My wife and I are stuck in a passion-free routine – and I’m very happy

The Guardian Article Here

When my wife and I promised the rest of our lives to each other, I doubt either of us suspected that life would involve quite so much TV. I am working long hours at the moment, and every day I call my wife and say something along the lines of: “When I get home, shall we just snuggle up and watch something?” She agrees, then when I get in we spend some time saying things like: “It’s just nice to spend some quality time together, isn’t it?”, ignoring the fact that we have just decided to stare in the same direction for a few hours before going to sleep. That sleep will involve two minutes of us pretending to want to cuddle before one of us executes a subtle reshuffle that frees us from each other. And so it will continue till one of us dies. I say “one of us”, but I have Sri Lankan heart manufacturing, so it will almost certainly be me.

We have this conversation every day as if we are coming to the decision afresh, pretending for nobody’s benefit that it hasn’t actually become our routine. I don’t mind it at all. I’m very happy and I think she is. Having said that, I haven’t asked her and I’m not good at reading signals, so it’s as likely she’s in the latter stages of preparing to leave me.

In fact, I would say it’s more than likely. I was playing “battles” with our youngest son recently – a game that involves us fighting each other while he repeatedly changes the rules until it’s impossible for him to lose – when he told me he had a secret daddy. I asked him who the secret daddy was and he said he couldn’t tell me because it was a secret, which made me feel very foolish for asking. I asked him again at bedtime last night and he told me he was joking and it’s me, which sounds exactly like the sort of thing a cheating wife would tell her son to say.

Routine is the supposed enemy of passion, and I am constantly paranoid that we are on the slide and haven’t noticed. We were at a restaurant a while ago and there was a couple next to us who ate their meal pretty much in total silence. I was so smug. “I hope we never get like that,” I said, like the judgmental little shit I am.

Bad move. The next time we went out for dinner, I felt self-imposed pressure to keep the conversation moving the whole time, trying to start chats with comedy “bits” such as: “What’s the deal with spaghetti? Eating it is like a Crystal Maze challenge, am I right?” Then my wife, also remembering that we thought we were better than that silent couple, would answer me as if what I had said was interesting, rather than saying what she actually felt, which was: “I would rather we were silent for ever than continue this conversation.”

It would be great if we were the sort of couple who did spontaneous things – the types who pop off somewhere for a weekend. But, actually, I prefer the type of people who accept how it really goes: passion, friendship, acceptance, tolerance and a hope that somebody dies before it gets to resentment. That’s love.

I have decided to drop the paranoia. What will be will be. If we want to be silent at dinner, we will. If we want to spend every single night tearing through Designated Survivor, we will. If we want to spend more time talking about the fantasy list of other people we would have sex with than about sex with each other, then we will. But, if she ever watches an episode of something we’re watching together without me, then I am afraid she’s going to have to spend the rest of her life with secret daddy.

5 Ways To Make Your Relationship More Romantic, So Get Ready To Swoon

Author Article

Relationships, like all things, change with time. And while there are many beautiful things about a long-term commitment to someone, keeping the spark alive can sometimes be challenging. After all, when you settle into a routine together, it’s not quite so simple to shake things up and retain that element of surprise. Don’t fret, though — there are plenty of ways to make your relationship more romantic, as long as you’re both creative and resourceful.

I checked in with the experts to get their thoughts on this, and their advice did not disappoint. “Our partner needs to know that we value them and that they have a vital role in our life,” says Susan Winter, relationship expert. “From this foundation of appreciation and gratitude, romantic feelings grow with abundance.” If you want to show your partner how much you care, one of the best things you can do is add some intrigue back into your lives. There’s something about a passionate, romantic evening together that electrifies your chemistry and reminds you why you chose one another. And it doesn’t have to be any huge gesture — even small changes can make a big difference! When you’re ready to get more intimate with bae, put these tips to use and watch your bond deepen in a beautiful way.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SMALL THINGS

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“We tend to underestimate the impact of phrases such as, ‘Thank you,’ and, ‘I really appreciate what you’ve done for me,'” Winter says. When your SO does something you’re grateful for, like buying you flowers or cleaning your room, let them know. After couples have been together for an extended period, it’s easy to forget to thank one another for small daily actions. But according to Winter, “kindness and appreciation are powerful aphrodisiacs.” You don’t have to make huge changes in your routine to make each other feel special — just express your love in little ways!

