How to Keep Love Alive | Omega

Your soulmate has the playbook on how to push all of your buttons, but relationships expert Arielle Ford says communication and creative solutions can keep the love alive. 

Omega: What's the best relationship advice you've ever been given?

Arielle: I have done 130 hours of interviews with the world’s top love experts, and I’ve learned something from all of them. I couldn’t pick just one. My book Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate is the best of the best of what I know. I've learned that you are not just looking for a feeling, you’re looking for connection, chemistry, communication, and a shared vision for the future with a soulmate/life partner.

Omega: What challenges have you encountered in love?

Arielle: When I got married, I discovered that the thing I excelled at, which was being the boss, did not translate to being a good wife or partner. I had to become a student of love. I had zero partnership skills. Owning a business gave me a lot of confidence—it was a lot of fun and a beautiful lifestyle—but it certainly didn’t prepare me to be a good partner in marriage.

Omega: How do you nourish and sustain your marriage now?

Arielle: My husband Brian says I never make him wrong. He’s very attentive, very affectionate, and very intuitive. So I know that he’s always aware of my inner world, even sometimes more than I am. I call him my safe place to land.

The thing that is hardest for me to do—something I do anyway because I know how much he values it—is to pay attention and listen to him because I’m easily distracted and I live in my head a lot. But his highest value is being heard. So I’ve had to train myself to focus.

Omega: Why do you think passion fades in long-term relationships, and how can we navigate that?

Arielle: It’s a chemical thing. When we fall in love, our brain is cascaded with all kinds of feel-good hormones and chemicals, like oxytocin, adrenaline, and dopamine. This is known as the honeymoon phase, and it lasts anywhere from six to 18 months. It’s what I call "nature’s trip." It’s how nature gets us hooked up to procreate. Once all the feel-good chemicals wear off, we’re then confronted with learning to live with a real, flawed, imperfect human being, and that’s when the work of a relationship begins.

The problem most people have is they don’t understand a couple of key things. The purpose of a true marriage/soulmate partnership is for us to heal our childhood wounds and to become whole. Your mate comes with the playbook on how to push all of your buttons, and that is totally normal.

The other thing that’s totally normal is that every single relationship has many irreconcilable differences. Relationship psychologist John Gottman says every relationship has a minimum of nine irreconcilable differences, and that’s normal. But most people live like something’s wrong when they don’t agree on everything. The solution is to come up with creative solutions, not necessarily compromises.

Of those irreconcilable differences, the most common one is money—you’ll have a spender and a saver in a couple. Sex is another one. One person wants it twice a month, while the other wants it every day. There are a million different things that people have different views on, and you need to learn to come up with creative solutions, knowing that you’re on the same team and coming from love, respect, and compassion.

Omega: You've said that traveling together is one of the great tests of a relationship. What do you mean by that?

Arielle: My dad told me the fastest way to find out if you’re with the right person is to travel with them, because who they really are shows up when they’re traveling, especially when things go wrong. So if you’re headed down the path of a committed relationship with someone, I would recommend taking a three-day minimum trip with them to see how you get along. How do they make decisions and choices? What happens when there are breakdowns? How do they respond when something doesn't go as planned? If they respond badly, it doesn’t mean that you have to dump them. It’s just information to have, so you know how to manage it.

Neale Donald Walsch, who wrote Conversations with God, tells a story about a personality he calls Airport Neal. When things go wrong when he’s traveling, he gets grumpy, grouchy, and sometimes nasty. Fortunately, he outed himself to his wife, Em, early on, so she wasn’t shocked when Airport Neal showed up.

Traveling is a really good way to see somebody under stressful situations and see if can you deal with that. If traveling is big on your wish list, make sure it’s a match with your mate because some people don’t want to travel or go anywhere. For me, travel is one of my highest values. Imagine if I had met somebody who was agoraphobic—it would have never worked for me no matter how much I thought that he was my soulmate.

© 2017 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

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