Yes, show love to your partner, but here's how to also show it to everyone in your life ...
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (Newly Revised Standard Version 1 Cor. 13.4-7).
We've all heard this familiar drone at weddings, typically as the last reading before when your stomach is grumbling stomach and you're wishing the reception would start already.
But wedding cliche aside—the passage is worth our attention. If we take time to let it sink into our bones, this homage to unconditional love can permeate our lives and improve the relationships around us.
Yes, of course, we long for the excitement that comes with new romance—a kind of love that seems far from this definition above, but any married couple will tell you that true love (lasting love) is found in the little things.
To attract your future mate, improve your relationship, or even show appreciation to children, co-workers, babysitters, neighbors—in addition to the cater waiter at the wedding—here are some small but significant ways to show unconditional love in your life:
1. Wear your wedding ring. Nothing says "I love you" more than publicly honoring your commitment to your spouse. As a Matchmaker in Beverly Hills, it's appalling how many times I see men without their wedding rings or doing the "left-hand-in-pocket" dance.
Be loud and proud about your loved one. If you're unmarried, consider giving your sweetheart a promise ring with a necklace so that she can put it on her finger when the time is right.
2. Let the other person make mistakes. So many times in our daily lives we insist on our own way and want fairness (as we define it) in everything, especially when it comes to small tasks—like taking out the trash. We hold ourselves to high standards and leave little leeway for others. We get irritable if he or she fails to execute a task exactly the way we want it, in the time exact frame that we want it done.
Instead of becoming irritable, address the problem to your partner lovingly and focus on solutions. This might feel hard and challenging, but it's the most fruitful way for unconditional love to thrive in your life.
3. Be clear with the boundaries of a relationship. If you only see a person as a casual friend, treat him as such, rather than inaugurating him in as your newest insta-BFF let's-text-every-minute buddy.
If there's an inkling of something more, allow yourself time to explore it. Avoid leading people on if you have a clear understanding of your feelings.
4. Leave your house five minutes before you normally do. Timeliness shows respect for other people. You'll also be an angel on the road, where people's worst sides tend to sneak out (because they're all in a hurry).
5. Let the other person choose the music that you listen to in the car. This simple act of kindness goes a long way in keeping the peace and you'll likely discover some great new music this way.
6. Stop to ask your doctor's secretary how she is doing. In our busy lives, we rush from one scheduled event to the next, ignoring the people we encounter in between meetings. Next time, stop to ask your restaurant hostess how her day is going or thank your office neighbor for his cheery attitude.
7. Make a small basket of goodies for a mother you know. Fill it with inspirational quotes and show her that you care about her and her children—that you notice and appreciate her hard work as a mother.
8. Devote one day a month to volunteer work. Try to give back to your community at least once a month. Even if your job involves community service, choose something that differs completely from your field. As a Matchmaker, I sometimes feel like dealing with certain clients is a public service, but volunteering at a homeless shelter helps me to see the big picture.
9. Give yourself one night per week to go out. No strings attached, no networking; this night is for you to enjoy LIFE. Choose a fun event with friends or join a group that welcomes others with similar values to yours. You'll notice that by giving yourself some time off, you will start to treat others more lovingly.
10. Go on a romance retreat. Come on our Italy trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. When you take time for yourself to explore the world, you will be a better friend, girlfriend, and/or wife. You could even meet your future husband, best friend, or simply spend time nourishing your relationship.
Remember, unconditional love starts from within. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, surrender your regrets, and open yourself to the lovely surprises that life has to offer. Once you practice unconditional love on a daily basis, soon you may find yourself cherishing the words "love is patient" in your everyday life.