The majority of people mistakenly believe that love is a feeling. Here's the thing: they're all wrong.
“Do you mean it isn't?” Gasp! “However, when I see him, I get butterflies in my stomach, my heart flutters, and my knees buckle. What is it if that isn't love?” Yes, those are physical feelings, but they do not constitute genuine love.
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To be more loving, you must first understand what love is. It's more than just a feeling. It's a Promise. It is a course of action. It's a Choice.
Those first feelings–the butterflies, the heart flutters, and the buckling knees–are all part of the process of “falling in love.” It's almost like a reflex reaction. It was not planned, and it will not last. It is a brief honeymoon period that ends if the relationship lasts for an extended period of time.
It's understandable that we're perplexed about love. We've been hypnotized by Hollywood. They make us believe that two people can fall in love in hours (see The Sun is Also a Star), days (see Titanic), emails (see You've Got Mail), and a variety of other spellbinding ways. That, however, is not true love!
True, genuine love begins when the spell wears off, when the honeymoon period ends and real life begins. This is fantastic news! We don't give up if we know that actually loving someone begins at the end of the buckling knees. We don't say, “Oh, no, it's over!” My heart no longer flutters, and where have the butterflies gone? What do you mean, butterflies?”
If you're currently in a relationship that you believe is circling the drain, or one in which love has flown the coop, or so you believe, you're in for a pleasant surprise. It doesn't have to be the end!
Continue reading to discover some doable ways to learn how to love — to become more loving, to reclaim your partner, and to enjoy a fulfilling relationship. It will be simple to put into practice once you understand what genuine love looks like.
You might be thinking to yourself, “This is too good to be true.” That's fine; you can't always control what you think.
But here's the catch: it's not too good to be true. Applying the following suggestions to your relationship will help you become a more loving partner.
Are you ready to transform into a more loving partner? To me, you appear to be prepared. Let's get started!
1. Make a Commitment to Your Relationship
Decide that you will be in the relationship; that you will work to grow it; and that you will nourish it to the best of your ability.
You don't have the necessary foundation to build a loving relationship unless you make that commitment. That is why the first step is so important.
If you're willing to make that commitment, keep reading.
NOTE: It is never too late to make a commitment decision.
2. Devote Time
“I love my family so much,” a workaholic who works 60 hours a week might say. I'm doing everything I can to provide for them.” That isn't love. Remember that love is not a feeling or a set of words. It is a decision that you make to take action.
Spending time with the person you love is one of the most important ways to show your love. After all, time is our most valuable asset. Spending quality time with someone demonstrates your love for them.
Find time every day to connect with your loved one if you want to become more loving. This can be accomplished through a text, a phone call, or a lunch date. Be inventive.
3. Express Your Feelings
There are numerous and effective methods for accomplishing this. When my husband notices that I'm in a hurry, he makes the bed for me to save me a few minutes in the morning. If I run out of a particular food that I enjoy, he will stop at the store to get it; he always saves the last of anything for me. I would know he loves me even if he never said the words “I love you.” His actions, without a doubt, speak loudly.
Find ways to express your love through action. Bring a treat home, do the dishes, cook dinner, leave a note in his favorite coffee mug, and so on. My husband removes his chain and places it on his nightstand before leaving for the gym. When he is not present, I form the chain into a heart and leave it for him to find. When he does it, he always has a smile on his face. You get the picture.
One of my favorite writing rules is to show rather than tell. By doing so, the writer elicits a reaction from their readers and allows them to experience the emotion that the character is experiencing. This also works in real life.
Take an action, no matter how small, that demonstrates to your partner that you love them.
4. Be Unpredictable
Relationships can get stuck in a rut. Years of experience can dull the thrill of discovering something new. That doesn't have to be the case.
Any relationship can benefit from spontaneity. Imagine walking into the kitchen, unsure of what to make for dinner, and not feeling inclined to cook at all. “Take off that apron, I'm taking you out to dinner,” your husband says as he walks in. What would your reaction be? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing you'd want to leap for joy.
Or you come home, see your partner watching TV, and say, “Let's go, I've made reservations at a great Air B&B.” Pack your belongings.”
Any relationship benefits from spontaneity. This week, try surprising your partner!
5. Recognize Your Partner's Thoughtful Behavior
Recognizing everything your partner does for you is one way to be a more loving partner. You may be taking your partner for granted without realizing it.
Do you thank them for doing the laundry, walking the dog, preparing dinner, doing the dishes, working out, replacing soap and shampoo before they run out, and so on? A million little things keep a home running, and it's easy to forget that someone is doing it. Recognize it.
My husband had just gotten out of the shower when he said, “Thank you! I never have to worry about running out of shampoo or soap. It is always present. That is greatly appreciated.” After hearing that, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. It made me feel very valued. Your partner will as well.
6. Be encouraging
When I decided to return to school to become a therapist, I knew it would require a significant amount of sacrifice. I'd eventually have to quit my job, save up for tuition, and devote time to studying. “You'll make an excellent therapist,” my husband said. We'll figure it out.”
My husband said, “I can't wait to read it.” When I decided to write The Healing Alphabet, 26 Empowering Ways to Enrich Your Life, he said, “I can't wait to read it.” People will enjoy it.” My husband told me, “You'll look really cute with short hair,” when I decided to cut my long hair. Throughout our 33-year relationship, he has been supportive. His love is demonstrated by his support.
How can you be of assistance to your partner? Perhaps it's supporting a hobby they enjoy, or wishing them a fun girl's day out, or attending every music recital, etc. When you show your support, your partner will believe they can't fail. It will give them the motivation they need to keep going while also having fun.