2. RECREATE YOUR FIRST DATE

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When you’re in a rut and your time together starts to feel monotonous, bring back a special memory you both share. “Break that cycle by randomly recreating your first date at home,” says Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist. “Candles, rose petals, dinner, movie, anything that can recreate that first date.” Or, try reminiscing in the actual place you first went out together! Think back to that time when you were first getting to know one another, and when everything felt exciting and scary and new. You’ll both be able to look back with fondness and also to see how far your relationship has come.

3. GO ON A TRIP TOGETHER

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If you’re both craving a weekend out of town, consider taking a vacation — maybe even a couple’s retreat. “Not only will you learn new skills for enhancing communication, managing conflict, a renewed sense of commitment to one another, and deepening intimacy. But you also have a built-in vacation filled with romantic settings, dinners, and relaxation,” Silva explains. Sometimes, getting out of your shared space and into a new location can help you feel rejuvenated and more in love.

4. SIGN UP TO HELP A CAUSE YOU BOTH CARE ABOUT

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Shula Melamed, relationship and well-being coach, says that couples who try new activities together end up happier in the long run. “Maybe sign up for a course or cause that requires that the two of you to learn, create, or show up for something you both can be passionate about,” she suggests. If you have a shared love for something, it’ll bring you closer together, and it also gives you something fresh to talk about. Doing good for the world and doing good for your relationship? It’s a win-win.

5. COMMIT TO HAVING FUN TOGETHER

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No matter what you do, the most important thing is that you’re enjoying each other’s company. “Couples who play and explore with each other report higher relationship satisfaction,” Melamed says. “So the ‘work’ that goes into maintaining long-term committed relationships might be more depended on ‘play.’” The human brain responds positively to new experiences, so the more creative you can be, the more fun you’ll have together. Try to make a habit of trying something new together at least once per month! This helps you build a bank of shared memories together that will keep the romance alive.

Try to remember that even on days when you feel bored or out of touch with each other, you both chose this relationship for a reason. When you can reframe your brain to remind yourself, “I choose you,” you’ll be more thankful for your partner and more confident in your love. And at the end of the day, a box of chocolates and bouquet of roses never hurt anyone… so get cheesy with it and have a little fun.

Don’t Settle Down Until You Find Someone As Weird As You

Author Article

Don't Settle Down Until You Find Someone As Weird As You

Don’t settle for someone who is always nudging you to be quiet, someone who rolls their eyes at your jokes, someone who wishes you would take life more seriously.

Don’t settle for someone who makes you feel bad about being yourself, someone who acts like your interests are immature, someone who does not see the value in the way you are able to go with the flow.

Don’t settle for someone who expects you to tone yourself down out in public, someone who gives you a set of rules over how you are meant to behave, someone who tries to smother the real youunderneath a picture perfect version.

Don’t settle for someone who makes you feel bad about being a weirdo. Date someone who matches your weirdness, who encourages it, who loves you exactly the way you are.

Date someone who admires the fact you are a kid at heart. Date someone who gets your jokes, someone who appreciates the way you make them laugh even in the most inappropriate situations. Date someone who would never change your weirdness because it’s one of the many reasons they’ve fallen in love with you.

Date someone who will build pillow forts and sandcastles and Sim houses with you. Date someone who will come up with their own nonsense words to replace honey and love and sex. Date someone who makes weird jokes, makes weird noises, makes weird movements without a real reason.

Date someone who isn’t afraid of looking like a complete idiot in front of you — and likes you best when you are looking like a complete idiot in front of them.

Don’t settle for someone who wants you to act prim and proper all the time. Don’t settle for someone who teases you about how childish you are. Don’t settle for someone who thinks being a mature adult means being bland and boring.

