Keeping Love Alive

August 16, 2014

Dan and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary recently, so love is on my mind. Love is easy to fall into, harder to sustain. Seasoned love is edged with inevitable disappointments and annoyances. Yet faithfulness is as good as gold. When the honeymoon stage of gazing longingly at each other fades, there is a clash of differences, a shifting balance of power, the need for virtue. Love takes work – personal work on ourselves, the shaping of our virtues – small acts of kindness such as letting a spouse sleep in and taking care of the kids before going to work. The practice of tact to speak gently.

Perhaps this is the reason for fickleness. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The faint of heart flee to another partner, who can easily be romanced into thinking we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Someone new will gaze at us with those old familiar rose-coloured glasses. But by never getting past stage one of a relationship, we miss out on the good stuff – the spiritual honing that only lasting love offers. To be deeply in love with someone is a journey of enduring courage, because love is God's laboratory, our soul school. There is no more powerful testing ground.  Sustaining a relationship of love is one of the most powerful ways to transform our souls, to smooth our rough edges.

In my experience, a man's greatest need is to be admired; a woman's is to be cherished. Without these, both will be deeply hurt. Not all couples who stay together have the courage for true love. Some couples are adrift on the "Troubled C's" of criticism, control, conflict and contempt. They store up anger and unleash it periodically.  They live like two sides of a military zone, wary and ready to fire back. I was once in a spa steam room which was for men and women. The wife of an elderly man opened the door with a blast of cold air and yelled, "Why do I always have to wait for you?  I'm sick of it! We were supposed to go shopping! Now it's too late." "Oh, dear," he said, as he got up to leave. "I always do this to her." To me this was a perfect dynamic of needless pain and useless misery. Both had other choices. He could have decided to be Trustworthy and made sure he was ready to shop. Or he could have chosen Assertiveness and told her, "I'm willing to shop this afternoon. This morning I'm going to the spa." She could have chosen Acceptance, knowing he prefers a gentle pace; or Assertiveness, to shop without him. They could easily have negotiated a plan that would have made them both happy. But they chose to feed the demon of discontent.

What keeps love alive and has the power to heal the troubled C's are the 3 A's of Acceptance, Assertiveness, and Appreciation.

  1. Accept your loved one just as he or she is. Accept their "suchness."  You will never change their basic nature.
  2. Be assertive about asking for what you need, but don't make demands, make requests. Not "You'd better or else" but "Would you be willing…?" Don't put all your needs on one person. It puts too much pressure on the relationship. Have a circle of friends and family who can nurture you as well.
  3. Appreciate your partner often. Admire and cherish them by showing your love in kind acts and loving words. "Thanks for that delicious meal," or "Thanks for mowing today," "I saw your courage in going to ask for that new job." "You sure look lovely today."

Corinthians 13:4 -7 offers the keys to keeping love alive – patience, kindness, humility and more.  It is virtues like these that allow love – and happiness -- to blossom and to keep on blooming.


Author photo
Linda Kavelin-Popov

More Posts:
  • Integrity: Taking the High Road
    (July 27, 2014)

  • Parenting in Paradise
    (July 18, 2014)

    (July 6, 2014)

  • Help Strikes Again
    (June 24, 2014)

  • Help for Troubled Souls
    (June 13, 2014)

  • Tapping the Power of Wisdom
    (June 1, 2014)

  • Path Finder
    (May 9, 2014)

  • Discover Your Joy Quotient
    (April 17, 2014)

  • Trustworthiness: Lemon with a Twist
    (April 3, 2014)

  • Spring Forward
    (March 20, 2014)

  • Appreciation
    (March 7, 2014)

    (January 22, 2014)

  • Virtues Path for a New Year
    (December 31, 2013)

    (December 17, 2013)

  • Thanksgiving is Conducive to Bounty
    (November 28, 2013)

  • Flow
    (November 11, 2013)

  • SUCCESS-ion Planning
    (October 23, 2013)

  • In the Moment
    (September 22, 2013)

  • Be Here Now
    (September 17, 2013)

  • Grace in Our Tests
    (August 19, 2013)

  • A Pace of Grace Revisited
    (August 5, 2013)

  • Only Us
    (May 29, 2013)

  • Barbecues and Blessings
    (May 8, 2013)

  • Decisions in Paradise
    (April 23, 2013)

  • Daffodil Memorial
    (April 14, 2013)

  • How Full is Your Fruit Bowl?
    (March 20, 2013)

  • Rediscovering Joy
    (March 12, 2013)

  • Planning Your One Wild and Precious Life
    (January 30, 2013)

  • The Power of Intention
    (January 4, 2013)

  • From Violence to Virtues
    (December 21, 2012)

  • What can we do – before and after a tragedy?
    (December 15, 2012)

  • The Presence of Light
    (November 30, 2012)

  • Circles of Compassion
    (November 21, 2012)

  • Dare to Stop Postponing Joy
    (November 5, 2012)

  • The Rain of Grief
    (October 27, 2012)

  • Opening to Gratitude
    (October 18, 2012)

  • The Power of Gratitude
    (October 8, 2012)

  • Time to Celebrate
    (September 22, 2012)

  • The Gifts of Waiting
    (September 13, 2012)

  • Linda’s First Post
    (September 1, 2012)