When you are in a long term relationship, wanting to rediscover that old love, excitement and togetherness are natural but tough at times. But when you genuinely want to rediscover love, all you and your partner have to do is introspect and keep a few important things in mind.
In the magical uncertainty of new romance, every couple creates their own unique emotional language of devotion. Sometimes those treasured connections deepen over time and the relationship becomes a long-term commitment. But too often those wonderful beginnings don’t last.
For the four decades of my therapeutic career, I have listened to the sorrows of many committed partners struggling to regain what they have lost.
They have shared their discouragement and confusion watching their initial hopes fade and seemingly unanswerable questions replace them.
How can we have given everything we could to our partners and yet have failed to keep our love alive?
Why didn’t our total commitment to each other keep us together?
What was missing in the way we treated each other?
Is there anything we could have done differently?
Can we do anything now to turn things around?
Having dealt with hundreds of these discouraged but still hopeful couples over many years, I have been able to help them refocus in a new way, giving them the answers they seek.
I ask them to bring the following ten true gifts of love into their present relationship and watch those changes create new hope.
The 10 True Gifts of Love
1) Supporting Your Partner’s Perspective even When it is not Yours.
One of the most important experiences for all human beings is to believe that what they see, feel, and hear, is both validated and supported by those who matter to them. It is the absolute core of mental and emotional stability.
When couples have disagreements, it is all too common for them to impose their personal beliefs upon the other. Most people do not realize how desperately they fight to hold on to their own sense of reality, even if it means simultaneously erasing the other partners.
When couples fully accept that two true but different realities can exist side by side, they feel less need to deny what is real for the other. Instead, they search for a greater truth to encompass both of their realities, or they agree to disagree. True love does not allow one person’s truth to erase others.
2) Emergency Responsiveness.
When either partner in a love relationship puts out a true SOS, the other is fully committed to help and support their highest priority. Love deepens when both partners know that, in times of distress, they can absolutely trust that the other will be there, in heart, mind, and action.
As the complications of all relationships evolve, it is far too easy for people to take each other for granted, to let other priorities take precedence, or too easy to assume that calls for help are either not important, will lessen, or will be handled by someone else.
3) The Forgiveness Haven.
No matter how committed anyone is to quality behavior, he or she is bound to make mistakes from time to time. Those moments are deeply fragile and vulnerable to everyone.
When intimate partners know they have a safe place in the other’s heart, they are better able to learn from their mistakes.
No partner should be expected to be perfect in their capacity to tolerate actions that hurt, but openness to why or how the other “slips” should always come first when love pervades.
4) Respecting Each Other’s Inner Worlds.
After intimate partners have been together for a while, they affect each other in more and more ways. Those mutual responses show up in several ways.
Sometimes they react to experiences that come directly from what is happening between them in the relationship. At other times, something that happens between them triggers memories from the past and may have little to do with their current relationship. Most often, it is a combination of the two.
When a current interaction activates a prior memory, especially one that is unresolved or traumatic, either partner may think that the reaction is about him or her, when it is not.
That interaction creates an interpersonal conflict when it should not. If people experiencing that triggered response understand that it is not coming from their current relationship, they can resolve it more successfully.
It is never easy for anyone to fully understand another’s internal world. There are multiple memories that drive people’s feelings, thoughts, or needs. It is crucial that both partners do not assume they have experienced life the same way.
5) Memorizing What is Sacred.
There are specific words and actions that can make each person either feel safe in his or her most vulnerable states or can create insecurity, self-doubt, and defensiveness.
When people truly love each other, they know the difference between them, and don’t hurt one another by forgetting those that wound.