Your forever person is not going to bat an eye when you act like a complete weirdo. They are going to get used to your quirks. They are going to understand the way you tick. Even better, they are going to fall in love with your weirdness. They are not going to want you to act normal. They are going to appreciate how utterly, shamelessly strange you are. They are going to be relieved they found someone who is authentic, someone who is unafraid of embracing their true self.

Don’t settle for someone you have to put on an act around. Don’t settle for someone who makes you feel like you have to hold back your weirdness in order to be accepted. Don’t settle for someone who wants a cardboard version of you instead of the real deal.

Don’t settle until you find someone who considers your oddities adorable, someone who laughs along with you, someone who makes you feel accepted. Don’t settle until you find someone you don’t have to worry about scaring away because they are as big a weirdo as you are.

What Love Is And Is NOT

Author Article

I was thinking about love and healthy relationships a lot in the past few months. I always ended up with the wrong person which alway lead to a heartbreak. I don’t want to make the same mistakes again, so I started to define what I consider love and the foundation of a healthy relationship.


What is NOT love?

When you are looking for your other half

I often hear from people: “I am so happy I found my other half.” And the point to their partner. “I wish I would find someone who completes me.” When I hear this on a date it is always a huge red flag and I close the date within an hour.

I consider this a toxic approach for relationship. As far as I see all relationship when one or both person consider their partner the other half, or someone who completes them fails miserably sooner or later.

If you feel you are not complete alone, you need someone who completes you. You need some time to work on yourself first. You are far to be ready for a healthy relationship. If you are looking for someone unconsciously who can solve your problems, it is not healthy. This problem could be anything, from the anxiety of being alone, feeling not loved, lonely to any other issues. You should never put this weight to another person’s shoulders. They won’t fix your problems and they shouldn’t even try it. It’s not their job. Once the euforia is over after a few months or weeks, you’ll realise you still have problems, and you’ll start to blame others for not fixing it. It leads to thoughts maybe he/she is not the one. You are wrong! You are the one who has to face with your problems, solve it and start a relationship after.

Dependency is NOT love

When you are depending on your spouse in any way, emotionally, financially or any other possible way. It is not love. People often interpret this as love, but it is leads to a toxic relationship which will almost always end. You should never put your wellbeing into the hands of external things — other people. You should fix your life first, be independent individual. See the previous point one.

Take responsibility for your own life and understand that it’s not your partner’s job to entertain you.

Attraction is NOT love

People are attracted to others. It is a fact and you have to accept it. Attraction will happen even if you are in a long term relationship, marriage or single. I attracted to many people for many reasons. I liked the way they laughed, I liked their humor, their mindset, the way they lived their life. Attraction could be, but not always sexual. I found people sexy because the way they smelled, the way they walked or talked or the way they were thinking. Many people tend to think attraction is love, but it is not. Attraction is magic. Attraction is based on completely inexplicable reasons. You don’t control this initial attraction. This is true for many of us. The problem is, most of us sink too much importance in attraction and, worse, they tend to mix it up with love. And while you don’t control who you’re attracted to, you do, however, control where you invest ourselves — time, energy, and emotion.

Wanting to be together or text all the time is not love. Wanting constant reassurance is not love. These are weak and toxic demonstrations of affection and insecurity. Love is never a give or take, it is never about keeping score, it is never about wanting and expecting.

Everything you see on TV it is NOT love

What is communicated in the media and in the movies is not love. You see love in an amorph bastardized way. That deep romantic visualisation of love simply does not exists. It is not possible to live in constant happiness, full of passion for years over years. Love and relationship is full of ups and downs. People fall in and out of love with the same person, and if you are lucky you and your spouse never fall out of love at the same time. If you are chasing what you see in the movies, you are chasing a shadow.

When we chase romance and excitement, we do to love what porn does to sex

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

What is love?

Love is a choice

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. You don’t make this choice once at the beginning of the relationship. You have to make this choice every single day. Good love is the way you love them. It’s you loving their being, you loving their essence, you loving their ups and downs and imperfections and dumb complaints and irritations and short-comings and differences, you loving their decisions — each day. And you have to make this choice each day.

