Seeking Valentine’s Day every day of the year?
For over four decades, I've been observing and studying successful intimate love relationships. The following are tips and lessons from loving couples; how to achieve happy and loving long term relationships, based on my clinical research and observations.
1. Stay emotionally open and available.
The uniqueness and secret of intimate relationships in comparison to other social, workplace and family relationships is in staying emotionally open. By confiding in each other daily, couples learn to become emotionally open towards each other.
2. Have each other's back!
Especially in hard times. It is not easy to undo pain, shame and hurts from the past. Learn to become the most significant person in your partner’s life. Be supportive, affectionate; show them you are ‘on their side’. Do it for the sake of the longevity of your relationship.
3. Share the gift of pure listening.
You might be hearing each other, even giving the right cues as in 'active listening'. Here is one secret of listening success; get the meaning of each other's message without the attempt to 'solve' the problem, unless they ask you to solve it. Being heard is a treasure!
4. Learn to articulate what you feel.
Many adults don't know how to express what they feel. Instead, they communicate what they think. Learning about emotions and their logic is valuable to every intimate relationship. Taking a risk to expose your true feelings in a relationship is a wise investment. As the relationship grows and thrives, that risk of being vulnerable becomes safe.
5. Re-learn to manage your reactions to negative emotions.
Show gratitude to your partner when they share those negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, shame and others. Those painful emotions are not bad; they are vulnerabilities that should be shared so that your love will surface again.
By far, the best tip for loving and successful relationship is having empathic reactions to every exchange and change of mood in the relationship. This is the most powerful element I consistently found in happy and loving relationships.