Keep Love Going Strong After Valentine’s Day is Over
Every year most couples use Valentine’s Day as a way to show their love and appreciation for that special someone in their life. Relationships are not easy, and there is much more to maintaining a successful one than just putting on a great Valentine’s Day.
Love is something you give freely and unconditionally, without expecting things in return. Many times couples are not on the same level when it comes to feelings. There is nothing wrong with that. It is normal. If you are the one at the higher level however — you will need to be patient and understanding while you wait for your mate to catch up.
There are many things you can do to ensure the positive growth of a healthy, happy partnership. Check out our top eight recommendations to keep your relationship on the right track.
- Communicate Frequently. It always comes back to this. Communication is key to any good relationship. If there is something troubling you, say so. Don’t let it fester. That just makes things worse. On the same note, if something really great or interesting happens — share! You have ideas about things – share! As much as we’d like to think our mates are mind-readers and they automatically know how we feel or what we think, or they can magically absorb the events of our days … they really can’t. You have to communicate. Without communication there is an increase in doubt and a feeling of isolation. And that is not good for any relationship. You must first and foremost be friends. Friends talk. They tell each other about their day, their worries, accomplishments, future plans or dreams … they are the first level of support for one another.
- Show Respect. Actively listen when your partner is speaking to you. Don’t just “uh huh” them until they stop talking. Be on time – their time is valuable too. Be courteous (a little please and thank you goes a long way). Keep your promises — if you say you are or aren’t going to do something, then follow through with your promise. If you have to break that promise, have the courtesy to tell them so they understand why rather than them finding out later in a bad circumstance. Be fair in your judgments of them. Encourage their ideas rather than shoot them down. If you are upset about something, approach them in a way where their dignity is not adversely affected — otherwise they will be on the defensive and nothing will get accomplished. Don’t assume you know how they will react to everything or that they know what you are thinking or feeling.
- Be Loyal. There is no worse feeling than to think your partner is being unfaithful. Don’t act naive. If you are doing something you don’t want to tell your mate about with a member of the opposite sex, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. It starts out innocent enough — fun chats at work or at home, then text messages, phone calls, invites to lunch, drinks … before you know it your innocent “friendship” has turned into something that could potentially destroy your relationship and devastate your partner. Beyond that, loyal also means you back them up and support them — even if you don’t always agree — especially in public environments. You’re a team. If you do disagree, talk about it later with each other, but not in public.
- Be Understanding and Tolerant. Everyone has their own little quirks, that is a human condition that no one is free from. None of us are perfect. All of us must tolerate those imperfections in those we love. If those quirks come from past experiences, or present woes, together you can overcome them with patience and tolerance. If it is something a little less dire like knuckle cracking … you may just have to grin and bear it.
- Know Your Partner. Make a point of finding out what interests them. Ask them questions about their day and show them that you are genuinely interested. Observe the little things and show them that you were paying attention. Trust me, they will appreciate that you care enough to notice and act on things you know they like or dislike.
- Be Affectionate. Relationships thrive on affection. Everything from holding hands and snuggling, to a kiss or a hand on the small of their back as you walk together — and of course for more serious relationships there is intimacy as well. If you maintain or even increase your level of affection it will continue to elevate your relationship to new heights. If you taper off or neglect your partner in that area it may create unnecessary insecurities and lead to bigger problems.
- Be Occasionally Spontaneous. Surprise your mate outside of scheduled dates or outings with flowers, dinner out, a romantic walk on the beach or breakfast in bed. This should not happen all of the time, otherwise it will be expected. Once or twice a month is sufficient. You’d be amazed how wonderful it makes them feel to get these little surprises.
- Don’t Lose Yourself. If your life suddenly becomes all about your mate, well that won’t be very interesting for them will it? Have some hobbies. Take some time for you — read a book, go for a walk, take a nap, meditate, invoke your inner arts & crafts power or play a video game … something you like doing. This gives you both more to talk about later. Everyone needs a little space. Don’t try to insert yourself into their every moment.
Keep in mind, all good relationships require compromise — on both sides. Neither you nor they are perfect, ergo your relationship will not always be perfect. It will be these imperfections that keep life interesting as long as you both work together to get through them.
The meaning of love isn’t the fairy tale you grew up with from those Disney movies. It is deep caring for another person aside from yourself, affection towards that person, loyalty to them, dedication and devotion, tolerance and understanding … it stands as a force that brings two people together and strengthens its resolve with communication, respect and acceptance. All of this takes time and practice. No one ever said doing things the smart way would always be easy, but it is most definitely worth it.