Love is so much more than a feeling…it is action. The building blocks of epic love are daily, (usually) small action steps each partner takes to understand, respect, and cherish the other.
They say love is a verb, and I couldn’t agree more.
In this week’s episode, I’m sharing my top 4 verbs to support real, healthy love in action. In my experience, these are the core components of what makes love last.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, co-founders of the Love Lab at the Gottman Institute, have been researching the science of love and relationships for more than 30 years. They’ve collected data from hundreds of thousands of couples and one of their significant findings differentiates what they call the “love masters” from the “love disasters”.
What the Gottman’s observed was partners “bidding” for one another’s attention. A bid could range from sharing a story to saying something like, “come look at this beautiful sunset with me”, to reaching out to hold hands. It’s really any action taken by one partner with the intention of connecting with the other.
Here’s where it gets really interesting:
7 out of 10 times, the love masters would turn towards their partner’s bid and give them attention, satisfying the bid and creating a connection.
7 out of 10 times, the love disasters would turn away from their partner’s bid and ignore or respond in a hostile way and block the connection.
That’s how important it is to be attuned to our partners and acknowledge them!
Acknowledgment encompasses frequently expressing appreciation and gratitude for all things big and small.
Effective communication is the foundation of all healthy relationships, romantic or not.
Inside a loving partnership, effective listening is THE skill to deepen intimacy, encourage vulnerability, and strengthen trust.
I also call this athletic listening, that is, being actively engaged in what your partner is expressing (not just waiting to talk). It is listening to understand in an expansive way. You can ask open-ended questions or encourage your partner saying, “Can you tell me more?” It is possible to hold space for your beloved without trying to fix or save them by deeply listening.
When you can learn to listen with the intent of understanding the emotions, ideas, thoughts, and dreams of your partner…love and intimacy flourish.
Real love is about creating a soft place for one another to land. A big part of healthy love is about accepting your person for their strengths and their weaknesses. This does not under any circumstances mean accepting bad or abusive behavior.
What it does mean is accepting your partner for the ways you are different.
It means embracing the different ways in which you experience, understand, and process the world. My husband Vic and I are different in many ways, and I don’t need to try to change him, fix him, or make him wrong.
If you can both be your whole selves and love each other for who you really are, even when you’re at your worst, that’s half the battle.
When you and your partner are in acceptance of one another, you feel seen in all of your brilliance and held even when you make mistakes.
Hold your partner in high-esteem in every way. Speak and act with kindness, respect, and affection. When in moments of vulnerability or conflict, it is making the conscious choice to elevate your person rather than denigrate them.
Elevating one another means seeing your person in their highest potential and treating them as such. It is recognizing and acknowledging the greatness in them even when they can’t see it for themselves. Take care your words come from a place of elevating your partner because words hold power…they can be wielded as weapons and once they leave your mouth, you can’t unring that bell.
Do you have verbs to describe your current or ideal love story? I’d love to hear them, so connect with me over on Instagram @terricole and share away!
Speaking of acknowledging and appreciating, I really do appreciate you! Thank you so much for caring about your relationships and about your mental health. You are my people. ❤️
One more thing! I hope you’ll join me for the More Love Meditation Experience. Every day for 10 days, you will get a self-love mini-lesson delivered straight to your inbox that explores one of the top 10 love blocks. You’ll also get a daily affirmation and a therapeutically-based guided meditation to reinforce the lesson and amplify the love in your life!
I hope you have an amazing week and as always, take care of you.