them feel safe (i.e. being protective, talking calmly, etc.) or unsafe (i.e. yelling, fighting, name calling, etc.), and what they want as a person in the relationship. Disregarding their wants, needs, or safety will lead to a brutal ending to your romantic love.
Also, keep your attention inside the relationship rather than on someone/something else. Indulging in “destructive distractions” such as: substances, overworking, investing your emotions in someone else (emotional affair), or investing your physical body in someone else (sexual affair) will 100% of the time result in damage to your love for your spouse.
Effort comes after you have paid attention to your partner’s wants and needs. You know that your partner enjoys the indoors, but you enjoy the outdoors. You are attentive to what they want (indoors), now make an effort! Whether that be a conversation about a compromise, making the decision that being indoors is just fine for today, or finding the perfect outdoor activity that they would also like. All of these thoughts and conversations show that you are putting effort into the relationship and not disregarding their part in your two-person romantic love.
Take action and don’t be all talk. If your partner has been complaining about doing too many chores since always, make an effort and do some chores! It is not about the chore, it is about the effort that you are giving. Letting these complaints slide will lead to resentment and bitterness over time. I have never heard of a relationship where being “comfortable” and putting in no effort has lead to a successful relationship. All romantic love requires effort on both ends.
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Most important of all, keep a positive attitude. Having a positive lens for what you are doing in the relationship and what your partner is doing significantly multiplies your feelings of love towards your partner. And vice versa, having a negative view of what your partner is doing or what you are doing multiplies your chances of losing love for your spouse.
I am not saying that you need to be an optimist, but I am saying that you cannot apply negative thoughts to actions in the relationship and expect to still love your partner. When they do something questionable, be curious. Don’t assume that they did it for a negative reason but ask them why, instead. When you start to realize that your partner is not just out to get you, your defenses and anxiety come down quickly. Keep an eye on the positives and remind yourself of those positives before you go to bed at night and first thing in the morning. You begin and end the day in a more loving way.
Pay attention to your partner’s wants/needs and feelings of safety. Also, keep your attention inside of the relationship rather than on someone/something else. Destructive distractions always lead to damage to your love. After you have been attentive and got to know your partner, put in some effort! All romantic love requires effort – even if it means doing something that you do not want to do from time-to-time. Lastly, your attitude can make or break this formula. Keep a positive attitude about your relationship and multiply your chances of having a long-lasting and loving relationship.
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples specialist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. He focuses on working with substance abuse and couples in high conflict. Chris enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.