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Cultivating Romance

Feb 8, 2012

by Caleb Gardner

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

I recently read an interesting article on Psychology Today that asserted that there are ways of qualitatively measuring how good you are at loving another person. According to the author, if we assume that love is more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling for another person, then it must involve certain behaviors towards them that can be ranked in terms of effectiveness.

I’ll admit that my first reaction to this “Love Inventory” was negative. It seemed like a cold, calculating way of approaching the feelings you have for another person. But something about his approach stuck with me:

Love… is an activity. Moreover, this activity involves skill-building. Thus you can work at cultivating your love for another. You can get better (or worse) at loving someone.

This skill-building approach to love throws cold water on a pending holiday that is almost entirely dedicated to warm, fuzzy feelings. It calls out the hard work required to actually make a relationship work on a day-to-day, down in the dirty little details kind of way. And as someone who is rounding the corner on seven years of marriage, this rings more true than much of the folklore around love permeating the media in February.

My wife and I learned a long time ago that relationships atrophy without proper care. Since being married, we’ve established ourselves in a new city, started careers (several times over), both gone to grad school, and had a baby. At one point, we were doing all of these at once.

Each new life stage brought with it new challenges to the status quo of our relationship. We’ve waivered between spending copious amounts of time together and barely spending any. And children change the dynamic completely, making most of the time you spend together anything but “intimate.”

We definitely haven’t figured out the formula to make a relationship work through these kinds of difficulties. But we keep at it in little, hopefully meaningful ways, understanding that small efforts can make a big difference. Of course we try to keep the all-important date night with semi-regularity, but there are everyday things that, at least from my perspective, are even more important to maintaining connection. Things like saying “hi” when we walk through the door, acknowledging each other, seeing each other. Looking into each other’s eyes when we’re listening to the other person talk about their day.

One of my favorite traditions we have is what we call the “State of the Union.” Every year on our anniversary, when we’re sitting down to a nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, we take the time to reflect upon the previous year from the perspective of our relationship. We talk about what worked and what didn’t, and what we’d like to get better at. Then we talk about our history and where we’ve been overall. It’s a nice way to make plans about the future and pay homage to our past. I guess it’s our version of a “Love Inventory.”

I’d love to hear some of the ways other people protect their relationships. If you’re honest with yourself, are you getting better or worse at loving the other person?

More Posts From Caleb

3 Featured Comments

  • kmbutterfly

    Katie B from kmbutterfly said 4 years ago Featured

    Thank you so much for sharing some good and truthful words about love! I've been married nearly two years and with my husband for nearly four, and we learn daily that love requires action. I'm not surprised to hear that there are some qualitative measurements. They may vary by situation and person, but ultimately every relationship has things that help it grow. For my husband and I, it's time together, saying "I love you" anytime we say hello, goodbye, or simply feel like it, and the all-important kiss goodnight. Tiny acts are the food of love.

  • twistguild

    barbara munic from twistguild said 4 years ago Featured

    After almost 18 years of marriage, I find that I often reflect on the gift of advice that a friend in the marriage business, (sadly, a divorce lawyer) gave us when we were newly engaged. His sage advice was to always have a moment for kind words as each headed out the door in the morning and to find just a moment to connect during the day. He thought the unasked for and unannounced small, thoughtful deed each day would provided a cement that would help us adhere through thick and thin, high and low. One sweet act that made me realize the impact of these small acts is when our daughter began to stand beside us at the front door, expectantly, as the "I love yous" went around the circle. She has recently made us a special book, thanking us for our parenthood and especially thanking us for the gift of a "Good soul, free from hate". Her words. What you do does truly go around and around in a never ending circle of goodness that goes out into the world.

