When we first fall in love, we constantly think of the other person and try to spend much of our time in romantic situations. This courtship period is based on sexual attraction and infatuation, but it is also a time when mutual interests develop and we establish the foundation for a long-term relationship.

Unfortunately, the sensation of romantic love seldom seems to last. When it wanes, feelings of caring, comfort, and commitment take its place. These feelings are powerful enough to support a loving relationship and can continue throughout a lifetime.

Sometimes, however, these deeper emotions do not give you everything you need to continue to be satisfied with your relationship. You may be discontented or bored with “married sex” and may fantasize about different ways of having sex or even different partners. This is natural human behavior and so common that former President Jimmy Carter even shared his very personal feelings with the world by saying that he lusted after other women … in his heart. It’s normal to become a little bored with sex in a committed relationship of many years —unless you get creative.

Many people feel a tremendous amount of guilt about their natural needs and desires and hold back these feelings from their partners. Couples who learn to encourage each other to be open about what they would like sexually have much less difficulty in coping with these normal human challenges.

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It’s also fine to be creative. If watching a movie with a sexy actor or actress makes you aroused, using that spark to create a little romance is perfectly fine. On the other hand, having an “emotional affair” or maintaining a friend- ship with someone who totally turns you on can be very destructive. It’s best if the “other people” in your fantasy life are imaginary or unattainable.

There are numerous other ways to put the fire back into your relationship. Many books, videos, and classes are available to help with this pleasant task. Take some time to check out the vast amount of material available to help you relight the fire in your relationship. You will find it to be one of the most rewarding and pleasurable investments of your life.

Adapted from Emotional Fitness for Couples

Copyright © Barton Goldsmith, Published by New Harbinger Publications. All rights reserved, used with permission.