The Little Things
How to Stay In Love Forever
by: Frankie Pérez
Many people believe that the initial and transcendent feeling of being in love will inevitably fade away, yielding to the more mature and somber feeling of love. And it is this deeper feeling that truly matters, for it would be an impractical fantasy to suppose that we could remain in love forever.
In truth, deep love and the feeling of being in love are like two wings of a bird in flight. Each is necessary to the other and together they soar high in the sky, working in harmony to reach new heights. The feeling of love grows stronger as it is spurred on by the enchantment of being in love. There is nothing more sublime, nothing sweeter.
It is possible to remain in love forever and to have a loving connection that deepens and grows stronger with each passing day. What’s more, it is possible to recapture that in love feeling even when we believe it to be gone.
The secret is in the little things.
While the big annual events, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries, are important to celebrate, it is the little things you do on a daily basis that are the glue that will keep you together and in love for life. The little things let your partner know that you are thinking of them, that they are important to you, that you don’t take them for granted, and that you value being with them. It is the mid-day phone call to say “I love you”, the hidden note, the unexpected hug, the soft caress on the neck as you pass by on your way to the kitchen, the words of validation, gratitude, and appreciation, that will make your partner feel special and loved.
But sometimes we forget to celebrate each other and let domesticity get in the way of expressing our love. The stressors of daily living can shift a couple’s attention away from each other and into a myriad of things to do, tend to, fix, or orchestrate. As couples spend less and less time meeting each other’s emotional needs, conflict escalates and partners feel unseen and unhappy. In the past, relationship counseling tended to focus primarily on teaching couples how to deal with conflict. And while it is essential to learn to navigate conflict in a healthy way, we now know that it is more important to place emphasis on positive emotions and interactions.
In his Love Lab, marriage expert John Gottman has been studying couples for over 25 years. He claims that he can predict a couple’s likelihood of making their relationship work by observing how often partners turn positively towards each other, fulfill bids for attention and affection, and the overall level of friendship and kindness they exhibit towards each other. Gottman states that we must get to know our partners by asking the information we need to find out about their Love Maps: things such as their likes and dislikes, stressors, what makes them feel happy or loved, and who their friends are. In addition, we need to make daily deposits into our partners emotional bank account—doing the little things that make them feel loved and appreciated.
It is a common held belief that relationships are hard work, that they are difficult. Relationships are not hard if they are mindful, conscious. They become difficult when we stop paying attention and do not make them a priority. But when we seek to nurture them on a daily basis they are nothing short of magical. Again, the little things you do are what make the difference.
THE LITTLE THINGS PRIMER
LOVE TODAY – Just because you have made a commitment to each other, wear a ring, and share living space, does not mean that your job as a partner is finished. Sometimes couples worry about forever but forget about today. If you focus on consciously loving and appreciating your partner today, tomorrow will take care of itself. Every day, endeavor to do the little things that make your partner feel loved.
SHOW & TELL – Some people respond more to words, others to touch, or a look, or to the things their partner does for them. Find out what works for your partner. Let them know you love them with the sweet things you say and the kind things you do. Show them you treasure them by connecting through touch: a sweet caress, a warm hug, or a soft kiss.
LAUGHTER – It is true, laughter is the best medicine. Every day find something that makes you both laugh. It is important to have fun and be friends with your partner. Avoid getting stuck in the rut of being too serious with each other all the time. Have fun and re-connect to the childlike excitement of being playful with each other. Remember that it is next to impossible to laugh and be mad at the same time.
VALIDATION, APPRECIATION, & GRATITUDE – Be a right finder, not a fault finder. Every day look for something to appreciate or validate your partner for. Do not let a positive thought go unexpressed; tell your partner what you value about them. What we pay attention to expands. If we are paying attention to each other’s faults, that will be our reality. If we shift to pay attention to each other’s positive traits that too will expand—this is the Law of Attraction. Look for the things about your relationship to feel grateful for. Say “thank you” for all the wonderful things they do.
KINDNESS – Nothing kills relationship faster than criticism, harshness, and unkindness. Every word, every touch, every action, communicates kindness and love, or disapproval and contempt. Be kind. Whether you need to express a positive or a negative feeling do so with great care to not hurt one another.
“JUST BECAUSES” – These are the things you do for your partner just because. You do not need an excuse, such as a birthday or anniversary, to do little special things for your partner. Be creative and have fun coming up with a list of romantic and whimsical ideas of things you can do to let your partner know that you are thinking of them and to let them know how special they are to you.
With daily conscious and mindful intention you can remain, or recapture the feeling of being, in love. Expressing your love by doing the little things on a daily basis is what will keep your relationship alive and deepen the feelings of love for all your years to come.
May your love take you to new heights and may you know true happiness together.
Frankie Pérez, LMFT
©MindGym, LLC; 2007
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Frankie Pérez, LMFT, is a relationship specialist, soul-centered psychotherapist, and Franklin Covey Certified Personal Life Coach. He is the founder of MindGym, LLC, a psycho-educational service offering counseling and/or coaching to individuals, couples, and groups.
Frankie also presents workshops on Couples Communication, Dating, Mindfulness Meditation & Soul-Centered Psychotherapy, Sports Related Communication Excellence, and Peak Performance using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy. He may be reached by phone at:(214) 289-7995 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .