October 11, 2002
June 20, 2003


In 1978 I wrote an article on marriage which began: “I’m not in love anymore.” I frequently hear these expressions when a marriage has disintegrated into hate and resentment from past daily hurts. The secret ingredients to love are feeling special, warm pleasant emotions, and shared understanding; which might include interests, goals, or a mutual moral code. Reviving those initial feelings happen after one overcomes the resentment from past differences; then it becomes a major, but not impossible objective. However a commitment to the process is mandatory because halfhearted efforts don’t work. The Active Listening that I have explained at length in other columns is a major primary goal. Putting yourself in the shoes of your loved ones and verbalizing those reactions aids in defusing the long term resentments.

Creating a feeling of being special is to listen to and respect the other person’s ideas, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Next working through resolutions and plans to maintain those solutions will keep an even keel in the relationship.

Moreover, the most important secret ingredient to reviving love is to share happy, humorous events with each other every evening. Amazingly that single item has helped many of the most difficult cases of separated couples to reunite and re-experience the initial infatuation again as a new experience.

Exploring each other as if it were the first meeting, adds to the charm of a renewed honeymoon experience. Quantities of time are not as important as quality time. Kissing when greeting each other and leaving one another, gazing into each other’s eyes, reaching out and holding your loved ones hand, gripping the hand gently with an “I'm here” message, enfolding your loved one without a sex demand brings home the caring concern.

Unfortunately, any overture, even a well meaning one might be construed from past references to mean the opposite of the intention, creating an unintended rejection. This rejection develops a disagreeable aura instead of the intended romantic ambiance.

Try to break down the resistance with light hearted movies and conversation. Explain to your mate that you are trying to improve the relationship; and replace the past intolerable memories with those that bring laughter and harmony into your lives. If this does not work; contact a counselor for additional aid.