12 Ideas That Make Love Extraordinary
by: Frankie Pérez, LMFT
What is the “secret” to an extraordinary love?
No one thing makes love extraordinary, except perhaps a couples conscious intention and commitment to make it so, day after day.
Here are twelve ideas that foster the right environment for extraordinary love to flourish. Imagine a beautiful garden with twelve long-stemmed roses. Each red rose is precious, unique, fragrant, tender, and beautiful. Each requires conscious attention and love. You and your partner tend to this special garden together – this is your love garden. Each rose symbolizes an aspect of your relationship that promises to enhance and strengthen the bond you both share. Each idea adds its own unique dimension, its own shading. Discuss each with your partner and see how it fits your relationship. Decide as a couple if each “rose” is one you want to include in your garden, to watch it grow and blossom. Decide also if there are other things you would like to include as well. At the end you will have your very own and individual love garden, and with conscious tending and care, the promise of an extraordinary love.
1. EMOTIONAL SAFETY – Emotional safety is feeling safe to be vulnerable, to be totally you, to make mistakes, and to honestly express your thoughts and feelings. It is knowing that your partner will not belittle, put-down, scream, yell, cuss, or otherwise intentionally hurt you in anyway, regardless of how upset or angry he or she gets with you. The safer you feel in your relationship, the safer you will be to express your love to your partner.
2. APPRECIATION – At some level most of us crave validation. Let your partner know how special you think they are. Don’t take for granted anything your partner does for you. Express appreciation, admiration, and gratitude for all the little things he or she does, and don’t let a positive thought go unexpressed. Expressing your appreciation lets your partner know that you see and notice them; you can never say it too much.
3. NURTURING – At a very primal level, we respond positively and with recognition to the same set of qualities we would receive from a nurturing parent: cuddling, holding, playfulness, caressing, prizing, or cooing. Extraordinary lovers move naturally towards nurturing their partners in the same way. This is why so many couples in extraordinary relationships fall naturally into some form of baby-talk with each other.
4. JUST BECAUSE – We don’t have to wait for an anniversary, Christmas, birthday, or Valentine’s Day to shower our partner with small tokens of our love. Any day is a good day to send a greeting card, leave a little note behind, send flowers, take them out to a romantic dinner, or make love – just because!.
5. RESPECT & KINDNESS – An extraordinary relationship is comprised of mutual respect and kindness. These two words can be magical. Making a commitment to uphold without fail these two words would prevent most couples from relating to each other with harshness, cruelty, or disrespect of any kind, while moving instead towards tenderness and loving.
6. BLESSING – It is not true that words can’t hurt. Words have energy that can either heal or hurt. To bless means to speak well of, while to curse means to speak badly of. Every time you speak badly of, or to, your partner, every time you criticize or name-call, you are indeed cursing them. Speak well of, and to, your partner, choose your words consciously and carefully even as you express your hurt or anger. Translate your criticisms into unmet needs. Bless instead of curse – this is an expression of love.
7. HONEST STRAIGHT TALK – Any serious discussion about good relationships has to include the importance of communication. Good communication is essential to an extraordinary relationship. Withholding, not sharing, keeping secrets or resentments, erode the very foundation of love. Each withhold becomes a dark block of space between two people that prevents closeness. Learning how to communicate effectively and from the heart allows us to feel heard and seen – this is the foundation of intimacy.
8. LOVE TODAY – It seems like a simple concept, but often we allow domesticity, life, work, plans, etc., to shift our focus away from making sure that we are fully loving our partner today. If we endeavor to love today, to keep our relationship fresh and alive in this very moment, the tomorrows and the forevermore’s will take care of themselves.
9. FUN – All extraordinary relationships have laughter, lightness, playfulness, and fun. Laughing with each other, allowing each other to be silly, is often what many people in extraordinary relationships cherish most.
10. TEAM “US” – It is essential that two people in a relationship feel that they are part of a unit or team. A team mentality allows partners to play to each others strengths and weaknesses in support of what is best for the relationship. It communicates that you are never alone and that you are supported by your partner when you need it, as you do the same for them.
11. WORKING THROUGH – Threatening to leave a relationship every time you have a disagreement is damaging to the relationship. Such threats should not be used in a cavalier manner to manipulate or punish. Unless you are in an abusive or violent relationship, the agreement with your partner ought to be that no matter how difficult things get you will remain and work through your issues as soon as you both feel safe to discuss things rationally and lovingly.
12. BASIC MATH (1+1=2) – Jerry McGuire’s “you complete me” is a romantic yet extremely dysfunctional idea. Only the sum of two whole individuals can create a wholesome couple. Endeavor to have your own interests, and to feel complete physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually outside of your relationship. Perhaps the most eloquent description of this concept is expressed by Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet:
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
May your love grow stronger every day and shower you with blessings of happiness and joy for all your days to come.
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 .