Love is friendship

Love should be based on true deep friendship. Friendship should be based on high level of mutual respect. When your friends visits you and breaks your mug, you say it’s ok, i’ll buy a new one. When your spouse does the same you starc screaming. Why don’t you treat your spouse as you friend? Friendship means caring for each other, be there is the other needs you. Respect the other as an individual with an own personality, own goals in life. You never treat your friends as an object, or your belonging. It is based on mutual respect. Love is teamwork. You have to formulate a strong team with your spouse. You two have to be stronger together than as individuals. You have to work to fulfill your dreams, reach common goals, support each other in the hard times, or just work together simple tasks every single day, like the housework.

Love is commitment

You can see in many blog posts the key of a long lasting relationship is communication. It’s not true in my opinion. There is no doubt it is important, but commitment is has a greater factor. You have to commit every single day to your partner. You have to commit even when you are not feeling it. When you have some downs. Or even when you are attracted to someone else. Love is not a feeling. If you define love as a feeling in which you fall in, eventually you’ll fall out at some point. Because feelings change. And people change. And it is normal! If you want to stay together you have to commit even when you are not feeling it.

Love is consistency

You show love and respect for your spouse consistently. Of course there are ups and downs, there are fights and arguments. But you consistently have to let the other feel loved, and safe. Consistency creates safety. Safety creates peace. Peace creates stability.

Love is change

You have to accept the fact people change over time. You cannot stop it. You change too. You shouldn’t try to date with the person your partner was X years ago, you should date with the person they grow in years. As your partner changes, you have to accept, encourage, appreciate and fall in love with the person they become.


Most people think about love it is something just happens to them, or something they are in. They mistakenly think attraction or dependency is love, or they just want to be with someone for the wrong reason. They think it is something just happens to them. They do not realise mature, grown up love is an investment, they have to invest time, energy, work in it.

Love is a decision, a choice and work, it is not magic, it is not something superficial, not something you can’t control. It’s about choosing and committing every single day, it’s and act, it is work.

Oxytocin: More Than Just a “Love Hormone”

Author Article

Oxytocin is a chemical produced in the brain during sex, childbirth, and breast-feeding. Research has shown that the so-called “love hormone” promotes bonding and other forms of social behavior.

But the idea that this neurotransmitter works as some sort of natural love potion is too simple. The effects of oxytocin may be more complex than we once thought.

Lei Xu, a psychologist at the Clinical Hospital of Chengdu, recently investigated the effects of oxytocin on partner preferences. Do we find different people more or less attractive after a dose of oxytocin?

Xu had 160 straight volunteers report to her lab. Half of these volunteers had a shot of oxytocin blasted up their nose; the other half received a placebo. Neither the volunteers nor the research assistant administering the doses knew whether each spray contained oxytocin or the placebo with no active ingredient. Afterward, the volunteers were unable to accurately guess whether they had received oxytocin or the placebo.

Next, the male volunteers were shown a series of portrait photographs of women, while the female volunteers saw photos of men. Each photo was paired with a statement about the person’s history of cheating. The person was described as someone who had committed a sexual or an emotional infidelity, or as someone who had never cheated.

Afterward, the volunteers indicated whether they would be willing to date each person.

Different effects on men and women

Although you might think that cheating is unattractive to both men and women, Xu found that 32% of men and 17% of women were interested in a short-term relationship with a former cheater. A cheater may not generally be considered a catch, but under certain circumstances men seem less perturbed than women by the prospect of an unfaithful partner, perhaps because men assume a woman who cheats will be easier to woo.

Xu also found that men who had been given oxytocin, compared to men who received the placebo, expressed a stronger desire to date women who had previously been unfaithful. There was no equivalent effect of oxytocin on the female volunteers, but oxytocin did increase women’s interest in long-term relationships with faithful men.

In short, oxytocin didn’t simply turn men and women lovey-dovey; instead, it promoted the pre-existing sex differences in men’s and women’s preferences for faithful and unfaithful partners.

Xu and her colleagues write in their paper that their findings supported their theory that “oxytocin would enhance current social and reproductive priorities in both sexes.”

Another finding was that women who had received a dose of oxytocin were more likely to remember the faces of men who were labeled faithful.

