Want to Keep That Lovin’ Feeling? LOV – Lead, Open, & Vary Learn more about 3 Ways that Rituals Can Help Your Relationship to Thrive
February is my favorite month… January inspires as we build 2020 vision, plan the next steps in careers by design, and infuse new personal development paths (last month’s blog). In February we turn to matters of your heart. While I hope the commitments that you made in January are continuing to inspire you, this month it’s all about LOV baby love.
How is your love life? How do you feel about yourself these days? These are big questions to ponder.
Here are a few ideas to help you to activate the energy of romance and love in your life. Yes, yes, we all know that to love someone (and the self), we need to practice self-care, we should feel good inside our body, and live a balanced life. We need to manage our stress.
But honestly…how do YOU keep that loving feeling alive… inside you and between you & your true love? Enduring love is shown in the research to be the secret sauce to longevity. Read on..
I was asking a client today about times he has felt most secure and connected to his partner. He shared that he knows his partner loves him when she initiates physical contact (with spontaneous hugs, loving eye contact… and of course, full-on SOS skin on skin PLAY). In their relationship, he shared that his wife has been the initiator of play, and he the ever-grateful recipient. However, when she is stressed out, she withdraws love, and he feels anxiously alone. Couples are really helped when they are inspired to talk about their patterns. The more they talk, the more intentional they both can be. A ritual can be set up to check in with each other about how LOV is feeling.
The patterns of relationship engagement are often set in the first year of dating. For many couples, complimentary patterns will sustain a whole lifetime of love and positivity. For others, old patterns, once positive, can turn 180 degrees into negative feelings and perceptions of control or neglect by the other. When our lives speed up and become loaded with added complexities — children, mortgage(s) and career aspirations, what was once perceived in the other as being a skilled organizer becomes evidence of ‘the controller’. We become reactive and repeat the patterns of previous relationships and even past generations.
In the case of my client, weekly date nights are the rituals he can count on and look forward to. Knowing his date night is coming up on Thursday, he fields his way through the chaos of toys, dishes in the sink, work deadlines, and crazy Vancouver traffic.
Honestly, we all get hung up on the details at times. But for this valentine, knowing that there are things to look forward to, he is inspired to wear his Inner Super Man cape and leap tall buildings throughout the day… even with the deluge of rain we have been having this week in Vancouver!!
Rituals help us become more intentional about life and love. When you know what needs adjusting, it’s a simple process to initiate positive change.
And as all things work in tandem, he has also noticed that when he and his wife are happy, his children are magically happy too! But which comes first?
Children and pets can be like honing devices to our stressed/peaceful heart! If you want to know how you are doing in your marriage/relationship, just notice the little people in your life! Anxious or grumpy children (or pets) can often be the sign that a reboot may be needed… top-down. All we really need is love sweet LOV.
One of the reasons many religions may have survived decades of controversy and conflict, may be the rituals they adhere to. In every religion, you will notice laws of engagement (Jewish Halakha, Islamic Sharia, Christian Canon Law, & Hindu Law); and rituals of celebration (weddings, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukah); and day to day practices (prayer, meditation, exercise). I truly think for the longevity of love, we might consider our relationships with similar conviction and commitment to daily practices.
Lead with your language of love
Open up to your partner with true curiosity
Vary your fun
There is a study out of The University of Lisbon, Portugal https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00193.x
Which looked at self-reports of family rituals and relationship attachment. It turns out families invested in rituals were related to greater levels of secure attachment styles in both parents and children. Rituals give us security, constancy, and may be associated with more positive relationships and closeness.
There is so much research that tells us we will live longer in a pair bond than we will live on our own. Psychological Science published study results to suggest having a happy spouse leads to a long marriage and now to a longer life as well (April 23, 2019). https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190423133434.htm
LOV sweet love – 3 Rituals to start thriving today.
- Lead with your language of love. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEA5McLPE9c
According to his book, we understand love in 5 ways: gifts, time, words, acts of service and physical touch. What is your love language? What are your partners? How might you start every day speaking in that language of love? For example, if your language is time and you’ve been arranging play dates, and your partner’s language gifts, you may want to up your possibilities to become multi-versed in love with small gifts such as flowers, or chocolates. It helps if you learn to speak in your partner’s love language.
Michael Buble reportedly has a wonderful marriage to Argentinian Luisana Lopilato, but he learned to speak Spanish! And of course, we can be a mix of a few of the 5 love languages. Generally, those styles of expressing and receiving love are set up in childhood by observation and lived experience.
Either way, what you direct your energy towards, you will likely get back in spades. Starting your day in a positive way, feel connected just by acting on a loving gesture. If you are someone who is in the ‘words’ quadrant, you might write your partner love notes and secretly pop one in his/her car to find when he/she heads out. C’mon these new fun gestures feel good just thinking about doing them, don’t they?
Just imagine the smile you might bring to your partner’s day today. No matter what your love language is, how can you have some fun expressing love to your partner first thing in the morning (or for yourself if you live alone)? Remember your word of the day from last month’s blog!!
- Open up to your partner. Create a ritual in your day so you can talk face to face. Many couples find the end of the day before bed is the best way to make sure you have this debrief. It might be while having a bath together, or when face to face on a couch, or in bed. If you live alone, you might phone your friend or family member to connect. These evening rituals can help you sleep better too. The more you unload your day, the more your brain will ease you into stage one & two sleep. What is the best time for you to have a good tete a tete?
- Vary the play dates you set. In the busy schedules of work, children and general life commitments, it can be good to commit to a date night. You may want to change up what you do each week to keep novelty alive. Go for walks in new locations. Challenge yourselves to design original ideas. Keep the unexpected expected and your partner guessing if you want to spice up your life. The brain can habituate to doing the same old same same thing each week… we need novelty to grow new brain pathways of excitation and love. If you did the same workout every day, you would stop getting fitness results. The same is true about the brain and dopamine.
Cheers to your long life and forever courtship!
P.S. Get out your dancing shoes. If you live in Vancouver, it would be great to see you at the Sneaker Ball this Saturday night. https://kaymeek.com/events/sneakers-ball
Good morning Joanne, I read every word of this blog today and it is not only reassuring but the connection you made to all organized religions and the reasons for their lasting presence relating to the security of rituals is bang on! LOV is a great acronym for real LOVE! and bang on also about everything coming from he top down! If our little people are feeling anxious very often there is conflict or some anxiety with the big people which should be addressed! Thank you for the morning thoughts!
I know… right Rola!… that connection is so obvious now. The idea was a revelation to me yesterday lol…I’m not sure how the idea came to me… and now such an obvious one. All we need to do to nurture forever love is to have the same commitment to daily and weekly rituals like so many organized religions do. And it is so powerful to know that family rituals are associated with secure attachment styles… so our children will have forever love too!! We can create a revolution of love if we take this idea and go global!! 🙂