12 Feb Love Month Blog Series Week 2- Loving Your Partner
Did you know that Otters never forget to hold hands when they fall asleep in the water? They are afraid of losing their family members or their mate. You see, the current of the water in the sea would naturally cause them to drift, and they instinctively know they must hold hands to stay connected.
In human relationships, it is natural to drift apart if you do not intentionally make a habit of connecting. If you missed last week’s post, I mentioned that love is not just a feeling, but is also an action. The act of loving requires ongoing behaviors, not just feeling love for someone. In relationships this can be especially hard when your partner has done something to hurt you, you are feeling disconnected, or simply are just tired. But it is possible to still love your partner when you don’t feel love for your partner. In fact, choosing to act with love might even spark those loving feelings you have for your partner so that you want to do more loving things for your partner. You might start with these ideas:
- Know your partner – Dr. John Gottman is a researcher and therapist who has studied relationships in his “love lab” for many years. His research confirms being known by your partner strengthens friendship and leads to a long-lasting relationship. Ask your partner questions to learn more about his/her hopes, dreams and aspirations. Invite him/her to tell you something you do not know about him/her already. And finally, be willing to open up and be known by your partner.
- Speak Lovingly – Over time, as we get comfortable in our relationships, we tend to take our partner for granted. Couples who regularly share out loud their appreciation and fondness for one another are more likely to have a lasting relationship. Recognize and comment on your partner’s strengths. Say “thank you” more often. Creating a culture of appreciation in your relationship will ensure strong foundation.
- The little things – Changing the quality of your relationship doesn’t always require a major overhaul. When couples commit to doing small things often and repairing relationship conflict, they start to pave the path towards a more intimate, trusting and satisfying relationship. You can start by learning about your partner’s Love Language (see Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages). We all communicate love in different ways and understanding more about how your partner expresses and feels love will help you to choose things that will be meaningful to your partner. Then start to build small things into each day. Here are just a few ideas:
- Start the day with a passionate 6 second kiss
- Hold hands
- Cuddle together for a few minutes each evening
- Spend a few minutes each morning to hear something interesting your partner is looking forward to
- Take turns sharing about your day and any stressful experiences you had
- Do something to make your partner’s day easier like taking out the trash or starting his/her car for them
- Commit to regular date nights
If you would like to learn more about how you can improve the quality of your relationship, couples therapy can be a helpful option. Book your appointment today by visiting www.stillwaterspsych.com or calling (403)-523-9399.