Love Takes Work & You’re Worth It

Everyone dreams of true love, a great relationship and an almost perfect partner. Relationships like everything else have their highs and lows, times when we feel adored and moments when it seems unclear what’s going on and where we stand. It’s normal to experience doubts, fear and sometimes you genuinely have a reason to be concerned or even end the relationship. However, if yours is a relationship you want to constantly build, nurture against all odds with your forever-love, then here are some great tips you probably haven’t tried yet.

Be intentional about your love

There’s so much that attracted you to them in the first place but letting yourself feel love and open the doors of your heart to this person is a choice you make. You imagine the worst that could happen and you risk it all anyway. When you decide to love someone, you prepare your mind and heart to work through whatever challenges and obstacles just to make it work with them. If it fails, you will have no regrets wondering what could have been–you gave it your all. But let’s keep the faith alive, shall we?

Make it your goal to learn about them every day

Many of us only show interest in someone at the beginning when we are trying to win them over, asking about their favourite foods, colours, …anything. We assume to know someone well enough when we have been in a relationship for some time. However, you can never know someone completely, people grow, change, pick up new habits and hobbies, meet new friends, develop new fears and new goals and we always wish our significant other to be our number one fan, always. Make it a point to learn more about why they act the way they do, why they think the way they do, how their day at work has been, ask about their childhood. Do whatever you have to, to show that you’re still as interested in getting to know them and connecting as you were in the beginning and probably more. They will feel like they are the centre of your world and you’ll be the more thankful for it.

Put them first

In a healthy way, of course- for both of you. We are naturally selfish and choosing to share our world and lives with someone else is a huge sacrifice in itself. When we open up and risk being vulnerable at the feet of love, we are putting someone else before us and their needs above our own. The romance is not necessarily in you putting off your jacket to risk the cold just so you can keep your loved one warm. The romance is in the depths of your love that can’t let you bear to see or imagine your significant other experiencing discomfort, unsafe, scared, worried. You care so much about them at your own expense without expecting much in return because it fills your heart with reassurance to know the one person you love more than anything in the world is alright, thanks to you, and because your world would crumble and fall if anything awful happened to them especially if there was anything you could have done differently.

Help them understand you

It hurts when we care so much for someone and do lots for them only to feel they are not putting in as much effort as we are to understand us and attend to our needs. Sometimes this happens when we fall into the habit of assuming the other person automatically gets it or that maybe they won’t mind. If on your first date, he brings you red roses and you hate the ‘cliche’ then receive them with all the warmth and sincerity in the world and some days later (in the most friendly and lively way) let your beloved know you are crazy about white roses and that because of this and that reason you find red roses a little too commonplace but still feel very special that he picked whichever ones his heart fell for, for you. His reasons are important too and might make you rethink your preferences. Point is–we don’t have superpowers and can’t know what our loved ones think unless they let us in, communicate to us, explain so we understand where they are coming from.

Communicate your expectations

This is best done at the beginning of your relationship. It’s important to put emotion and excitement aside for a moment just so both of you are clear about your expectations before committing. Do you want things to go slow, why? Are you looking for a long-term relationship? Is this something you’re willing to work on with them to see it work and last? Are you the kind that won’t date someone unless you’re sure it’s leading somewhere? Or maybe you like it transparent and want a relationship all your friends and family will know about and get those Facebook statuses to change to reflect just that the moment the relationship begins? Are you a desperate romantic, crazy kind of lover, or a typical introvert? Whatever you hope to get out of the relationship before jumping in or after, make sure to make it clear to your beloved and get them to share about their own so you meet in the middle and find something that works great for the both of you.

Watch a movie

Alone or together, does it really matter?. A great movie celebrating love and resilient couples goes a long way in helping you evaluate your own relationship, yourself, and your attitude to your spouse. It can be great for those moments when you’re not feeling excited about your special someone and need something to bring on that butterfly feeling, soften your heart, help you unwind after a stressful day, and reconnect. Seeing love through the lives of other couples (even fictional ones) helps us feel less overwhelmed because we are reminded we are not alone and others have dealt with what we are dealing with and have found a way to work it out and strengthen their bond.

Listen to your favourite song

What’s that special song that brought your hearts together? That song that brings you back to believe in love when you’re having doubts and fears about the relationship. Play it, sing along, save it on your phone, on your computer, everywhere. It might help if you can find the instrumental version without words or vocals, this way you’re not limited to how the artist defines love or whatever you’re experiencing. An instrumental version of that special song will adjust to almost every mood and situation. Listening to this while you work, rest, or go about your day and at a low volume will subconsciously keep your heart tender towards thoughts and memories of moments spent with your loved one.

Choose to forgive

Everything has its limit and we all have things we can forgive and those we can’t. These should be communicated much earlier when sharing about expectations. We often make the mistake of taking our loved ones for granted and take advantage of their undying love to behave our worst, confident they will overlook it anyway. Sometimes this comes from the scars of our past relationships and we don’t realise we are punishing our current love for the mistakes of our exes. Learn to self-reflect, think “am I suspicious of him because he’s been acting strange over and over, or am I suspicious because my ex did something similar that left me hurt? Am I responding to a current situation or simply responding to the triggers from the past?”. Give yourself a chance to heal and start over. It helps to remember that your special someone might have doubts about your behaviour too so treat him or her just how you want to be treated?.

Work on yourself

Who doesn’t want to be unforgettable in the eyes of the one they love? Just because we choose to love someone for who they are doesn’t mean they should neglect themselves. Exercise, improve your diet, practice better personal hygiene, switch up your wardrobe if you can, get a hairdo or hair cut, take on a new personal challenge to improve your attitude and mood, be exciting to be around, learn something new- a soft skill or take on a class. Consider your weak areas and talk to friends, a professional counselor, or whomever you trust to give you honest feedback and advice on how you can change for the better (read “improve”).

Read articles

Not many of us are comfortable opening up to our friends, family and sometimes spouses about certain things. The good news is Google is here to help. A quick daily search might be the sticking factor your relationship needs. He doesn’t understand you or you feel he doesn’t? Try searching “why do I feel like he doesn’t understand me?” or “how to make her understand me?” Does she talk less and you’re the kind of guy that craves long deep conversation? Well, how about “Benefits for loving an introverted girlfriend.” You will be surprised to know other couples the world over have been where you are and there are loads of helpful articles to help you overcome whatever challenge. It will also feel less overwhelming because you won’t have to throw yourself into a corner and rack your brain trying to figure things out on your own. Plus, unlike friends–you can be sure Google won’t snitch on you so you will have a way to open up about issues, find solutions, and still maintain the privacy and discretion in your relationship. Remember to delete your search history, just in case.

Happy loving 😉