I’m pretty lucky at this point in my life to have a loving, supporting, and inspiring partner. And, most importantly, I love myself.
It hasn’t always been this way. I’ve been divorced twice, and the reason those relationships didn’t work out wasn’t that my partners intentionally set out not to be loving, supporting, and inspiring.
It was because I didn’t understand myself. I didn’t understand what I needed, or who I was, and I didn’t love myself, so how could I have a quality relationship with someone else?
So the first rule of a loving relationship is knowing and loving yourself.
The next element of a loving relationship is being a good partner.
If you really want to be in love, to be loved, to feel a bond that lasts beyond the early days of curiosity and discovery, you need to be a good partner.
What does that mean?
It means that you are considerate of the person you are with and that you let them know they matter.
You don’t do it with words.
Words can be important, absolutely.
But words don’t replace actions.
You see if your words echo or match your actions then those words matter, but if they run counter to your actions, then they become hypocrisy.
What do I mean by actions you say?
First up, treat your partner the way you would want to be treated, with respect, honesty, compassion, consideration, and honor.
All too often we treat our clients, or our friends better than we treat our partners.
The assumption is that your partner is there for you, they can see your raw reality, and they should be there for you when you are at your worst.
And you know what, from time to time, when things do get difficult, that is absolutely true.
Your partner should be there for you through thick and thin.
They should see through your worst, as you should, in turn, see through theirs.
But being your worst should not become your default, not even a little bit.
On the contrary, your best should be your default.
You should treat your partner better than your best client, treat them like they’ll walk out that front door and never return if you don’t treat them with special intent.
Newton’s third law states that when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
In other words, if you treat your partner well, with good intentions, and with honest effort, they will, in turn, treat you with equal and matching consideration.
Simple physics in love!
Next, know their Love Language
In his groundbreaking book, “The Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman presented five fundamental love languages that we should understand, recognize, and align with if we want our partners to FEEL loved.
You see, you may love somebody, and you may express your passion and your love with great fervor, especially in the beginning, but if you don’t speak their language of love, then they will not FEEL loved.
Over time, they will begin to feel less and less connected to you, less and less understood and when that happens, resentment and disconnection are not far away.
The languages as Chapman describes them are:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Gift giving
3. Physical touch
4. Acts of service (devotion)
5. Quality time
So one caveat to my original thoughts here is the idea that while you should treat your partner as you would wish to be treated, you can’t love them as you would wish to be loved.
That’s confusing you say?
Treatment is connected to all the factors I expressed before, honesty, goodness, and respect are all elements of character.
However, the way you love someone must recognize the way they want to be loved.
If you are always giving nice gifts to your partner because you like gifts, but their love language is quality time and you are rarely available, well the reaction you get won’t be what you were expecting.
The gift will be most likely appreciated if you have been connecting with quality time, and your partner feels loved because of that connection.
The gift is a bonus and surely appreciated.
However, if you haven’t had time for them, no matter what the gift, its value or its thought, it will not leave a mark of impression, especially not one that will last, or be considered a replacement for your personal time and effort.
Love them as they would wish to be loved.
Finally, consistency is the key.
Sporadic efforts to connect with your partner’s love language, treating them with kindness and consideration, or pulling up your socks and recognizing you’ve been slacking will not save a relationship.
If you want a really powerful relationship, your efforts must be consistent and honorable.
You wouldn’t just mail it in at work (or maybe you would, but that’s a subject for another post!) because you know eventually, you’d lose your job.
Why do you expect any difference from your relationship?
If you mail it in at home, you will soon be in a relationship devoid of love, passion, or consideration, and the effort required to salvage it will be monumental.
Don’t wait for them to walk out that door to realize how much they mean to you!
Treat your partner with true love and kindness, understand them, honor them, and you will have a very powerful relationship for many years.
Four simple principles to a loving relationship!
1 – Love yourself
2 – Be a good partner
2 – Know their love language
3 – Be consistent
So Simple, now make it happen!