Love is a big word – really big. Especially when we think of all that goes into a creating a loving bond with our special other. When we think of loving our partner, adoring our spouse, basking in the splendor of a caring relationship, we can’t help but think of how we got there, how we ended up with something so great.
Often in dating, love feels like a force that blankets our thoughts and feelings, sometimes moment by moment. And this force, well, it kind of descends as a gift out of nowhere.
Falling in Love Slowly is the Building Blocks for a Healthy Relationship
But in reality, love doesn’t just happen. Love is created. Love is constructed. Lasting love blossoms through effort and time spent treating each other as unique, like the other is God’s gift to the world. Love grows bit by bit – not like a wild flower that appears out of nowhere. But like a rose grown in rich soil soaking in the nutrients and the sun a day at a time. It comes from thought out effort and tender loving care.
If we break love down into realizable bits and pieces, we find that creating an “In love” relationship happens through incremental efforts – like building blocks that, added together, form a whole. Nothing great in life happens by chance – but comes from consistent and persistent behaviors that make it real.
That doesn’t mean the there isn’t something magical about love and why it works so well with a life partner we share it with. Not all great things are explainable in their entirety by smaller components. We often see this in marital and family systems where the marriage or family dynamics don’t always seem to come from the sum of the parts.
But to understand love, in the sense of our responsibility to understand what creates it and giving us a “how to” vision for building even more and sustaining what we have, it is most helpful to look at how we got where we are. Otherwise, the idea that love happens by chance, leaves us little room to focus on our part in designing and supporting the ongoing love we have for our mate.
So let’s look at some simple building blocks of love – ones we can count on to help us deliver a lasting and dynamic love with our partner.
• Remember that love is a verb – actions and behaviors create it. For example, telling our lover what makes them special, taking time to find out how their day went and staying connected through notes, texts and other verbal expressions, goes a long way.
• Create a mindful attitude knowing that love takes insightful effort – to know what is meaningful to our partner and makes them feel special. Create a list of those behaviors that he/she finds loving.
• Define love this way – love is spelled TIME. Without time, we can’t imagine building special memories and behaviors our partner finds caring.
• Define the kind of energy you want to share together. Is it filled with positive emotions, hope, joy, etc., or filled with negative and more toxic feelings and experiences? Decide together how to treat each other to get the good feelings going.
• Do simple things together that allow you to share space and conversations. Going for walks together, taking bubble baths together and hanging out at the park are examples where conversations can take place and both can practice empathy and care in listening and sharing.
• Grow your caring side. Love comes from paying attention to our own well within and doing things to fill it up. Self-care, for example helps us love better. Being intentional about thinking of and expressing caring behaviors, draws from the well inside.
• Remember to have fun. So much of love comes from laughing together and enjoying the playful side of our lover. Playful energy is infectious and powerful.
These are only a few ideas for creating and expressing love. Always know that love doesn’t just happen. It grows from intentional caring thoughts and behaviors that are consistently applied and fill up the space and time we share together. Love has it’s own remarkable magic – but it’s the magic two lovers share together – nurtured and fostered one moment at a time, one thought after another, one behavior followed by the next caring act. One bite size piece after another into something bigger and bigger!