Written By Kat Gal
Out of my seven and a half year-long relationship with my partner, we have pretty much done everything. We have dated casually then seriously; we have spent a total of over three years in a long-distance relationship (sometimes not being able communicate for weeks); we have traveled together (being together 24/7 for over a year); and we have lived together.
Certainly there were ups and downs, lots of learning and even more loving throughout these years. We have learned some invaluable lessons.
These lessons are supported by the experiences I’ve heard from couples and individuals traveling around the world, from connecting with friends, from coaching women from all parts of our planet and of course, by reading some inspiring books.
From what I’ve learned and experienced, I’ve found the following 15 things to be the most essential and universal truths about love. Understand these and you’re well on your way to a fulfilling – LOVING – experience with yourself and others.
1. Love is a feeling, but love is also an action – Love can enter your life unexpectedly, suddenly, quickly or slowly. But love is not only a feeling, it is much more. Love is an action. You show your love through a lifetime of doing, being and saying. Smiles, hugs, flowers, washing the dishes and giving the other space are just a few ways to put love into action.
2. You can fall in love with someone over and over again – In fact, you should. The key to lasting relationships is to fall in love with the same person again and again throughout your relationship. Make time for date nights. Surprise one another. Plan something special just for your partner. Do these gestures without expectations, simply because you love them and you want them to know it!
3. Love is a choice – We can argue that falling in love with someone is not a choice, but continuing to show your love through loving actions, committing to the person and falling in love again and again most certainly is and is something to strive towards being better at every day.
4. Love is not one-sided – Love is about both people giving, understanding, listening, honoring and being present. By loving the other person, by accepting his/her love, you will also nourish your soul. Don’t forget about yourself Love not only your partner, but yourself as well.
5. All couples have differences – We are not the same and, even if we were, we would have some conflict (just think about how often you’ve experienced internal conflict with yourself). Love is not about perfection and living without conflict, but about choosing to manage and to resolve it together and lovingly. This creates awareness, growth and ultimately, a deeper love and appreciation.
6. You cannot change your partner – You are not a magician, nor are you a bully; you have no power to change your partner. You can trust and support him/her through their journey. You can celebrate their wins, give a supportive shoulder when they stumble, help them through their roadblocks and cheer them along the way. You can accept them and love them at each stage of his/her journey, just as he/she supports you on yours. Because each stage and each step is beautiful.
7. A loving relationship doesn’t happen on its own – A loving relationship is not only about the feeling of love, being together and managing conflict successfully, it is also about the mutual commitment to nourishing the relationship together. What nourishes you? What nourishes your partner? What nourishes the two of you as a couple? Nourishing your love is a skillset and a learning experience you do.
8. Communication is crucial – A loving mode of communication is the most important. Always speak from the heart. Have good intentions, be clear and be mindful. Use active listening skills: do not interrupt the other person, listen and watch. Pay attention to your non-verbal communication skills. Always come from the place of love. Remember to never assume anything and refrain from jumping to conclusions. Honor your partner and hear them out.
9. Love is not about comparison – Every couple is different. Every relationship is different. You can’t compare your current relationship to your old ones. You can’t compare you relationship to other relationships. You are not in their bedroom, their household… you don’t know their lives. Your job is to live and love in the relationship you are in without comparing, knowing that your story is beautifully unique.
10. Everyone has a different love language – We all love in many different ways: through physical touch, gifts, words of affirmation, quality time and acts of service. But we all have our preferences. We all have our different “love language,” as Gary Chapman calls them. He has created a test that can help couples navigating through their love language. This is great for any relationship in your life, whether professional, platonic or romantic. It’s helpful in dealing with your children and family just the same.
11. Trust is non-negotiable – Trust is important. Period. No if’s, and’s or but’s. It is simply a must. When you are in a relationship for long term, there is no room for doubt and trust issues. Do you expect him/her to trust you? Then you need to trust as well.
12. Love knows no distance – No matter how far or how close you are, the heart knows no distance. Long-distance relationships can be difficult because your partner is physically unreachable. But the energy travels through oceans and countries. Skype helps too. This is when communication becomes that much more important as you don’t have the physical aspect to draw from.
13. Love is not about your body – Nobody is perfect and your body will change over the years due to aging, lifestyle choices, illness, healing, childbirth, accidents, exercise and so on. The body is not permanent. You fall in love with the person’s soul, his/her true essence. Look deeply into their eyes and remember why you chose your partner in the first place.
14. Love is about constant gratitude – Don’t take love for granted. Love is not an entitlement. Love is a gift every day, every moment. You can never know the future, but you can always know the now. Be grateful for the love you have every moment and express this in a way your partner will understand and appreciate.
15. To fall in love takes a moment, but to love for a lifetime takes practice – To learn how to love the “right” way for you and your partner can take a long time, but it is the most valuable and dearest skill we can learn. It takes commitment, patience and practice, it comes with ups and downs. Embrace all of it as a learning experience.
Kat Gál is a Holistic Health & Happiness Coach guiding women to feel empowered to get out of the roller-coaster of chronic emotional and physical pain and enter into a world of confidence, self-love, energy, happiness, health and freedom. She also specializes in healing from child abuse working with women who have survived the trauma of growing up in a dysfunctional family and the trauma of abuse experienced as a child or teen.
Kat invites you to join her Facebook group, “You are enough! You deserve to be happy, healthy and loved”, a safe sanctuary for woman on healing, sharing and living.
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