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“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” — Kahlil Gibran
Imagine the loss. You’ve been there haven’t you?
The Earth stopped spinning.
The Sun will never again rise in the east.
The nights are grueling, longer then they ever seemed to be.
You’ve been cut open, wounded and left vulnerable to the winds of change and uncertainty.
You’ve lost your wife, your lover. The one person who fills your cup and makes this world a little more habitable.
Kahlil Gibran illuminates the discomfort of losing love in his famous quote from “The Prophet.”
For me personally it highlighted something I was completely unaware of in the midst of my relationship.
I have spent ten months without the love of my life and my family. In this time I grew as a person more than at any time in my life. I decided in these 300 days that I was going to figure out what it takes to be better at love. May be for someone else. So that I could tell from the mistakes that usually couples commit in a relationship.
I read, I sought out those who had been down the road of love. I talked to therapists, I went to those who knew more then I did.
Here is what I learned.
1. Appreciation prevents Separation
The best place to start is right where you are. The two of you are on your own journey. What makes you unique and beautiful is what separates you from all other couples. You, together, have a recipe no one else has. Live in that space. Appreciate what exists between you.
For me comparison was a barometer of where I felt I fit into my partners life.
The problem with comparing is when you compare yourself to others (or your relationship to others) you lose every time.
Read that again.
Comparing your relationship on any level; the cadence of sex or fighting, money or how you spend it — or lack thereof, where you eat or what you eat is a bottomless pit of shame.
We’re already told enough in our world how we’re inadequate and “less than.” You don’t need to bring that into what’s suppose to be a safe haven.
Love the station of where your relationship exists. Embrace it for all that is unique about it. Don’t look to other relationships as a barometer for success in your own.
2. A Change Gonna Come
New love is fun! Mature love is stable. And sometimes stable isn’t so fun.
Accept that and you’ll be just fine. Fight it and you’ll be swiping left again soon enough. Trust me.
Relationships are pendulous in nature. Change is the only constant in life and it will exact itself on your relationship.
Open your sail to the winds of change and let them guide you to a new way of living.
Realize that this thing you’re in will mature and become about respect and admiration. Love will be a thing you do, not feel.
3. Go with Gratitude
Go back to that feeling of loss for a moment that I spoke of.
Go ahead, think about what life would be like without them…
Think about the things that make this person so special to you.
What if they were gone tomorrow — for any reason….
So start with gratitude first. Be grateful for the fact that this person is in your life. Be grateful that they chose you. Of all the people they could have been with, they chose to share life with you. You only get one life and this human being cares for you. In a world that urges separation and isolation with technology? You found a person who wants to instead, meet you at the crossroads of love and leisure.
Stop thinking about what’s not happening in your relationship.
Stop focusing on the missing links.
Start focusing on what you have right here right now.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
4. Choose Your Own Adventure
Autonomy breeds interdependence.
Heteronomy breeds codependence.
Heteronomy refers to influence by a force outside oneself.
We’ve all done this in our lives. We get into a relationship and suddenly it overtakes us and hijacks our time and passions.
Learning not to do this isn’t the point here — though of course being independent is healthy. The point is you are most attractive to someone else when you are living your passions.
When you perform your passion, you are living your truth.
Another reason this is so vital in a healthy relationship is it creates space. Space is the equalizer between emotion and evolution of self.
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness. Fill each others cup but drink not from the same cup. Give your hearts but not into each others keeping, for only the hand of life can hold your heart.” — Khalil Gibran
5. Don’t Look Back at Your Wake
You can’t change what’s already happened in your life or your partners.
The purpose of any relationship up to this point has been to help you both grow into the people you are today. You learned what works for you and what doesn’t.
The people who appeared in your life in the past were shepherds. They helped guide your way across the landscape of your love life. Thank them for their guidance and then bless and release them.
Don’t spend much time in looking back at your wake.
Looking back only serves as a distraction from the present.
6. Live in Childlike Fascination
Make a conscious choice to see something positive about your partner as often as possible. Take in the wonder of who they are and what makes them unique.
When I say something positive or unique, it doesn’t have to be something incredible either. Maybe it’s a flaw? Flaws are fabulous and unique.
In the aftermath of my breakup I found myself appreciating the weirdest things about my partner. I missed those weird things.
She left the curtains open in our bedroom which drove me nuts. But in the end I actually missed having them open. Why? It was unique to her.
Taking someone for granted starts with not appreciating the little things that make them special. Even things like leaving the curtains open. When it’s gone, believe me, you’ll miss it.
7. Attention without feeling… is only a report.
An openness — an empathy — was necessary if the attention was to matter. — Mary Oliver
How often do you really listen with empathy to the person you love?
Empathy in this context means to listen with feeling, emotion and full attention — openness as Mary Oliver says.
If you are not listening to your partner when they talk or share something? You are simply a reporter. Witnessing the act of talking and showing little emotion.
Be better, be present.
8. The Tightest Grasp is an Open Fist
Let someone roam their own world and love them for it. Let them hunt the trail of curiosity and explore who they are. Do nothing more then encourage it. That is the definition of real love.
You want the person you walk through life with to be the best they can be. The more they understand their own interior the more they have to offer you. If they explore their own path they are able to requite love and foster its growth. They’re also able to offer you the best roadmap of themselves and how to love them.
Remember, the higher you function as a human being the more centered you live your life. The more centered you are the better the partner you make and the more you have to offer.
9. Appreciate the Transient Nature of Love
Understand that your relationship has an undertow of emotions that aren’t visible to the eye. That both of you possess this internal river of feelings in which your love is but a tributary. Understand that life is the main channel and it dictates the flow of love into your delta.
Life acts upon us to an extent and changes the availability we have for love.
