Feeling the fireworks and keeping the spark alive

With Autumn drawing in and holiday season just around the corner, the onset of the penultimate months can be the deciding line between a summer fling and the real thing. So, how do we keep that spark alive and deepen our connection with our partner? 

Longevity in a relationship is dependant on successfully establishing emotional intimacy, the foundation upon which a real partnership can be built. Emotional intimacy separates lust from love and solidifies the growing bond between the two of you. Growing an emotional connection involves getting to know your partner on a more intimate level and in turn, sharing a more intimate part of yourself with them. One way that this can be done is through self-disclosure. By disclosing intimate information about yourself during conversation, you give your partner permission to confide their insecurities and secrets in you. Research has shown that sharing pain can bring people closer together, and that telling stories builds empathy. Fascinating FMRI research has shown that when listening to a story, the brainwaves of the teller and listener actually synchronise. For example, when telling an emotional story, the same regions of the brain that are activated in the teller are also activated in the listener. This synchronisation increases liking and closeness in relationships. 

As well as nourishing an emotional connection, it is important to maintain a physical connection and chemistry as well. Touch can communicate a whole host of emotions like love, compassion and tenderness. Physical contact promotes safety, warmth and comfort and both conveys and builds liking and attraction. Research on cohabiting and married couples has found that increased frequency of kissing can lead to decreased stress and increased relationship satisfaction. Being physically affectionate with your partner helps foster intimacy between the two of you. 

Another thing to keep in mind as your relationship grows is, conversely, to plan for spontaneity. As contradictory as this sounds, this helps to keep the relationship fresh. Remember to keep actively dating each other. Yes, your dates may slowly morph from fine dining and adventurous nights on the town to evenings in cuddled up on the sofa, but successful relationships find the balance between both. Keep the mindset and mentality of trying to impress your partner and having them impress you - the most successful marriages survive on regular date nights. Contribute to your relationship; go above and beyond like you would for a first date and this will keep the romance alive, not to mention remind them and yourself why you began dating in the first place. 

Finally, as you get to know each other more, compromise is an essential part of growing together in a partnership. As you and your partner become more familiar with each other, more opportunities for contention may arise. This provides the opportunity for compromise. In life, and romance, you have to create what you want, not just expect it to come to you.