How to feel alive in your relationship

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Someone once said “People say that they are searching for the meaning of life, but I think they are searching to feel alive”. I think it is a bit of both, but for this post, I’m going to focus on the idea of feeling alive. What does this mean? I think one aspect of feeling alive is that many want to feel ‘moved’ by something or someone. Adele’s new song “Hello” had 50 million views in the first 48 hours. It is clear that her song moved people.

It occurred to me that many of us want to feel moved and feel alive in our life but at the same time we are a culture that discourages feeling. Emotions frighten us. They frighten us when we see them in others, especially those we love, and they frighten us when we feel them. However, we need our emotions. Emotions allow us to feel moved in the depth of our soul. I’m not referring to suffering; that’s different. However, if we learn to feel our hurt, sadness, fears and so on, we can then feel moved, depth of joy and love. I think that we want to feel alive, moved, and experience deepened feelings of love in our relationships.

Why do so many of us struggle to feel alive in our relationship? Well, relationships are complicated. Sorry if you were looking for a definitive answer, but let me start with this thought: Life is routine, which can be good, safe and provide us with comfort. But we might also feel bored, lonely, and numb.

What makes us feel alive in a relationship? Think back to when you first started dating. There were many things that made you feel alive. Of course, sex can make us feel alive. I know that is what most people remember. But I think in addition to sex, it is learning new things about another person. It is going to new places that you’ve never visited. It is conversation that is new and exciting. It is sharing parts of you with another person who shows interest. It is thinking about that person when you are not with them, remembering an enjoyable time together.

So what can we do to have moments of feeling alive in our relationship? Words from a Ted Talk come to my mind, “As soon as we meet someone, we begin to put them in a box”. I agree, we are quick to make assumptions when we meet someone. But I think that over time we put our partner in a box. We conclude many things about them and lose the curiosity to know more about them. We lose the desire to try new things together. And we remember our hurt more than we remember what makes us happy and in love. When I reflect on how I’ve been hurt in my marriage, I relive the feelings of being hurt. But when I reflect on shared moments of laughter, fun and happiness, I feel love. And I feel alive.

I think that we want things to happen quickly in our culture. We are a “take a pill” culture rather than working at what is important to us. Relationships are work, and sometimes I think that we want it to be easy. Okay, I’ll speak for myself, there are times when I want it to be easy and I don’t want to have to work so hard at it. But I know that is not realistic. If we want to have moments of feeling alive in our relationship, we have to work at it. I provide some ideas below, but it is better to decide together; maybe brainstorm ideas together.

Here’s the challenge – I work with a couple who are trying to find ways to connect. He brings to the table what he enjoys, and she brings ideas of what she enjoys. Guess what happens, they don’t connect because they are not bringing new ideas to each other. Try to think of new things that you can do together. It may not work out the first time, but keep trying until you find something that works for both of you. Remember, it takes work, but hard work can pay off for both of you.

Here are some ideas to bring life, love and feeling alive in your relationship:

  • First and foremost, become more aware of your emotions.
  • Listen to your partner with curiosity.
  • Ask questions that you’ve never asked your partner.
  • Try something new together, anything!
  • Tell your partner something about yourself that you’ve never shared.
  • Reflect on enjoyable moments together. Brain research has shown this to have a positive impact on our brain! It releases happy hormones!!
  • Do something completely unexpected and unlike you!
  • Say yes to things that you would normally say NO!
  • Find a new interest that you can talk about with your partner. You will grow, and your partner may enjoy learning something new about you. It will keep you interested and interesting to your partner!
  • When you’re ready, forgive hurts. Holding on to hurt robs you of feeling fully alive and happy.
  • Let your partner out of his or her box. Be open to knowing that you don’t know everything about your partner.

I hope you and your partner find something here that will guide the two of you to feeling love and life in your relationship. I wrote about this because I am surprised how often I hear the words “it made me feel alive“. I think we crave this feeling more than we recognize. Know that we can’t feel this way all the time, but we can create moments of feeling alive with one another.

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One more thing…..I really would love for you to share your thoughts with me. I know it is not easy to do! Believe me, I know, it took me a very long time to work up the courage to begin blogging! But I want to get to know you! When you feel ready, please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

Details of the stories told in my blog have been changed to protect the identity of people that I work with in therapy.

Photo Credit Joanie-21@flickr.com

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How to feel alive in your relationship
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How to feel alive in your relationship
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I think all of us want to have moments of feeling alive. I'm going to focus on the idea of feeling alive in relationships.
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