11 Lies About Love

Author Article

It was in counseling that Stephanie realized another significant impact of her abusive marriage. She thought that getting away from her husband would be enough to free her, but her mind was still trapped. He said abusive things like, “You are a fool,” “You can’t do anything right,” and “You are worthless,” she now repeated in her head. Worse yet, her perception of love radically changed.

She now saw love as dangerous, confining, and vulnerable, yet she longed to be loved again. The roots of her poor perception of love were not just the result of an abusive marriage, it also stemmed from her childhood. Her alcoholic mother never attached to her so Stephanie was constantly looking for love from all the wrong people. This left her susceptible to an abusive husband.

Unfortunately, Stephanie had twisted definitions of love born out of dysfunctional parenting and an abusive marriage. These erroneous perceptions of love did significant damage to her and her relationships. Some of the lies may even be hidden in seemingly innocent remarks. So Stephanie decided to write out the lies that cause the destruction of a loving relationship.

  1. “I’ll show you love when you do what I ask.” Lie: Love is conditional.Lasting love is not based on a person’s performance. Rather, it is grounded in seeing the best in someone despite what they may do. But this doesn’t mean that abusive behavior should be tolerated. Boundaries can be established for safety and a person can be loved from a distance without it being conditional.
  2. “If I didn’t love you, I won’t be so mean.” Lie: Love is cruel. Truth can be spoken in a kind and non-hurtful manner without damaging a person’s ego, generating fear, or destroying an image. A person in a truly loving relationship should experience more thoughtfulness, compassion, and kindness than a friend or stranger might receive.
  3. “If you love me you will do it now.” Lie: Love is impatient. Demanding immediate compliance, being intolerant of other’s timing, or getting annoyed/irritated by another person is not love. Not everyone has the same pace in life. Loving someone means being tolerant of the person’s speed which is usually determined by personality, trauma, and motivation.
  4. “You love the kids more than me.” Lie: Love is jealous. Comparing love for one person over another is dangerous. The love a parent feels for a child is not the same as the love for a friend, spouse, parent, or even pet. Each has different weights and significance. Accepting love from a person means finding satisfaction in their ability to express it without jealous demands.
  5. “When you show me love, I’ll show it back.” Lie: Love itemizes. Keeping a record of rights vs. wrongs in a relationship does not show love. Rather, it places the relationship on a ledger where a person constantly has to prove their value in comparison to another. This wears a person out and exhausts the relationship.
  6. “It doesn’t matter if you feel loved, it matters how I feel.” Lie: Love is selfish. In the ‘it’s all about me’ culture, the concept that love is not self-focused but other-focused is lost. Too often it is about what a person gets from a relationship not about what a person gives to the relationship that becomes the emphasis. This hinders the free expression of love.
  7. “You HAVE to love me!” Lie: Love is forceful. No one has to do anything. A person should have the freedom to choose to love and not feel it is an obligation. Mandating love limits the power of love to work in life and relationship. When forced, it becomes a destructive weapon that can leave a permanent scar.
  8. “I love you more than anyone else could.” Lie: Love brags. Anytime a person says this statement, it is more about the insecurity of the person speaking than the value of the person receiving the comment. This is designed to ‘put a person in their place’ as a form of unnatural submission. A person who loves someone a lot has no need to brag, their actions speak far louder than words.
  9. “If you love me you won’t brush your teeth that way.” Lie: Love nick-picks. On any given day, there are probably 1,000 things that a person can do in an annoying fashion. Focusing on these small items and demanding change is not loving the person for whom they are. True love overlooks the small infractions and sees the larger picture of a person’s character.
  10. “No one can love you because of what you have done (or who you really are).” Lie: Love is resentful. The saddest of the lies is the one which displays long-standing resentment and hurt. Granted there are some issues that may end a relationship but that doesn’t mean there needs to be bitterness going forward. If the relationship is to survive the pain, then the anger must be released, or it will cause its own end.
  11. “I’m going to leave because you don’t love me.” Lie: Love quits. Real love does not give up on another person. However, it might set safe boundaries to keep from getting hurt again in the future. Not giving up on a person means hopefulness remains regardless of the circumstances.

