When you meet the right person, falling in love is easy. Almost all committed relationships have the experience of falling in love. This other worldly experience, technically called limerence, lasts 12 – 18 months. The challenge for committed couples isn’t falling in love but staying in love.
This is where negativity comes in. Dr. John Gottman’s research finds that the four horsemen—contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling—bring down relationships and erode the feeling of being in love. The key to staying in love is being aware of the four horseman and avoiding them.
This requires treating your partner with respect and being responsive to his or her needs. This stance maintains staying in love. A couple will never return to the honeymoon period of limerence. But by stoking the fire of fondness and admiration and turning towards your partner for loving connection, the embers of staying in love keep burning.
Richard Rein, Ph.D.