Recently I got a call from a client who had been single for a long time. After our work together, she found a new boyfriend and things were going pretty well for a while. After about four months in, I got a call from her one day and she had a concern. While there were a lot of great qualities about her new man that she liked, there were a few things he did that she found really annoying. However, her biggest concern was that once they became exclusive, she was no longer feeling the sparks of attraction that she felt for him when they first met and her question for me was “what happened to the sparks I felt in the beginning?”
The problem with sparks
When you first meet someone and you have that chemical attraction with them, there is excitement in the air and you want to spend every moment with your new love interest. Your heart skips a beat when you see them and your brain is flooding your body with pleasure-inducing chemicals like oxytocin. Of course it feels wonderful and you want it to last forever…but the truth is…sparks alone aren’t sustainable long-term. Now I’m not saying you can’t maintain a relationship with a partner who still gives you that feeling of “butterflies” in your tummy decades later. Of course you can and that is not only my fondest wish for you, it’s also my mission in supporting human relationships that are more loving and fulfilling on every level.
But it takes something else…
Sparks, by definition, are fleeting and they disappear quickly unless they are nurtured in a way that makes them “catch” fire. In fact, without a spark, there would simply be no fire because the spark is what literally creates the ignition point that eventually becomes a flame…or fizzles out. In a relationship, sparks are created by chemical attraction or polarity, the dancing energies that are created when masculine and feminine energies ignite.
The challenge with chemical attraction is that UNLESS IT GOES TO THE NEXT LEVEL, it’s not really sustainable. That’s because the Law Of Familiarity kicks in and that shiny new love that seemed so appealing and intoxicating when the chemicals were flowing starts to lose some of its luster. Pretty soon that strong, silent man that seemed so hot gets revealed as emotionally unavailable and uncommunicative. Or that incredibly feminine hottie turns out to be flighty, unfocused and talks non-stop without saying anything. That’s the problem with sparks…they’ve never been enough for the long haul. So what’s the answer?
You’ve got to start a fire
To start a fire, you have to take that initial spark and introduce it to a source of fuel if you want to nurture the flames of passion, driving them higher and higher. The more fuel is consumed, the more heat – and that shows up as passion. Within the confines of a relationship, the fuel that stokes your fire shows up in several different forms. A great love affair gets ignited when two people have a strong foundation of shared values and needs. Essentially it’s about two people who have similar – or complimentary – models of the world. They have similar interests. Common ideals. Shared goals. Compatible work schedules. It’s values and traits like these that help fan the flames of attraction into something that’s sustainable.
Plus there’s one other ingredient…
Once you start with a spark of attraction and chemistry, then mix it with ample fuel to fan the flames, there’s one other necessary component that gives your romance what it takes to stand the test of time. The 3rd and final ingredient that keeps the flame of love alive and gives it room to breathe is air or oxygen. That shows up in the form of simple acceptance and acknowledgement of who your partner is at their core. It’s about mutual respect and appreciation for your partner’s inherent worth. It could even go as far as admiration and adoration.
Flame or fizzle
Sparks. Fuel. Air. Much like a fire needs all three elements simultaneously in order to burn, a relationship also requires three elements if you want a love that can burn forever. Whether you have a brand new relationship or you’ve been together a very long time, the good news is that once you identify where the problem is, it is possible to correct and continue in order to stoke things up again. Maybe you need to reignite the sparks of attraction again…or improve the quality of the fuel you’re burning…perhaps you just need to clear the air around it and give it some room to breathe. The good news is that when you’re conscious – and conscientious – it is possible to stoke the fire of your love into an eternal flame.