7. Make Available Space
Clinginess can devastate a relationship. Too much of anything is harmful to its survival. Yes, spending time together is beneficial. In fact, I recommend it; however, it is also important to strike a healthy balance.
Giving your partner space means allowing him or her to express himself or herself in the way that they prefer. It is critical to allow your partner time with friends and family. You are not required to be by their side 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Create a space for your partner to express their creativity. Allow them to be themselves without your interference. Remember, they existed long before you arrived.
8. Accept the Good Along with the Bad
A good relationship necessitates a lot of effort. When you married your partner, you probably thought you'd struck gold by marrying the most perfect being on the planet. That day, you didn't think about how they kept you awake with their snoring, how they laughed like hyenas, scratched the wrong places in public, chewed with their mouths open, and who knows what else. You were just thinking about your trip to Bora Bora, how beautiful she looked in her gown, how handsome he looked in his tux, and how many beautiful children you'd eventually have…
But, as I previously stated, the honeymoon period will come to an end. It's always the case. Then there's the smelly socks on the floor, the dirty mugs in the sink, the crumbs on the kitchen table, and so on.
Of course, I'm painting a distorted picture. Maybe none of this has happened to you, and you still feel like you hit the jackpot after 15 years. Congratulations!
Understand that there is no such thing as perfection for the rest of us. It isn't real. Yes, your partner will irritate you. You most likely irritate your partner. Look past the flaws if you want to be more loving. Find a way to see it as peculiar. It's a part of who they are, what defines them.
That applies to both partners in the relationship. Neither of you are perfect. Accept the unappealing and bask in all the goodness they do provide to be more loving.
9. Avoid putting others down
The thing is, when you're in a relationship, you pretty much know everything there is to know about your partner–the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you're angry and upset about something they've done, it's easy to resort to putting them down.
Let's say they're running late for a movie. It does happen. Don't begin with, “Late again?! You never seem to be on time, you moron!” Or, “It's no surprise your parents are disappointed in you!” Alternatively, “It's a pleasure to meet the poster child for tardiness!” And so forth.
What are you hoping to achieve? It doesn't sound like you're having a productive conversation. It actually sounds like a war is going on.
There is already enough strife in the world. Allow it no access to your home. Speak with dignity. Let love, not pettiness, be the motivator.
10. Be Willing to Make Sacrifices
Relationships are collaborations. Often, one or both parties involved forget this; they are too self-absorbed, always wanting what they want when they want it regardless of how their partner feels.
Because all relationships necessitate some level of compromise, the couple must work as a unit. It's always a game of give and take; a quid pro quo; a back and forth between the parties involved. “Since we saw Shaft last week, how about A Dog's Journey this week?” Both people are willing to give in to make their partner happy, even if it means making a small sacrifice.
Compromise can go a long way toward fostering happiness and feelings of well-being in a relationship.
11. Tell your partner three things you appreciate about them
Years ago, my husband and I attended a couple's seminar. One of the exercises required us to walk around our partner while they sat in a chair and tell them everything we admired about them. It was an incredible experience. The emphasis was to be solely on the positive, on what you admired and respected about them.
As the exercise progressed, the partner who was reciting the compliments was reminded of why they were with that person in the first place. It was extremely powerful, and the feelings elicited by the exercise lingered for several days.
12. Pay attention
You may believe you are listening, but the next time your partner speaks, pay attention to your thoughts. What are your thoughts? Are you paying attention? Are you working on your response? Have you switched off? True listening takes a lot of effort, but it is a gift to the person who feels heard.
When you truly listen, the other person feels valued, important, and as if they are important. Isn't that something you'd like to give your partner? It doesn't cost anything, but the benefits are immeasurable. True listening is the embodiment of love.
Tonight, ask your partner a question and then listen carefully. Don't be disheartened if your mind wanders for a while; simply bring it back and re-focus. Your partner will appreciate your attention to detail.
13. Discard Old Problems
It may appear strange to bring up past issues and hurts during an argument, but couples do it all the time. It's not uncommon for a partner to say, “Remember when you broke that vase and promised to replace it but never did?” You're just as clumsy as you've always been!” The partner is perplexed. “However, that was 17 years ago! What's the point of bringing it up now? Just because I dropped and broke your cup by accident?” As you can see, things can quickly get out of hand.
There's no reason to dwell on the past. “What's the point?” you might ask. What am I attempting to achieve? “Am I attempting to solve or exacerbate the problem?” The past has no place in the present. Allow them to go. Concentrate on the present moment.
The bottom line is to strengthen your relationship rather than weaken it.
14. Being in love DOES necessitate saying “I'm sorry
In Erich Segal's 1970 film Love Story, Jenny, played by Ali MacGraw, says to Oliver, played by Ryan O'Neil, “Don't, love means never having to say you're sorry.” I respectfully disagree.
People make errors. It is appropriate to apologize. Not a phony apology, but a genuine, heartfelt apology. Apologies go a long way toward mending a shattered relationship. If you are in error, admit it. Take it seriously. Make certain that the individual understands that you are making amends.
If you say you're sorry, you won't come across as weak. You will not only validate your partner's feelings, but you will also gain respect. Your partner will most likely say something like, “It's okay. I know you didn't mean it that way.” When necessary, make amends. Your partner will look you in the eyes with the loving gaze you seek.
Love is the most lovely thing on the planet. Being loving is the greatest gift you can give. Genuine loving acts cannot be replaced by heart flutters, butterflies in the stomach, or buckling knees.
Don't feed your relationship by simply stringing a few words together. It takes a lot more than that. A Commitment, an Action, and a Decision are required. It's been done a million times.
Everything you require is right here. It's the start you need to get your relationship to the finish line. If your relationship has been harmed, try the suggestions above for a week or a month. Let's see what happens.
I predict a second honeymoon for you.
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