My husband and I are celebrating our anniversary this month so I’ve been thinking a lot about love and specifically, what makes a marriage flourish. I may not have the scientific evidence to prove this, but there seems to be some “Rules of Love” that help marriages to stay strong and thrive. The best part is that these rules transcend matrimony and apply to all meaningful relationships. And what I have found to be true, time and time again, is that if I want others to practice these rules around me I must be the one to practice them first.
- Bring to the relationship what you want out of it. If you want support and encouragement be supportive and encouraging. If you want connection create connection. If you want empathy demonstrate empathy.
- Never expect the other person to read your mind. We often get upset with others because we make assumptions that they instinctively know what we want at any given moment. Tell the important people in your life what you want and need and ask them to do the same. Are thoughtful cards on special occasions important to you? Tell those that you love that you would like to receive them.
- Practice gratitude together.
- Be patient and kind with your words. Words are powerful. Use them wisely and use them to uplift those that you love.
- Learn each other’s “love language.” If you haven’t read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman I highly recommend it.
- Give each other permission to always be your true selves.
- Never try to win an argument – focus instead on trying to understand each other’s perspective. This is huge.
- Embrace imperfection. Learn to embrace both your own and others. No one wants to have to try to be perfect or to change.
- Support each other’s dreams.
- Tell each other the things you appreciate about one another daily. It’s important not to take the things we do for one another for granted. When your loved one does something for you remember to let her or him know how much you appreciate it. Sometimes we think these thoughts privately but we need to say them out loud. Words of appreciation go a long way.
- Be honest – about everything.
- Have each other’s back – ALWAYS.
More than anything, remember to treat those closest to you with pure and unconditional love and it will come back to you more than you can imagine.
” Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”