Divorce Lawyer Reveals What It Takes For Couples To Actually Stay In Love

How can you prioritize love, rather than complacency, in a long-term relationship?

Lonely older married couple. Fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If there’s anyone who’s gotten a first-hand look at failing, disconnected, and unhealthy relationships, it’s divorce attorney James J. Sexton

After years of working with unhappy couples he's learned the simple solution to staying in love for the long haul.

Sexton revealed what it takes for couples to actually stay in love for the entirety of their marriage.

In a recent "Diary Of A CEO" podcast interview, Sexton emphatically stated, “What does it take for your partner to say, ‘You’re so smart. I love being around you. Like, you’re so handsome. I’m so lucky.’ What does that take? It costs nothing! It takes nothing to do that.”


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Sexton compared the simplicity of staying lovingly together with a partner to the love of a dog. " I've got a 13-year-old dog,' he started. "He slowed down a lot ... he's not quite the puppy he used to be. I have never once looked at that dog and gone, 'I gotta get a puppy. This old dog, he doesn't look as cute as he used to.'"

Any pet owner would agree. "It's my dog, man. I fall more in love with that dog every single day."

So why don't couples feel the same way for each other? 

Sadly, life gets in the way. Suddenly, stressors and outside influences start creeping into the bubble of bliss that couples struggle to maintain. Sexton explained, “You’re just in it. That person is just there,” he added, “culture is also antagonistic towards it. Every guy is like, ‘Ugh, I’m married to the most loathsome harpy ever.' And for women, it’s like, ‘This guy’s an idiot, just a lovable idiot. He doesn’t know anything.’”


Sexton said most couples end up resenting each other.

“What do you think is going to come from that?” he asked about a couple’s constant criticism of each other. Adding, "Other than this disdain that we can then have for each other and this disrespect, as opposed to being so into each other, which is what you were when you were strangers.”

Despite living together, doing life together, or starting a family together, many people in long-term relationships feel disconnected from their partners. An AARP survey from 2018 found that 31% of marital partners reported "feeling lonely” in their marriages despite initially falling in love.

Upset married woman sitting on the couch. Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock


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When we stop showing up for ourselves and our partners each day, even through small acts of love and kindness, we subconsciously convince ourselves our relationships aren’t worth the time, effort, and care.

So, instead of expressing disdain for your partner or wishing for “the honeymoon phase” of dating again, disrupt the stagnancy of your relationship.

Invest time into cultivating new dynamics of love — think about how your love for your dog evolves as they grow older.

We don’t despise our dogs for growing old. They are the perfect object of unconditional love in our lives. Yet we don’t hold that same standard in romantic relationships.


To foster a healthy relationship, you need to create new spaces to bond and grow with your partner outside of your daily life of work, chores, or family. Whether it’s trying a new restaurant for a date night or planning weekends away, it's imperative to prioritize time for each other.

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One of the main reasons why marriages and long-term relationships fail is a lack of intimacy and physical connection. Over time, couples slip into the monotony of their partnerships, forgetting the importance of “pursuing” each other. Resentment grows, disconnect starts, and partners start to feel alone in their relationships.

Just like you would with your dog, as this divorce lawyer suggested, think of all the ways love can grow as you and your partner experience life together. 


The more time we invest in each other, the longer-lasting and healthier our connections will become.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.