The Love Recipe
DR. PAT LOVE reveals 10 amazing ways to
keep your relationship cooking.
What does Dr. Pat Love know about making love last? As the
Truth About Love: The Highs, Lows and
How You Can Make It Last Forever,
Hot Monogamy: Essential Steps to More Passionate
and How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Relationship,
it’s her business to know
how to succeed at maintaining a strong relationship. That’s why we
to unlock the key ways to preserve your love affair after you’re
and wife. Here are Dr. Love’s 10 strategies to keeping your
union vibrant and
steamy—long after the honeymoon is over.
1 PLAY UP THE POSITIVE
Always look for the best in your partner. It takes a genuine effort
to keep criticism, withdrawal, defensiveness and contempt out of
your relationship, but it makes a big
difference. The newest research on extramarital affairs points out
that the cause is not sex or excitement. It usually stems from
someone outside the marriage taking the
time to make them feel wonderful, giving them genuine compliments
or displaying a good attitude toward gestures they have made.
Positive attention is an incredibly
alluring aphrodisiac. If you have a negative attitude, studies show
that you’ll have a slim chance of holding on to that
2 IT’S THE RELATIONSHIP STUPID
Smart couples make this statement a daily mantra. It’s really about
making room for "the relationship" as the third component to what
you might have thought only consisted
of two parts, you and him. Let’s say you have a big decision to
make and you’re really torn up about it. You should stop, take a
deep breath and consider how it will affect
your relationship. It can be hard because your first impulse is to
think about how it will change your life right now. But the real
question to ask yourself is: what is best for our
union? When you and your partner are in conflict, step back and
shift the way you both approach the issue. You want to resolve it
based on how it will influence that
entity—the relationship—first, even if it means you’ll be
personally disappointed at that particular moment.
3 VIVE LA DIFFERENCE
Women are especially guilty of expecting men to be exactly like
them. But couples need to accept that it’s actually your
differences that will maintain the passion in your
marriage. In the beginning, you’re often attracted to your
similarities, but as the relationship grows, it will be the
contrasts that keep it interesting. Sure, it will challenge a
couple, and ultimately force them to respond to each other in new
ways, but it’s good to remember that humans are always in a state
of flux, with things changing all the time.
The more prepared you both are for adjustments, the smoother the
ride will be.
People have no problem setting goals for themselves in their work
life, with weight loss and fitness, and their financial status. Use
rituals like anniversaries or New Year’s Eve
to sit down and talk about relationship goals for the year. Dr.
Love even has friends who renew their marriage contract every year
after they’ve discussed their hopes for the
coming year. Target simple things like being kinder to one another;
a more attentive lover; or turning off the TV once a week to spend
time talking to each other about the
things you never have enough time to share. Then, as with any other
goal you’ve reached: Make sure to celebrate your achievements.
5 FAIR PLAY: THE ULTIMATE FOREPLAY
Tit-for-tat is no way to keep a marriage strong. Emphasize equity,
not equality, in your relationship, because it promotes all-around
fairness and prevents scorekeeping. If
you’re constantly nit-picking and keeping track of who gets what,
you’re probably not looking at the big picture, which is about
evenhandedness, not hardheadedness.
6 PUT A KABASH ON THE COFFEEE KLATCH
Women are often guilty of turning to their female friends for
support, leaving their husbands missing out on their important
feelings. When the shared intimacy that this
dialogue can produce is directed outside the marriage, it’s almost
a sort of infidelity. Sharing those deepest thoughts, dreams and
ambition should belong solely inside the
marriage. Keep some things just between you and your partner. There
is a great amount of pride in a relationship when two partners
resolve an issue in privacy, on their
7 FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS DISAPPROVE OF THEIR
Hang around with other couples who support your marriage. This
means finding couples that you know are happy in their relationship
and happy themselves. These
couples are good role models, and set a good example of how you two
should treat each other. Couples who are having difficulty will
undercut your relationship, and
marriage in general, often without realizing it. And it’s really
easy to start behaving badly when other people around you are
behaving badly. Rather, you want to surround
yourself with friends who support the institution of marriage and
truly believe in you as a couple.
8 THE TOUCHY-FEELY FACTOR
There’s no better proof of your love than displaying it in tangible
ways. Happy, stable couples show their love on a regular basis with
many acts of kindness each day. It’s the
little gestures that go a long way. You should both ask yourself:
Do I smile at him? Do I offer him coffee when I pour myself a cup?
Do I cook her dinner when I know she’s had
a really long day? Do I take the dog for a long walk so she can
have some time to herself? This will nourish the love between you,
showing your partner how much you care.
9 LONG LIVE PASSION!
(and we don’t mean sex) Whether it’s about fly-fishing, golf, music
or sex, it’s vital to accept what your partner is passionate about
in life. It’s also crucial to encourage him to
keep up those favorite pastimes—and for you to try and share in
that interest. Research shows that couples who make sacrifices for
each other’s kicks in life have the
stronger relationships. So make sure you’re open about your own
irresistible urges in life because, psst, passion is contagious.
When one partner gets revved up about
something, it often gets passed along.
10 BENEVOLENCE IS BEAUTIFUL
Do you really know what he or she wants in life? To know the answer
is a key to a successful union. It’s easy to project your own ideas
of what you like onto your mate, but
that’s missing the point. If you really want to make your partner
happy, take the time to discover the little thing that will make
them happy and then give it. It makes a person
feel loved and appreciated, letting them know you truly understand
what they desire. Think like a detective in your relationship and
learn what makes your partner tick.
Figuratively or literally, wrap it up in a pretty bow and give it
as a gift.
Summer 2003 Elegant Bride—as told by Dr. Pat Love to Kimberly
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