Do you feel the romance in your marriage is fading away? If so a great way to keep it alive is through romantic gestures. To help understand why the romance in marriage fades over time and how a couple can keep the romance in marriage through romantic gestures, I have interviewed Dr. Daniela Roher.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I received a doctorate in education from an Italian university. I moved to England, University of Cambridge for my PhD. I transferred to the United States and completed it in 1987. I served one year at Oxford University as a visiting scholar. I trained in Psychoanalytic psychotherapy. I am in private practice in Carefree, Arizona and Scottsdale, Arizona. I work a lot with couples that have problems in their relationships. I wrote a book called, “Couples at the Crossroads” currently in New York waiting for a publisher. I have been married for 38 years to same person and two grown children.”
For many married couples the romance disappears at some point of the marriage? Why is that?
“The main theory is that there is a contradiction between lust and attachment. Lust is triggered by the new, exciting, different, and unpredictable feelings. Attachment is borne out of familiarity, routines, sharing and knowing each other deeply. Most romantic relationships, at least in this country, start with lust being predominant (the in love phase) then morph into attachment relationships as the two partners get to know each other and move beyond lust and sex as primary forces that hold and keep them together. Lust is fueled by testosterone, in both men and women. Attachment is fueled by oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.””
What type of impact can a lack of romance have on a marriage?
“When lust declines with habit and routines, romance decreases. Though some decline is expected, when it disappears completely couples feel more like siblings, or good friends, rather than partners and lovers. Partners typically function very well as co-parents, if they have children, as roommates, in sharing household chores, etc., but no longer as lovers. Even when love making is still there, without romance it tends to become boring, repetitive, unimaginative and unexciting. Partners may find excuses to avoid it, and this creates tension and distance between partners.”
What types of romantic gestures can help bring back the romance in marriage?
“Romance needs to be maintained in the relationship, no matter how long partners have been together. This can be done by making sure couples have a date night on a regular basis, when they don’t talk about the children, finances, or household issues, but act as a couple, focusing on each other. Setting up different situations, like spending the night at a hotel, lighting candles, giving each other massage are all romantic gestures that can rekindle the initial spark.”
What type of professional help is available for a couple that wants is having a difficult time being romantic?
“Making time to be together as a couple is absolutely necessary. Talking with one another is always the first step. For couples to acknowledge one another that there is an area of concern and that both partners are aware, willing and interested in making things better. Psychotherapy /counseling is very important because it gives couples the message that romantic partners are important to one another and each is willing to do the necessary work to make the relationship as good as it can be. Groups are also important. Reading books together that focus on this subject, and applying the suggestions as they go along can also be beneficial.”
Thank you Dr. Roher for doing the interview on romantic gestures in marriage. For more information about Dr. Roher or her work you can check out her website on www.droherpsychotherapy.com.
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