When we think of love, we think of chocolates, lazy afternoons at the park, or romantic date nights. While romance is a critical part of any relationship, it’s the day-to-day actions that make love last.
Love is not a notion or a theory. It's a verb to be practiced on the daily. If you want a love that lasts, you have to fuel it with action. When the music stops playing and the wine bottles are empty, this is what's left.
1. Love speaks kindly.
Love realizes that the words you use convey your feelings. Love doesn’t criticize, demonize, or demoralize. Instead, you can use words to uplift, cherish, and appreciate your partner. Use words that express your needs and communicate what you want, not that attack or bully your lover.
2. Love forgives quickly.
Your ego wants to hold onto every slight and injustice, but lasting love requires burying the hatchet daily. It’s forgiving your partner for the sake of peace and sanity and because you love your partner. It’s realizing that pent-up anger and long-term resentments will ruin a relationship. So it’s letting go of their trespasses quickly, and knowing that both of you are not perfect. If you forgive quickly and apologize quickly, you’ll mend the pain that arises faster.
3. Love accepts unconditionally.
You’ll continue to find things about your partner that may distress you. You’ll find out about their past and discover new things about them each day. You have a choice: to judge and hold them or simply to accept them for who they are. If this is a lasting love, you’ll accept their past, accept the person they were before, accept the mistakes they’ve made, and accept who they are today.
4. Love gives generously.
Love gives without asking and without conditions. Love gives without expectations of reciprocation. Love doesn’t measure how much is given or how much you get back. Love doesn’t keep score. Love gives abundantly, shares willingly, and values creating happiness.
5. Love expresses courageously.
It takes courage to express yourself. A loving relationship will allow you to say what you’re feeling. Love will allow you to have difficult conversations and work through conflict without destroying the relationship. Love is saying how you feel, exchanging your concerns, and being receptive to what your partner says.
6. Love laughs loudly.
Love is laughing with your partner. Laugh more to love more. Enjoy those things that make you both laugh. Laugh to reduce tension, laugh to end conflict, and laugh because you find the same things funny. Laugh out loud every day.
7. Love feels deeply.
Love is when you can share your feelings openly. Love is when you’re able to sit and accept your partner’s feelings and frustrations. Love is sympathy, understanding, and compassion for yourself and each other.
8. Love listens sincerely.
Love is listening to understand. It’s not inattentive listening or pretending to listen. It’s not listening to fix or offer a solution. It’s not listening to judge or listening to condemn. It’s listening with your presence. It’s listening with your heart. It’s being there for your partner during the ups and downs of everyday life and during the stressful times. It’s active listening to help your partner be heard and seen.
9. Love judges infrequently.
Love is judging less, or not at all. It’s not making false assumptions or coming to cynical conclusions. It’s not thinking the worst of your partner but thinking the best of them. It’s giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Judging less means less hostility toward your partner and more respect toward them. It means believing in who they are at their best, not at their worst.
10. Love trusts willingly.
Love means taking a risk, trusting, and going all in even though you know that you could end up with heartbreak and pain. When you trust willingly, you’re giving love a chance to flourish. Trust means acceptance, choosing to be vulnerable, and choosing to say what you’re feeling. It’s taking daily risks knowing that your partner will be there to catch you if you fall.
11. Love supports completely.
When the going gets tough, love is about being there for your partner. It’s about supporting them in their dreams and their successes but even more about being there for them when life gets rough. A couple that stays together during the tough times will coast together during the good times. When the road gets rough, dig in and hold each other up more than ever before.