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Archive for the ‘Falling in Love’ Category

Two couples sit in a living room.

One couple sit together, touching and exchange glances often. They talk over each other a fair bit too, apologizing for finishing each other’s stories. They seem more aware of each other than their company. They are (no surprise here) dating. You know, the stage where “ignorance is bliss”.

Across the room the other couple also sit together but slightly apart. Affection isn’t easy to detect and there’s a level of disinterest in each other’s sentences. Their conversation is perhaps more polished but you’re not sure if they’ve looked at each other since they sat down. This couple, you guessed it, have matured. They sport 10 years of married “bliss” together.

Now, conventional wisdom would have us listen to the “voice of experience.” It would have us turn to the 10-year couple and ask, “How have you done it? How have you stayed together and learned to live in this relationship?”

In response we might hear about the importance of tolerating each other no matter the hardship, and how they’ve learned to handle both joys and disappointments. We’d learn how idealism fades into reality and how the couple across the room will see how it really is in due time. We’d grimace at the list of things they’ve given up trying to change about each other in order to keep the peace.

However, unconventional wisdom would have us listen to the “voice of those experiencing.” It would have us turn to the dating couple and ask them, “How is it done? How do you see enjoying each other and learning to live in this relationship?”

In response we would most likely hear how they have high expectations of their future together and we would see how they make generous excuses for the faults they see in each other. We’d learn how their idealistic thinking about love actually frames the way they treat each other, and becomes self-perpetuating. We’d smile to see that neither of them can think of anything they wouldn’t change for the sake of the other’s happiness.

From our vantage point we get to see things critically. We get to pick. Do we follow the wisdom of those who have what we want or do we listen to those who have let it slip? Do we accept a fundamental shift in thinking to return to what love can be, or do we justify our lack of it and roll our eyes at what we had?

The most important question for you is, which couple are you becoming more like?

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Sometimes we don’t realize it, but what drives the success of a happily dating couple is the tension between who they are as individuals and what they share of themselves. Their lives are characterized by the movement from what’s unknown about each other to what’s becoming known, from what has been discovered to what’s about to be.

When a relationship is new, there is much more focus on learning more about the other person. However as it matures, focus is also required on the development of who you are becoming as an individual.

A common mistake is to stop focusing on the discovery of yourself and your spouse over time. You’ve seen those couples that seem so disinterested in each other – he certainly isn’t getting any admiration from her, and his affections aren’t towards her either. It’s sad and so opposite from how they likely began: in love with the discovery of each other. At some point they stopped discovering each other, or stopped developing who they were becoming as individuals. Sometimes both.

We’re sure you’ve seen couples that have been married for quite a while and yet are still madly in love too. You’ve seen the evident love and zeal they have for each other and you’ve wondered what they did to make love last.

Under the surface of such a love you will find that they allow each other space for and celebrate self-discovery, and they continue to learn more and more of who it is that they’re with – in every season of life, and in the light of the challenges and opportunities they face together.

Both man and woman, if they want their love to last, must take responsibility for and intentionally focus on this discovery. If they do, the same emotion and adventure that drives a new relationship will characterize theirs as well – only with the added treasure of the trust and safety of a more mature relationship.

How could you show more interest in your mate? Do you need to develop yourself more or allow room in life for them to “become” more of who they are? How is this tension is playing out in your relationship? We invite your comments below.

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Some people think that falling in or out of love is outside of their control. However, take a few minutes to think of it this way:

Without purposefully working on it, in a long-term relationship there’s a continuum from fascination to familiarity to falling out of love. In other words, the degree to which you are no longer fascinated by someone means you are oh-it’s-just-you familiar with them, and shortly thereafter you will find yourself falling out of the feelings of being in love.

It’s the fascination with someone who fuels your attention on them. It motivates you to meet their needs and enables you to make allowances for their shortcomings. It’s your familiarity with someone who eventually “breeds contempt” as you no longer look for what you don’t know. Instead you make assumptions about what they feel/know/do based on what you already know about them, and resign yourself to the negatives of being with them.

The slide from familiarity to falling out of love can take a long or short time depending on how many negatives are found in the relationship.

(Side note: Not every couple chooses to end a relationship after the feelings of love are gone: familiarity can also have a comfort or convenience about it that can trump a person from acting on their feelings of having fallen out of love. This is the couple that look bored by each other but no-one intends on going anywhere.)

The truth is, fascination with someone is a choice. Any person – even the one you’re with – has a bottomless amount of intrigue waiting to be discovered by you. What there is to know about a person is infinite. But to the degree to which you’ve developed familiarity you’ll need to discipline your focus and stir up fascination again over time.

So over time you can be fascinated by your partner or fall out of love with them. You can ask questions or hold assumptions. You can look closer or turn away. You can listen to or talk at. You can find the unknown places and go there or you can play it safe.

Given the choice, I know what I’m picking.

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People’s experience and cultural norms merge together and gain a voice, affectionately known as “They Say…” People accept these truisms, live from them and, sometimes, find them to be true. However when it comes to marriage and relationships, we advocate a counter-cultural approach.

What if your dreams about love could come true, and not what “they say”? For example,

1. They say: “Sex, money, kids and religion are the scenes of the most arguments in a relationship. Beware.” What we believe about these subjects is central to who we are as individuals. What we feel about them and how we express those feelings are embedded in the core of our identity. Hence, discussing these topics requires the most vulnerability, trust and understanding. So when we do what it takes to develop that trust, understanding and vulnerability,

Then we say: “Sex, money, kids and religion can be the scenes of the most fulfilling and enriching conversations available. Enjoy!”