Most of these statements don’t arise when the conversation is normal and functioning. Rather, they tend to surface during a confrontation. It is when a person is under pressure that the true nature of their character and misguided beliefs about love are revealed.

Love throughout History and across Lifetimes

Author Article/

Love throughout History and across Lifetimes
Photo by Louri Goussev | https://flic.kr/p/72KkXM

It can be very hard, especially for a Westerner, to imagine spiritual wisdom and carnal pleasure peacefully coexisting (blame it on our Puritan roots). This Valentine’s Day, learn about the rich, beautiful, and sensual poetry of ancient India—and be prepared to rethink the separation of faith and love.

What Women Find The Most Attractive In Men, According To Science

Author Article

Straight men have pondered the answer to this not-so-simple question since the beginning of time: what do women want? The answer will not be found in a Mel Gibson rom-com, but it might be lurking in a research paper.

Science is doing its best to solve the age-old puzzle of the female brain. Scores of experiments have attempted to name things women find attractive in men, with varying degrees of success. The studies are often small, and rely on iffy self-reported feelings for results, but at worst they provide food for thought, and at best they offer real insight that could take you from dud to Don Juan.

Here are six science-backed traits that women find irresistible.

Good Looks, But Only Sometimes

Take the abs of Matthew McConaughey, the biceps of Chris Hemsworth, and the flowing locks of young Brad Pitt, and you have the perfect man – right? Physical attractiveness can be a factor, but it’s not as important as you might think. Study after study after study has confirmed that while women choose better looking guys for flings, they fall for other qualities for long-term relationships.

A Sense Of Humour

Ask a woman what she like in her partner and she’ll almost always say “He makes me laugh.” It’s not news that ladies love a man who can tickle their funny bone, but science helps explain why. One study found that a good sense of humour is sexually attractive because it reveals intelligence, creativity, and other ‘good genes’ or ‘good parent’ traits.

A Furry Friend

No, it’s not just a stereotype – women really do love men with dogs. Studies suggest that dogs facilitate social interaction between humans. Another experiment found that dog ownership can increase the long-term attractiveness of men, as it indicates the ability to nurture and suggests tendencies for relationship commitment.

Risk-Taking

Time to brush up on your CPR and sky-diving skills. A studyconfirmed the prediction that women would prefer physical risk-takers (brave, athletic, fit) over risk-avoiders as long-term mates, but only if the risk was taken during an altruistic act. Another experiment discovered that modern risks are considered unattractive for either sex, while risks that harken back to our hunter-gather history are attractive when undertaken by men.

Altruism

study published in The Journal of Social Psychology observed that both males and females significantly preferred altruistic mates for long-term relationships, and the size of this preference was greater than for other traits in mate choice. Women are especially likely to choose a mate based on his tendency for prosocial behaviour.

Wearing Red

Last but not least, one that doesn’t require a complete personality overhaul or the commitment of owning a pet: wearing red can make you more attractive to women, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. A man sporting the vibrant hue is perceived as better looking, more sexually desirable, and higher status.

8 Ways to Create the Love You Want

Author Article

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said that “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”

While the initial phase of a relationship seems effortless, the sublime chemical release of early love will only get us so far. Eventually, if we want the partnership to endure, we have to roll up our sleeves and start to sweat.

My husband and I recently attended a marriage retreat where we heard from couples who have survived affairs, medical problems, family feuds, and other kinds of heartbreaks and hurdles that are left out of the pages of fairy tales. Their crushing stories inspired everyone in the room with the conviction that infidelity, illness, financial stress, and other hardships don’t have to end a relationship. In fact, sometimes they inaugurate the best phase yet. I have summarized their wisdom into the following eight strategies for creating the love you want.

1. Understand the stages of a relationship.

Relationships are ever-evolving, changing organisms. They take different forms over time. Initially, there is romance, where your brain is so flooded with dopaminethat going grocery shopping together feels like a Caribbean cruise. Inevitably, though, disillusionmenthappens, when you may question if you have fallen out of love. Some are tempted to bolt and seek the dopamine spike with another partner.

