Because love is an emotion, many of us think that love will just carry romance along through its own momentum. This is a tragic misconception.
Here's why: love is an emotion and emotions are the result of automatic, subconscious appraisals. We experience many emotions all day long and they come and go depending on our everyday experiences. We can be happy, sad, disappointed, resentful, grateful, satisfied, angry, passionate, proud, guilty, anxious, confident, jealous, admiring etc. all in the same day and even more than once in the same day.
Lovers have good times and bad times. But what carries the relationship through long term-not over just days or weeks but over many years?
The answer is: the hard work of thinking. In fact, we believe that making a relationship work long-range, that is, achieving enduring happiness, requires as much hard thinking as having a successful career.
Here are ten tips to make love last by showing that you truly value your partner:
Work to thoroughly understand your partner (values, tastes, hobbies, sports. interests, food preferences, attitude towards career, personal psychology, tastes in art, including books, TV, movies, music, painting, etc.).
Be a good listener and use many forms of communication including touching and hugging.
Tell your partner you love them (very often) and why you love them.
Make your daily actions toward your partner be consistent with your words (e.g., never forget their birthday or your anniversary). .).
Show concern for your partner's welfare such as their health.
Care about your appearance.
Treat one another as equals, make decisions together on most issues.
Create a positive emotional climate; never let anger fester.
Show playfulness and humor but never mock each other or each other's important values or achievements.
Correct bad manners and annoying habits that you have.
Does this seem like a lot of work? Well, it is. And the work is never ending. You need to work at it every day. People grow and change and, if you do not grow and change together, you grow apart.
If your romantic relationship is important to you, you must work to preserve it. If you do the work, you will find that your closeness and intimacy will actually increase over time rather than fading away as it does if you reply solely on emotion.
About the Authors:
Edwin Locke, PhD, a world-renowned psychologist, and Ellen Kenner, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of the nationally-syndicated radio talk show, The Rational Basis of Happiness®, have co-authored The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason. Both are experts on Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. For more information visit www.selfishromance.com.
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