It seems to be a generally accepted fate that people who fell in love will fall out of it and that romance within long-term relationships or marriage is bound to die. The usual advice to try to prevent this goes something like: try to make time for each other. Set monthly/weekly date nights. And certainly, committing to any quality time is good for keeping the romance alive. But really, once a month or once a week or even once a day probably isn’t going to be enough.
When you first fall in love all you think about is the person you’re in love with. All the time. No matter what you’re doing. You dream about that person at night and you dream about that person during the day. That’s how you get to the point of wanting to be “one” with another person. Really– isn’t wanting to be “one” a bit strange? But it’s not strange if the person already consumes you.
So, if you want to stay in love, you need to keep thinking about the person you love even when you’re not with them. Now, I certainly don’t mean literally every thought should be about your significant other. Obsession is unhealthy, and you’d also never get anything done. What I mean is: when life gets busy and chaotic and you get in ruts and routines, don’t let that mean you stop being the anchor of each other’s thoughts and feelings.
It’s a commonly discussed phenomenon outside the topic of love that we can change our brains by using our minds. We can heal ourselves of mental and physical diseases. Stroke victims can retrain body parts to work again. So why can’t we influence our thoughts and feelings?
Now, I’m not suggesting we can totally control them. Some of falling in love and romance is “fated” or “providential.” And the unpredictability is part of what makes it so magical. But it’s not quite as unpredictable as we might like to think. The magic is there, sure, but we have a good deal of control over it. And once it’s already been there once, our brain is going to have an easier time remembering.
So, we can affect our daydreams. We can decide what we imagine and what we hope for. We can decide what we look forward to. I can choose, when I’m driving alone, whether to incessantly focus on parenting quandaries or whether to spare a thought for the plans my husband and I have for our next anniversary. Of course, daydreams can’t just be scripted and the mind is going to inevitably wander. That’s part of the beauty. But we can always influence where the journey begins.