Robert J Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love says that there's not just one definition of the glorious thing we call love. In fact, there are seven types of love. So…
The idea of happily ever after is an endearing sentiment. But the truth about relationships is that they are hard work, and you need a whole lot of heart to create a relationship that can last a lifetime. Here, we lay out 10 pieces of hard-earned love advice that can make a real difference in your relationship. If you’re looking for love advice online, let us help.
A tough truth about relationships is that love alone is not enough. In the throes of the fiery passion of infatuation, couples feel like they can overcome anything together. But as your relationship settles into the monotony of everyday life, days become weeks which become years, and the greatest challenge you may have is actually each other. The prickly parts of each other’s personality can rub up against each other in just the wrong way.
But learning to look at your relationship with a positive bias and apply a select toolkit of values and perceptions means that you can have not only the love, but also the wisdom to build a solid relationship that can weather the storms, continue to grow and be the source of your greatest joy.
Love advice that’s all too true
Perhaps one of the most charming love advice quotes, “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you”, written by AA Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh, reflects the beautiful reality of true love. When you really love someone, it’s hard to imagine life without them. So what is the love advice you need to create your best life together? Here is some genuinely good love advice based on enduring adages we know to be true.
1. Love is a verb:
Realising from the outset that relationships require work, hard work, is the basic starting point. It’s not a fairytale, but it’s your story – your love story. And that’s what makes it magical. Approaching love as a verb, put in the effort and don’t be surprised when it’s not all smooth sailing. Do the work and reap the reward; back your love with your choices and do the deeds that need doing. Action really does speak louder than words.
2. In a fight, there are no winners:
There are two vital things to know about fighting in relationships. Firstly, it is normal to fight and fight you will. Secondly, when you fight in a relationship, you both lose. Let go of winning, of being right, of proving a point, and choose rather to focus on really understanding and listening. Keeping your connection is more valuable for your well-being than trying to inflate your ego by outsmarting your partner. Understanding each other’s experience is more important than who is right or wrong. Try using ‘I’ messages, instead of ‘you’, to lower the levels of confrontation.
3. Give a little respect… and a little appreciation
In a long term relationship, an easy trap to fall into is to take your partner for granted. Remind yourself what you admire about them. Don’t push their boundaries; understand that they are an entirely separate and different individual to yourself. Give your partner the space and appreciation for what they bring to your life, and show respect by taking their wishes, values and ideas into consideration. A little respect and appreciation will go a long way.
4. Two halves don’t make a whole
In romantic rhetoric, there is this idea of finding your missing half in a partner. However, an honest piece of love advice is that the best way to create a healthy relationship is to create a healthy relationship with yourself. Your partner can’t complete the missing parts of your own insecurity. Only you can fill that space, and relying on another person to make you feel complete can lead to a co-dependent relationship, creates too much expectation and is a heavy burden for a relationship to carry.
5. It really is the little things
A lasting relationship is made up of a million little moments. Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can attest to the fact that the real bricks and mortar of living with someone and loving someone is actually about taking the rubbish out, making dinner, putting on a load of washing, a quick kiss in between dropping the kids off. Real romance doesn’t only reside in grand gestures, but rather in loving in the mundane and the minutia. So pick your towel off the floor, remember to buy milk on the way home (and sometimes throw in a bunch of flowers), and make the effort. It will make your partner feel loved on an authentic and meaningful level.
Love advice that remains timeless
Sometimes it’s a grandparent or a best friend that shares a word of advice about relationships which really sticks. Sometimes you discover by doing, or not doing, something in your relationship. Wherever it originates, the most important pieces of love advice are the nuggets of wisdom which have a discernible impact on the every day in your relationship. Here are 5 unique but timeless pieces of love advice that are actually helpful:
1. Best friends and best partners go hand in hand:
The quote by Jeremy Taylor that love is friendship set on fire is truer than true. Build your friendship, alongside the passion, in your relationship. Friendship is a solid measure of true love.
2. Seek out the good:
It can be difficult to live with another person – turn your eyes to the good as a practice. If you focus on the times they forgot to take the rubbish out or buy the milk, you will be frustrated. If you focus on the times they held you when you were sick or sent you an afternoon text, you both will be a lot happier. Choose to focus on the positive as your standard modus operandi. The more you practice, the better you will get.
3. Personalize your love
Each person gives and receives love differently. As was highlighted by Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Languages of Love, each person has their own love language. Go out of your way to love your partner in a way that makes them feel valued, not only what comes easily to you.
4. Be kinder than necessary
Your partner is your favorite person in the entire world (if they’re not, they should be!). Out of 7.6 billion people living on this planet, you chose each other to do life with. Think about that. Go out of your way to be kind to your person. And in the difficult moments think about the miracle of your relationship – across all of space and time, you found each other. Shower kindness into your relationship – it blossoms into a beautiful kind of love.
5. Always know your ‘why’
Philosopher and psychologist Viktor Frankl said that when you know your ‘why’, you can endure any ‘how’. Know your why. Why are you in a relationship with your partner? Your answer will be the light that guides you. If you can’t answer this question clearly, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship. Take it to a level deeper, ‘because I love him/her’ is not sufficient, why do you love them?
The truth about love
Love does not fit simply or easily into a set of prescribed rules. All people are different, all relationships are different and all contexts are different. But what remains the same is that the way you approach your relationship, your attitude and outlook, can shape its happiness and longevity. Put your heart on the line and love with all and everything. And if you can’t, find the person that will make you want to. Love is worth it, every time.
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