Are you a Baby Boomer ready for grandchildren and disappointed that your adult children aren’t interested in marriage? Whereas the oldest Millennials are now in the mid 30s, according to PEW Research only 28% have taken the plunge.
It’s another example of the Millennial generation doing it their way. Close to 50% in a recent survey supported the idea of trial marriages that could be formalized or dissolved after 2 years. Many are skeptical of traditions lasting forever, seeing life as a work in progress and always subject to change.
Of course a lot of Millennials are partners in love. And just like the rest of us, relationships alter their brain circuits that shape emotions. One indication of being in love is the ‘I-can’t-live-without-you interdependency.’ This alchemy can continue indefinitely, depending on how you treat each other. Neural functions change when couples are attentive and compassionate. And holding hands is enough to minimize emotional and physical pain. Whether you’re a Millennial – or a member of any other generation – and want to release euphoria-inducing chemicals or change the wiring in your brain, here are some ideas:
Invest emotionally. Make time for your partner just as you would for any valuable asset. A gentle touch or quick hug releases oxytocin, a hormone that increases connection and reduces stress. When you’re under pressure, an affectionate moment can help you feel relaxed and more loved. Studies show that celebrating positive events predict greater relationship satisfaction than complaining about negative circumstances. And your efforts toward closeness will be returned in multiples.
Ask for what you need. No one is a mind reader. Out of frustration, couples sometimes pull back. Commit to understanding each other’s resentments and disappointment. If you meet halfway, both will get more of what you long for. Talk about how you feel, without judgment, and come to the conversation with constructive suggestions. Plan an adventure and discover new activities you both enjoy. Have fun and laugh together as you bring humor into your daily life. Being playful can lead to greater intimacy.
Express gratitude Compliments serve as positive reinforcements at the very times when you may be taking each other for granted. If you are bored or putting distance between you, try to see your partner in a different light. Purposely look for the qualities you admire in each other. And when you’re having positive thoughts, say them out loud. Reignite romance and earn the dividends you deserve from this emotional investment.
Only you know what it takes to make you feel fulfilled. Have an honest conversation about the unique issues in your relationship. A shift in emotions can result from something as simple as a weekly date night or gestures as easy as a full body hug. Studies show that being satisfied with small changes can add pleasure and greater connection to your partnership. So follow this advice to the Royal Millennials William and Kate before they got married. Here it is already 5 years and 2 children later and they’re, at least for now, happily ever after.