1. There's so much more to love than romance. The true essence of love and loving someone is more than just flowers and candlelit dinners. Lao Tzu says “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." Loving a spouse or a mate means being willing to take their needs and desires into consideration and meet those needs. It means even when they push your buttons, you still are able to see the good in them and are willing to focus on the underlying issue instead of pushing their buttons in
retaliation. When you give up the need to react, you are not only showing your spouse or partner that the wellbeing of your relationship is more important than winning an argument, but you are also showing yourself that you have the courage, the integrity, and the grace to withstand any obstacle in life. On the flip side, knowing that your spouse or partner unconditionally loves you and supports you, especially when you are not at your best, gives you the strength to face the world. Studies have shown that when a person feels loved and
supported by a spouse or partner, physiologically, their body reacts more calmly in the face of a crisis than when they do not feel loved. The wonderful thing is that diffusing arguments is not the only way to give and receive love in relationships. Loving is easier than you think. When you say thank you, you are showing love. Holding the door open for someone is a loving gesture. Washing the dishes, holding hands, watching a movie together, giving compliments, or love notes are all simple but very effective (and appreciated) ways to show your spouse or partner you love them.
2. We all show love differently and we all want to be loved differently. In relationships, it's very common to assume that your partner's needs are the same as your needs. Many times, this is not the case.
You may be very affectionate and enjoy constant cuddling and touching, while your partner likes to be complimented and likes you to help around the house. If neither one of you is aware of the other's needs, it may lead to feelings of dissatisfaction because neither one of you is getting what you desire. You are not speaking each other's "love language". In the book, The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, it outlines different "love languages" or ways we show love and the importance of knowing what you and your partner need emotionally to feel fulfilled and loved. The love languages he describes are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. (To find out your love language and for more information, please visit www.5lovelanguages.com .) You can literally transform your relationship into something spectacular if both of you choose to speak the other's love language and give each other the emotional attention you need.
3. Self love and knowing what's important to you is vital. We all have emotional needs. We all deserve to be loved in the way that meets our needs. However, in order to have your needs met, you must have a sense of
self-love and self-respect. When someone is insecure and they don't feel good about themselves, they tend to get taken advantage of and settle for less than they desire because they compromise their needs for a false sense of security. They are more willing to accept a lot of heartache and grief for a little morsel of happiness and allowing someone to disregard your needs is the same as you disregarding yourself. In order to alleviate this pain, first, you need to know what's important to you in a relationship. How do you want to be loved? What
emotional needs have to be met by your spouse or partner for you to feel fulfilled? Secondly, how are you showing love to yourself? Are you meeting your own emotional needs? In other words, if you want your spouse or partner to say nice things and compliment you, pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself. Are you belittling yourself when you make a mistake or are you gentle with yourself? If you are saying negative things to yourself, hearing negative comments from your spouse or partner, however painful, may eventually be tolerated. And finally, how are you treating others? Are you kind to others or are you rude and mean? Remember, whatever you think about and whatever actions and words you put out into the world will create your personal reality. It is all up to you. You can choose to create your own loving heaven here on earth or choose to live in your very own personal hell. You decide how you will be treated by your spouse or partner and ultimately how you treat yourself, so please be good to yourself and one another. Treat each other with the love and respect you both deserve because it is you two that set the stage for those who follow.
Susan Thomas, Master Certified Coach, www.thesoulutioncoach.com
Have a challenging life question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.