  • erasistible

    Maddy from erasistible said 4 years ago Featured

    I have been married for 32 years. It is the small things we do for each other that show we care and make our relationship strong. If it is really cold, he turns up my side of the electric blanket before I go to bed. I have something good for him to eat when he has to work until 3 a.m. I have found that one of the best things we do for our relationship is to accept each other as imperfect. We don't get all mad when someone does something stupid. We acknowledge the stupidity and rush in together with damage control. I would say that because I have seen how important these things are and what they have done for our relationship, I make it a point to tell him that I love him and do something nice for him each day. If he forgets to lock the door when he goes off to work, I will not blow up. I am getting better.

94 comments

  • YouniquesRings

    Claudia Rapp from YouniqueHandcrafts said 4 years ago

    Love your article... very nice and sweet! ♥♥

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    Polkadot Magpie from ThePolkadotMagpie said 4 years ago

    Great blog. I always say: "Love is a verb." I give people headaches. :-)

  • Lifemintsweet

    Bridget McSims from Lifemintsweet said 4 years ago

    <3 this :)

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 4 years ago

    So sweet!!!

  • AnnBernadette

    Monica Ann Bernadette from AnnBernadette said 4 years ago

    Realistic. I might be getting worse and better? My ability to give and even receive fluctuates with where I am and what I'm processing. It's an everlasting learning curve, but it's so good when you reach those new platforms of deeper love.

  • KnittyTurks

    Alison from KnittyTurks said 4 years ago

    I love your "State of the Union" idea, cute. Our habit is to always kiss in the morning just as we walk out the door. Sometimes we walk out together and sometimes my hubby goes out alone, but I feel empty if we don't share that brief moment together every day.

  • FrancesPhotography

    Frances Seward from FrancesPhotography said 4 years ago

    Really nice article - educational infact and beautifully written. thank you - it was an inspiration!

  • lulusnest

    Lulu Hill from lulusnest said 4 years ago

    Such a great article! Thanks for spreading the love on the eve of Valentine's Day!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 4 years ago

    We always kiss hello, goodbye & good night. Treating each other like furniture isn't part of the deal, even after 27 years...

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 4 years ago

    We have fun, whether we are biking, watching tv, or passing gas on each other. If you can be yourself around someone it's the best feeling I know.

  • jeffprice8

    Jeff Price from jeffprice8 said 4 years ago

    I like the "State of the Union" approach.. My brother is a psychologist and he recently got engaged... he mentioned a married couple that he knows that goes to a marriage counselor once a year just as a check in.. They look for ways to improve their relationship and strengthen their family... I think it's a great idea! That way you're not letting any resentments build up!!! thx

  • PaperAltar

    PaperAltar from PaperAltar said 4 years ago

    At the end of every year - we look at each other and ask - "shall we have another round?". So far the answer has always ... & happily been "YES".

  • gypsiedoodle

    gypsiedoodle said 4 years ago

    I just had us make a list of things we wanted to do over the next year (and beyond). Now, we need to sit down and prioritize - we're doing that this weekend. My husband thought we'd have small list - turned out to be 7 pages - including things like making time for friends and family. But I realized, even before reading your article, that we hadn't included anything about us together. We will have to amend our list. When we first got married, he'd tell me that he loved me every night when we went to bed. 20 years later, not at bedtime, but almost as frequently. I agree - it is the smally day-to-day things that really make a lasting impact. I think I'd have to agree with the person that said better and worse - in different ways and about different situations.

  • fantasygarden

    Anna Kikute from fantasygarden said 4 years ago

    Good article

  • AntiquesAsh

    Ashley from AntiquesAsh said 4 years ago

    After four years of living together. Loss of jobs, owning two dogs, opening our own business projects, building a small cabin. Communication and asking for help rather then building pressure inside yourself is very important. Making goals for the future also sets the standard of where you see your relationship going for better or worse.

  • Mattie714

    Madison said 4 years ago

    My husband and I have a dry-erase board that we keep in the the bathroom for reminders and what-not, but lately they've been getting little love notes on it for one another. We also try to send spuradic texts to eachother saying "I love you" or other sweet things. We also made a deal to be completely open and honest with each other and get it out in the open, even when it's uncomfortable. We also make it a point to lay on the floor together, without our son, and cuddle/decompress before we head off to bed. Taking showers together is always good as well, even if there's nothing sexual about it... It's a way to be completely vonurable and together... Plus the steam relaxes you anyway. :) We've been together for 7 years, married almost 5 of those, and our relationship is stronger than ever. It's the little things that make the biggest difference...

