In this season of love just after Valentine’s day when most people’s insecurities start to flare up I thought it was time to talk about keeping the fires of love burning. I was talking to my client once and she said, it’s all good talking about being in love but how do I keep it alive? Have you ever thought about that? Are you one of those who had to demand to get a gift from your spouse or have you given up and resent those who have romantic partners who give them gifts of love. Love itself is a gift so appreciating it would do wonders for you. After learning about 5 love languages I know people appreciate different ways of showing and receiving love. Are you being swept up by the majority and media instead of knowing what your own love language and your spouse’ love language is because then you would be able to clarify for them what you would appreciate most.
If you are feeling uncertain about whether your relationship will survive or not, worried that if you do find love it only lasts a short while then everything falls apart and you’re left heartbroken and in pain. Here are the ways to keep love alive through eternity.
Choose the right match
I know this might sound too simplistic but this is like laying a good foundation. Start with the end in sight, in other words, what are you creating? How do you envision that person being in your life? What do you do together? What feelings do they inspire in you? What are you willing to give to them? How great do you feel when you’re with him? How much do you love yourself? Do you look for both of you to win or is it important for you to always win? It surprises me how many people haven’t thought about this at all. I remember my dad saying after he had heard women who attended the Beijing Women’s conference saying when you buy furniture for your home you should keep a receipt so that when you get divorced it’s easy to divide stuff, “what is the point then if you start a marriage with the intention of ending it.” Now I know about the Law of attraction, I know he was so right. You can’t create a lasting partnership if you prepare for it’s failure. This is going against law. Choosing the right match ensures you are on the right path and both of you want the same thing. If this is a challenge for you, I can help you figure this out quickly for yourself.
Understand what love is
Even though love is an emotion or a feeling, it also is a great many things in between. What does love mean to you? Do you understand love with your head and your heart? Love is kind, what does it mean to you to be kind? How do you express your needs and how do you cater for your loved one’s needs? When my husband and I were going through our very rough patch, I continuously kept being kind to him even when I thought he didn’t deserve it. On his part he supported me by paying my college fees for me and looking after our baby to enable me to go away to college. He also was being kind to me so that when we finally healed our fractured connection we could easily reconnect without other resentments flaring up. It is said that we treat the people we’re closest to most appallingly and yet we’re capable of being kinder to strangers. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we treated everyone, especially those closest to us with loving kindness? Love is patient. Are you patient with the people you love? Do you catch yourself when you are expecting them to be like you or do things your way? Being a parent has taught me most about being patient. I have to allow my daughter to express herself in her own way and be who she is without me feeling the need to correct her or force her to do things my way. Love teaches you to be patient. You wait to see how things are progressing, you wait to see how they really feel about you and if you rush things you might cause irreparable damage. Love rejoices in truth. Do you tell the truth of who you are and what you really need? Do you stop yourself from asking for what you need because you don’t want to be too much trouble? Do you avoid telling your loved ones how you really feel when they call you by that nickname because you worry they won’t love you anymore? How else do you hide your true self? Is that your truth and is that how you love yourself? Do you tell them how much they mean to you or do you worry about inflating their ego and hold your tongue? If you do that how will they ever know how you see them? Really seeing someone is a gift and telling them you see greatness in them help to build their confidence and self esteem. This helps them to love and appreciate you more. Truth with kindness is magical.
Negotiate your commitment
It’s amazing how despite the fact that we know fairy tale endings don’t exist we insist on believing in them and living expecting our own happily ever after. Recently I was being interviewed by Victoria Mary Clarke on Dublin City FM and negotiating your contract came up. Just to clarify further, you don’t just negotiate your marriage contract, it is necessary to negotiate your commitment too. I am not talking about having having a girlfriend agreement like Sheldon and Amy (Big bang theory) but rather have conversations that help each of you understand how the other really feels and sees the world. What does love mean to each of you? What does it mean to live together? Who is responsible for what? When we first started living together Taurai my husband just assumed he was the one responsible for providing money for us and I wanted to be an equal partner despite the fact that I might have earned much less than him at the time. We had to negotiate that and I assured him this didn’t mean he couldn’t provide for me but rather he was providing me with the gift of financial independence. Don’t sign up for what you don’t understand because you might have signed up for slavery. Just because he isn’t able to provide what you need, doesn’t mean you won’t find someone else who is. You are worthy of love and lovable. If you believe that, love will find you in many different ways.
Don’t get boring
You don’t have to go bungee jumping to have a life of excitement. Make a commitment to do something fun with each other regularly. Most people think that fun and excitement in a committed relationship dies soon after conception or as soon as both spouses commit. This is just a story you tell yourself. What does fun mean to you? What does excitement mean to you and your spouse. If your ideas of excitement are too different, this will become an issue in the future.
Some people blame children or age and I think because on some level people believe relationships have to manage themselves. They go for training, career development and retraining at work and yet never do anything to revive and up skill their relationship until it’s about to die or is dead. Sometimes doing something like changing the side of the bed you sleep on or even dare to sleep naked can do wonders for you. Scandalous, I know but maybe that’s what you need? Challenge each other to try new things every few months and maybe go to a couples retreat. These activities will help you rediscover each other again.
I mean asking for what you need and being your authentic self. This is very helpful because your spouse will know what and how to provide for you. Do you ask for a hug when you need it. At some point I was working in a very stressful environment and I would get home and rant and Taurai would offer me a feel good hug. After a while when I needed it I would ask for it and he was always happy to provide. My daughter has also learnt to ask for a a feel good hug and I have to stop myself in whatever I am doing to give her what she needs. I can only do that when she asks.
A lot of women don’t ask for what they need sexually and they leave their satisfaction to the man. This is expecting too much because you might not want the same things everyday. You are the expert on yourself and if not, is it not time to learn? How do you ask, is it a demand or a request? If you’re not already getting your needs met, take time to express them because if you don’t your spouse will feel inadequate. We communicate with our energy even when we don’t say things out loud. The person who loves you will know you’re holding back (remember how you complain that men don’t say how they feel). Making them guess or saying if he loves me he would know is just callous and cruel and it will not make your love last.
So there you have it, if you choose the right match, understand what love means, negotiate your commitment, don’t allow your relationship to get boring and communicate your needs authentically and compassionately then your love will continue to grow and flourish.
If any of this resonates with you and you want to have a conversation about it and if you feel you need help figuring all this out or want to revive your love life then, leave a comment or get in touch by email or through Facebook.