2. They say: “Just wait a few years, that kind of affection and tenderness towards each other will wear off.” People’s experience has led them to believe there is a honeymoon phase in a relationship and a subsequent decline as reality sets in. However, what “sets in” is a result of what was sown into the relationship, not the result of an unavoidable relational dynamic. So when we take the time to invest affection and tenderness into our relationship today,

Then we say: “Just wait a few years, and WHATEVER you’re sowing into the relationship now, you will be reaping.”

3. They say: “It takes two to work on a relationship.” Usually said of a relationship in trouble, this is often based on an excuse, “If he/she isn’t willing then what hope do I have in trying?” In reality, what one person does in a relationship has a dramatic effect on the other. It maybe a harder road to hoe, but when promise to do whatever it takes in good times and in bad,

Then we say: “No matter what, lead your marriage. Lead yourself to become the best version of yourself for the sake of the other person, and he/she is bound to follow. And even if not, you’re the better for it.”

Of course, all this “they say / we say” commentary is more or less irrelevant to your experience in love. Really, the only question that matters from here is, “What are you going to say?”

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Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s the last of our list. (See part 1 and part 2 here.) All of them are very simple to do, but some ideas may require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the eleventh day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Watch the sunrise together. Find a great lookout, take along your favourite morning beverage, and enjoy. Perhaps stop for breakfast on the way home to give your spouse’s day a great beginning.

On the twelfth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Be a concierge for a day! Take a day to be at your spouse’s beck and call. This could mean being the chauffeur, picking up some needed groceries, making some phone calls or needed reservations on their behalf, and perhaps end the day by preparing a hot bubble bath. Whatever it is, pamper your spouse to let them know they’re worth it.

On the thirteenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Take an online personality test with your spouse and compare your results. Here are a couple of free suggestions:
The 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. This test helps you discover how you express and interpret love. It’s different for each of us, sometimes especially so in marriage!
Out of Service, by Jeff Potter, has a number of personality tests. Find one that interests you, or try “The Big 5” test.
Jung Typology/Humanetrics This test is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typological approach. Be sure to click on your “type description” after you “score” your test results.
After you take a test or two, reflect on how the combination of your personalities contributes to your relationship.

On the fourteenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Re-establish your favourite Valentine’s Day tradition, whether it be chocolates, flowers or a special dinner together. And take some time to get feedback on this Valentine’s season. What did they enjoy, what surprised them the most, and what didn’t really hit the mark? End your feedback session and reaffirm how much you love Valentine by saying, “Just wait until next year!”

We hope you enjoyed our list! May it inspire you to start a new tradition and celebrate the 14 Days of Valentine’s every year with your spouse. Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.

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Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s part 2 of our list. (See part 1 here.) Ideas are in no particular order, but some ideas require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the sixth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Give the gift of “I love you because…” Write them a note that you’ll be sharing a multitude of reasons why you love your spouse today, and then proceed to do it. Try to give a new reason to begin each new interaction with them throughout the day. We recommend brainstorming a list of a few ideas, because you might just find your sweetheart looking for excuses to call or interact with you!

On the seventh day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Try a walk together. Find a nice park or pathway to stroll along, hand-in-hand. Try geocaching or letterboxing if that is something you would both enjoy. End your walk by thanking your spouse for the time you spent together and share what made it meaningful to you.

On the eighth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Give your spouse a loving massage. Watch a YouTube video on how to give a scalp massage, a foot massage or a back massage. Then try out what you’ve learned on your spouse. Massage is a very personal thing, so make sure you know if your spouse likes light touches, a deep muscle rub, etc. and then indulge them accordingly.

On the ninth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Shoulder your spouse’s load today. Take care of their home responsibilities, whether it means taking care of the evening meal, doing the dishes or a load of laundry, or bathing the kids. Let them watch their favourite tv show or curl up with a good book while you handle it all for them.

On the tenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Try on some new lingerie, or a new pair of sexy panties, boxers or briefs. Whisper your secret in your spouse’s ear in the morning, letting them know the time of the unveiling. Again, build the anticipation for a great surprise!

To be concluded tomorrow…!

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.

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Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s our list, in no particular order. All of them are very simple to do, but some ideas may require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the first day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
The gift of intention. State your intention to make this Valentine’s more special than you ever have before. Write them a little note for them to read before they go to bed, or just tell them over your evening coffee. Remind them they’re worth it, and they’re in for a Valentine’s like no other. You’re building anticipation for a nice surprise heading their way.

On the second day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
There’s nothing more connecting than a long, gentle kiss, or and lengthy, affectionate embrace. Try both! When you greet your spouse after your work or her work today, do so with a kiss. Count to 10 in your head before you break the connection. Follow up the kiss with a long hug until you can feel your spouse relax in your arms. The best thing is the connection you make will last the rest of the day.

On the third day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Buy a package of small post-it notes, and write something on each one. Write small phrases like, “I love you,” “My sweetheart,” “You are beautiful/amazing,” a drawn heart, and the like. Post them everywhere your spouse might go throughout the day – the bathroom mirror, inside cupboard doors, on the steering wheel, beside light switches, everywhere! The entire day will remind them of your love, and make them smile.

On the fourth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
A good gift is a combination of something that’s wanted, and something that’s needed. Try it today. Does your spouse need something from a cosmetics store? Or is it black socks or nylons? Or do they need a new book or journal? Get them they’re favourite brand, or the slightly more expensive version that your mate may have always wanted. Knowing what they need shows your thoughtfulness.

On the fifth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
When was the last time you went for a coffee with your spouse? Take an hour (or two!) and visit your favourite tea or coffee shop, or try a local shop that’s new to both of you. Spend some time just sipping and visiting.

To be continued tomorrow…!

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.

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