6 Ways to Keep Love Strong This Valentine's Day & Beyond

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Why not use a holiday celebrating love as a chance to think about how we can make our love stronger?

Lack of energy is a relationship's most silent enemy. Love doesn't exist unless it is treated as a vital and living force between two people. Saying "I love you" holds far less meaning than showing our love for someone. Bringing energy and aliveness to our relationship will keep it interesting and evolving. Show your excitement to see each other. Make time to just talk. Don't forego affection for the everyday routine of your lives. Hold hands and look into your partner's eyes. The small steps that are easy to overlook in the face of busy schedules and mounting responsibilities can be the most important elements to keeping love exciting.

Individuality

Losing yourself in love can sound like a romantic and passionate endeavor, but it is actually one of the biggest threats to maintaining intimacy. Getting close to someone shouldn't mean fusing our identity or losing respect for our innate separateness. We should always respect that our partner has a sound mind separate from our own. Becoming a "we" should never mean losing the "you" and "me." It should be a matter of complementing and supporting each other to become our fullest selves instead of merging together to become something else. Author and neuroscientist Dr. Dan Siegel cleverly describes this as forming a colorful and vibrant fruit salad as opposed to a dulled and texture-less smoothie.

Non-defensiveness

Everyone brings a lot of baggage to their relationship, and no matter how great the love or strong the attraction, perfection just doesn't exist. Human beings make mistakes. We don't match up perfectly with other people. Our partners will have plenty to say about the many subtle and not-so-subtle ways we push them away. Inviting open communication and being receptive to feedback can help us overcome the real obstacles in our relationships. Instead of making excuses or counterattacking when our partner gives us feedback, we should look for the kernel of truth in what they're saying. Don't pick apart their words. Instead, find what you think applies and be compassionate to how they feel. In this same manner, you should seek to be direct and honest with your own feelings. How does your partner push you away? How could you each work on your issues and get closer?

Generosity

The best gift we can give someone we love is to have integrity in our actions, making sure they match our words. If we say "I love you," we should be respectful of the "you" we've grown to love. This involves giving love in a way that our partner would experience as loving. It doesn't mean giving them what we would want or even what we would want for them. A romantic Valentine's Day dinner may be a sweet gesture, but what activity would really light your partner up and make them feel seen, known, and cared for?

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr. Lisa Firestone

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Dr. Lisa Firestone PhD

Director of Research and Education

The Glendon Association

www.glendon.org

www.psychalive.org

(805) 681-0415 x216

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression, Family Support, Parenting, Stress Management
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