By Dr. David B. Hawkins, Crosswalk.com
The years tend to take their toll on us physically, emotionally and can even impact the issue of being attracted to, and by, our mate.
Consider the following true story:
Joseph dated and fell in love with his girlfriend, Tina and they were married a year later. Shortly before marrying her, however, he had the sense of losing his attraction to her. Nevertheless, he married her, hoping the attraction would grow. It didn’t and he has regretted his decision ever since.
They have been married for several years and Tina now feels his detachment from her. Their physical relationship is negligible, he shows her little affection, while he feels intense frustration. He constantly compares his wife to other women he believes he could have dated, but didn’t. He strives to stop the thoughts, but seems to have little control over his extra-marital attractions. Both he and Tina wonder what to do.
This is a heartbreaking story. We can certainly feel the pain Tina must feel, knowing her husband is not attracted to her. She watches as he glances at other beautiful women. We can also empathize with Joseph as he strives to be a ‘one woman man.’ He believes it is the ‘Christian thing to do’ to stay married to his wife, but feels stuck.
While your situation may not be quite as dramatic, we all face the prospect of aging, getting wrinkles and comparing ourselves and our mate to younger, more attractive individuals. What can we do to maintain and even cultivate attraction for our mate?
Here are several ideas for maintaining and cultivating attraction to our mate:
One, remember that love is a powerful attraction. Having and cultivating loving actions and feelings for our mate is likely to enhance our attraction for them. The more we feel love for our mate, the more attractive they become. The more we are bonded and connected to our mate, the more we will be attracted to them.
Two, remember that love is a verb. Too often we wait to feel love instead of involving ourselves in the act of loving. Consider the positive qualities in your mate and appreciate them for those traits. Notice the wonderful unique qualities of your mate and love those traits.
Three, explore and cultivate a deeper relationship with your mate. We are all like onions with many layers and complexities. Relating can be like an incredible adventure, seeking to unearth hidden qualities and making exciting discoveries. Each new discovery will help you feel more attracted to your mate.
Four, become active, not passive. Don’t wait for attraction to land on your lap. Enjoy and appreciate each other, finding new activities to do together. Tell your mate how they can become more attractive to you and what they would like to become more attracted to you. Be active in creating and cultivating a friendship with each other. Additionally, stop the comparisons. A glance is one thing; a longing fantasy for another is something entirely different and is very hurtful.
Five, develop a heart of gratitude for your mate. Notice what you can be grateful for with your mate. A heart of gratitude is likely to increase your attraction to your mate. Scripture says, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:8-9).
Finally, cultivate a spiritual connection to each other. Praying together is a powerful way to enhance attraction to our mate. Share common dreams, missions and purposes with each other. Become involved in something larger than you—a common passion. This is likely to link your hearts together.
I’d like to hear from others who are trying rekindle love and an attraction for their mate. How are you doing with it?
If you would like to learn more about healthy relating, please go to our website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com and discover more information about this topic, watching my video series, 30 Days to Relational Fitness. Please send responses to me at [email protected] and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Dr. David Hawkins, MBA, MSW, MA, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has helped bring healing to thousands of marriages and individuals since he began his work in 1976. Dr. Hawkins is passionate about working with couples in crisis and offering them ways of healing their wounds and finding their way back to being passionately in love with each other.
Over the past ten years, Dr. Hawkins has become a leader in the field of treatment for narcissism and emotional abuse within relationships. He has developed several programs for treatment of men dealing with these issues and the women who love them. Dr. Hawkins is also a speaker & trainer for the American Association of Christian Counselors and writes for Crosswalk.com, CBN.org, and iBelieve.com. He is a weekly guest on Moody Radio and Faith Radio and is a best-selling author of over thirty books.