I’m going to take a shot here and admit what I truly think is a key factor to being in a happy,  long-term relationship with any partner. Put simply, I believe that love is a choice and that you must consciously choose to remain in love.

That’s right, you read correctly.
You choose to remain in love every day.

There’s something to be said about your brain when you are in love. When you are in love with someone, you produce lovely peptides that grant you chemical boosts of love hormones. You also may experience pleasant emotions by being near or with your partner.So if you’re physically in love, or addicted to your partner, then you must believe that you are in love. This may sound silly but do you really believe that you’re in love? If you do, if you really do, then keep reading.
If you believe that you are in love emotionally, physically and mentally then maybe you can understand that this was a choice. You chose to allow yourself to fall in love with someone else. Sure there are things you cannot help. That “I like him/her” feeling you got right from the start, your attraction to them physically and all that jazz. Yes, that’s all stuff you can’t help. But at some point you chose to continue to like them, to advance on your level of attraction with them and to dance with them to that jazz.
So they key here is to realize that to keep a relationship fresh you have to keep choosing to remain in love. It sounds crazy, like it’s a chore to stay in a state of love but honestly, it is. You must consciously continue to choose love.

Why doesn’t being in love happen on its own?

It can be so easy to go about life and forget about all the little things that made you fall in love with them. The more time spent, the more you know about them. To the point where you think you know everything about them, and you forget to not assume their roles as part of you. Keeping a level of independence can be difficult too.
I believe part of it is that you don’t get the triggers of everything being new all the time. At some point, the excitement is not new and must become forced. It can be fun to try to come up with new things to do or explore together, but once again, it takes effort. And the effort isn’t effortless anymore. So you must consciously try,  for those once so new and exciting triggers of happy, of joy, of attraction.

Why do I bring this up when my friends are thinking about breaking up?

Many times a relationship will go through low points and both partners feel they either a) have done everything for their partner or b) nothing is going wrong so everything is wrong. Yes, there can be lows when everything has gone perfectly for too long (it gets boring!). So I remind this couple to choose. Wake up tomorrow and tell yourself that you are still in love. And to remember what it feels like to be in love with your partner.
Most of the time the couple comes back excited, I forgot how attracted I was! Or I can’t believe I didn’t realize it was my attitude towards her, because as soon as I was genuinely nice she was ecstatic and we had a great morning! It’s funny how much can fall by the wayside when life gets in the way. And when you live so close to people, they too get pushed aside. So take time to consciously remember, to put your partner first. Before work, before kids, before hobbies and dishes. They are who you live your life with every day. And for you to remain in love, you must choose to be there with them every day.
At any point, you can decide that you are no longer in love. They can decide for you that they are no longer in love. So on the flip side, do yourself a favor and make sure to love yourself too. You can’t give yourself to your partner for them to love if you don’t love yourself.
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