Often the disillusionment morphs into sheer misery, the third stage of a relationship, where two people who were once madly in love with each other feel nothing but resentment and contempt. If they manage to navigate around the various potholes of this stage, they arrive at awakening, a deeper and fulfilling intimacy than even the initial romance.

2. Don’t rely solely on your feelings.

Most self-help books urge us to trust our feelings. The process of identifying our feelings and aligning them with action is a critical part of self growth. However, feelings can also be misleading. Given their unpredictable and fickle nature, they are often not a reliable GPS for relationships. If we’re not careful, they can take us down dead-end paths.

A committed relationship is a series of decisions rather than a collection of feelings. By making a daily decision to do what is required to sustain a relationship, we clear our brain of some of the interfering static that confuses us. This gives us more energy to love completely.

I compare it to staying sober. If I relied solely on my feelings to determine my path, I’d be drunk. Instead, I make a conscious decision every 24 hours to not pick up a drink.

3. Understand yourself.

We all have baggage from the past that informs and shapes our behaviors and conversations. Most of us have learned to protect ourselves from hurt and rejection with certain masks we wear: the caretaker, the clown, the bully, the perfectionist. Identifying how previous wounds impact the way you relate to your partner can afford you a truer perspective on the relationship dynamics. With this understanding you can approach problems more objectively and interact more fairly.

Rewriting the narrative you learned in childhood is never easy and takes time, but will lead to a more honest, deeper relationship.

4. Don’t just talk – communicate.

Talking is good, but it’s only the beginning. True communication is much more involved than a simple conversation. It is a process of learning how to describe your emotions in detail to your partner so they have a shot of understanding the complex world between between your ears.

During the retreat weekend, we picked from a thesaurus of adjectives to describe our feelings. We used physical sensations, nature scenes, mental pictures, animals, movies, shared memories, and our five senses to express in vivid detail the nuances and complexities of our feelings. While I thought this was a tad overkill at first, the exercise proved effective in communicating emotions to my husband that I assumed he understood.

5. Take the risk to be vulnerable.

It’s one thing to bare your soul under the influence of a dopamine rush. It’s another when you’re faced with disillusionment and doubt. However, this is precisely the time when you need to be brutally honest with your partner and lay your soul out for his gazing.

The most powerful session of the weekend for me was the one on what is required for trust: honesty, openness, and the willingness to change. Trust means giving your heart to each other for their safekeeping, which can feel terrifying to someone whose past hurts remind them of the price of vulnerability. However, it is the trust that pushes us through to the final and best stage of a relationship, where we awaken to an intimacy beyond our imagination.

6. Don’t shirk from confrontation.

Despite the way it feels, confrontation is where the gold lies in a relationship. It can be tempting to either avoid or manipulate, but neither resolves the problem at hand. Constructive confrontation is done with respect for the other person.

Create some ground rules to fight fairly. For example, don’t bring up past history, stay away from name-calling, don’t go for the jugular, and stick to “I feel” statements. You might refer to a thesaurus of emotions and express your feelings in writing. Refrain from a difficult conversation when you are hungry, angry, tired, or are in the car.

7. Learn his or her love language.

We all absorb affection differently. Folding the laundry might say “I love you” more profoundly to your partner than a reservation to a nice French restaurant or a scrapbook of memories that you spent a week on.

According to pastor and author Gary Chapman, emotional needs are met in five ways: words of affirmation, quality of time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Learn your partner’s love language so that you can communicate your appreciation and love most effectively.

8. Forgive, and forgive some more.

“You come to love,” says American philosopher Sam Keen, “not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” We are all imperfect. When two people spend enough time together, they are bound to hurt each other. The transgression isn’t as important as the rebound. While you can hate the sin, try to love the sinner. Do your best to separate the awful thing that your partner did from the imperfect, lovable person she is. Trust that she is trying her best to learn from her mistakes and do better next time.

 

Love someone who uninstalls their dating apps as soon as your relationship turns official, not someone who keeps backup plans around in case you break up, someone who already has an exit plan because they are assuming your relationship is going to end sometime soon. Love someone who casually asks you to grab their phone…

via Love Someone Loyal — Thought Catalog

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