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 author of
Truth About Love: The Highs, Lows and How You Can Make It Last Forever,
Hot Monogamy: Essential Steps to More Passionate  IntimateLovemaking
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 asked her
to unlock the key ways to preserve your love affair after you’re named husband
and wife. Here are Dr. Love’s 10 strategies to keeping  your union vibrant and
steamy—long after the honeymoon is over.

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 relationship.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

(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.

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 Stevens
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