Accept that sometimes one of you will be better at your journey together then the other. Realize that there will be times when one of you will carry the relationship. There will be an ebb and flow of love between you over time which is normal and healthy.
If you struggle with this sentiment, I leave you with this….
A story of great love and lifelong partnership isn’t written on the lines, it’s based on what happens between them.
10. Variety is the Spice of Love
Couples that try together thrive together.
It’s a fact that the happiest couples never stop dating one another. They never stop trying new activities.
If you want to keep the love strong in your relationship, you need to explore life together. When you try something new together it prevents you from getting stuck in a “relationship rut.”
Going out gives you a chance to see your partner in a different light. Try things you have never done before. This builds excitement around what could happen. Don’t get wrapped up in whether or not you’ll like it. Chances are you will have a great time if you dive in with an open mind.
11. Pick up a Pen Every Now and Then
It doesn’t matter how you say, it just matters that you said it.
In our busy lives we often forget the most basic of communications and the power they wield.
A text to say “How’s your day” or “I really do love you so much” goes so far but those little words get lost in the daily grind.
So today, set 1 minute aside and write an email, text or fill out a card and tell the person in your life how much they mean to you.
12. Understanding How to Say It…Is Everything
It’s true communication is the cornerstone of a relationship. But what the experts don’t tell you is that communication without understanding is a rudderless ship.
My partner and I spoke different languages when it came to communicating(not literally). Take it from me this can wreak havoc on your relationship. It led to plenty of disruptive arguments that were a waste of time until we had figured out “how” to talk to one another.
You must learn to communicate effectively in a way that your partner understands.
Ask your partner how they need you to talk to them. Start there. Some people are more sensitive then others; respect that. Some read intonation of voice different then others. Some need to talk then leave and process. Some people enjoy a good argument. Others cower from confrontation. Figure this out early on if you can.
It will allow you to be constructive when you communicate.
13. Develop Romantic Amnesia
Fighting is inevitable in a relationship.
Whatever fights you might have had? You need to lay them down and put them to sleep. Ambushing someone with what occurred in the past is not an act of love. It’s an act of selfishness born out of your injured ego. Once something has occurred it is over. It is part of the wake you leave behind you. Holding it over someone’s head isn’t a position of power either. It’s a position of weakness. And you are better than that.
So develop what I like to call Romantic Amnesia. Let whatever fight that has lingered… Whatever ill feelings have been gotten… Whatever travesty has befallen you — GO.
Learn to forgive. Learn to forget. Choose acceptance over being right.
14. Couples that Goal Together…
One of the keys to growing closer is accomplishing things as a team. This is how humans innately bond, by doing something as a group, team or couple.
Couples who set goals together, grow together.
After all, goals are the glue of our existence. Without goals, you’re just a wayward ship without a sail. Goals harness the winds of life and fill your sails, giving you direction to new places.
Also when you share a goal together, one of you will keep the other on track. It will be a rare occasion when you both don’t feel like doing something.
So set goals with your partner and watch not only what you achieve in life but also in love.
15. Stop Drop and Learn
I have news for you.
You weren’t born to love anyone. So forget those fluffy quotes you see on IG with clouds and puppies telling you someone was born to love you. No.
You have to learn to love someone. In turn they have to learn to love you.
Learn to listen to them.
Learn how to fight with them.
Learn how to make them happy.
Learn their love language(s).
So stop waiting for someone you think was built to love you. Drop that story in your head because it’s false. Learn to love someone through patience and bonding.
16. Vulnerability Builds Compatibility
Nothing is more scary then opening up to someone. But one of you will have to cross that line and take a chance.
What I learned was this actually became one of the most solid ways to build compatibility with my partner. Why? When I opened up, she opened up. When I shared a story, she shared a story. We released fears, insecurities, doubts, stories, wants and needs.
Being vulnerable is the most sincere expression of love a human being can show another.
When you are being vulnerable you are saying “I trust you.” You are handing over the roadmap to your interior. You are showing them the geography of you.
If you have this with someone, celebrate it.
17. Do Lip Service to yer…Lip Service
Speaking of vulnerability….
Sex is the epitome of vulnerability. Sex should be fun and come with a side of laughter and playfulness. Sometimes you’ll be a porn star, a marathon runner and yet other times you’ll resemble a drunk baby seal.
The point is sex is about being together and being one, it’s not about your performance. It’s about sharing love and bonding. It develops your bond and expands your heart.
It’s about two beautiful human beings thinking enough of one another to share their insecurities and vulnerabilities at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to talk about sex. Be open to discuss it all with the person you’re with. Be accepting of who they are and where they’ve been.
18. You Don’t Have to be Ranvir Singh or Deepika Padukone
It’s not about your clothes.
It’s not about your car, your belongings or your career.
It’s not about who you might become.
And it’s certainly not about how you look.
As you are today, right now, you are perfect for someone.
You should be loved for your mishaps and celebrated for your flaws. Remember that. This is what makes you unique and one-of-a-kind.
I always drove myself nuts trying to be perfect. Find that person for yourself. And if you have someone make sure they love you for all that you are. Not what you could be. And remember….
Love is free of any judgement.
Newton’s First Law and Your Future
Newton’s first law says that an object at rest will stay right where it is unless something acts on it.
Do you think this applies to your relationship too?
If you do nothing, nothing will happen, you’ll be stuck.
But, if you start to act using any of the lessons outlined above, you are acting on the object (your relationship). I can tell you because I have made a lot of mistakes and I have learned from them.
Physics then takes over and will move your relationship in another direction.
Remember to be present and take notice of the small victories that you achieve along the way. Build on each little victory and I promise you’ll have a happier, healthier, more symbiotic relationship in a very short time. Hope you find your love! And don’t forget to pray for me! 😇