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 4 years ago

    It's not such a surprise that how good you are at loving someone is measurable. If Fibonacci can give us a way to measure beauty, and philosophy can be shown mathematically, than why shouldn't we be able to capture the formula for love?

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 4 years ago

    awww this is sweet. I like the"state of the union" idea :3 All too often, we don't take enough time to appreciate where we've been, where we are going, and what we have sitting across the table. Thanks!

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 4 years ago

    sugar cookies with icing, that's my kind of romance.

  • JennasRedRhino

    Jennifer Schmidt from TheCatBall said 4 years ago

    Remember the scene in Fiddler On The Roof where Tevye asks Golde, "Do you love me?" In response, Golde sings her own version of their marital "State of the Union" , reminding Tevye how she's washed, cooked, cleaned and given him children for 25 years. These classical characters give a great example of cultivating love.

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture said 4 years ago

    It's funny you mention this now, though I suppose with Valentine's day coming up it's appropriate. My wife & I have been together for coming up on 9 years now (married for 4), and we've traveled across the world together, changed jobs and careers countless times, and now we're doing more than ever! It's so important to work on a relationship, any time we start slacking off, we notice it. What really makes the difference for us is taking 24 hours off every Friday/Saturday - with designing together along with a lot of other things, it really helps us focus.

  • farawaytea

    Allison from farawaytea said 4 years ago

    Oh I so agree with this article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • AnatomyVintage

    Amber Zaragoza from AnatomyVintage said 4 years ago

    Thank you!

  • SpaGoddess

    Jessica from SpaGoddess said 4 years ago

    great article - thanks for sharing:)

  • jelysm93

    Jessica from jelysm93 said 4 years ago

    Great article! I thought that last part was really sweet. Love is about hard work and cooperation, with hopefully a little warmth and fuzziness thrown in ;) Thanks for sharing! Jessica

  • anandi

    Anandi from anandi said 4 years ago

    We too are rounding the corner on 7 years. I LOVE the "State of the Union" idea. I think it is important to be deliberate about remembering to do nice little things for each other, especially when mired in the sometimes (often?) boring details of day to day life.

  • hmmills

    Helen Mills from 1820BagCo said 4 years ago

    Very sweet, my DH told me after we got married that it was no longer, "I" it was "we"

  • EstyElle

    EstyElle from EstyElle said 4 years ago

    Love this, so fun to read!!

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 4 years ago

    Love is not: Envious Boastful Proud Rude Self-seeking Easily angered Keeps no record of wrongs Love is: Patient Kind Protects Hopes Trusts Perseveres 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 All of those things sound like actions to me :) I think we've had this figured out a long time, but it's easy to forget. Love isn't just a feeling. That would be easy and that would fade. The term for that is "limerance". Love is actually a lot of work. But it's real and it's worth it. :)

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 4 years ago

    It makes sense. I've heard a lot that tons of marriages could work out if both people were into working at it. It is the ones that they aren't that fail. It also reminds me of the Sims game, where you have to spend a lot of time with each other and soon they fall in love.

  • kmbutterfly

    Katie B from kmbutterfly said 4 years ago Featured

    Thank you so much for sharing some good and truthful words about love! I've been married nearly two years and with my husband for nearly four, and we learn daily that love requires action. I'm not surprised to hear that there are some qualitative measurements. They may vary by situation and person, but ultimately every relationship has things that help it grow. For my husband and I, it's time together, saying "I love you" anytime we say hello, goodbye, or simply feel like it, and the all-important kiss goodnight. Tiny acts are the food of love.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections from KettleConfections said 4 years ago

    A relationship is like a garden, it has to be well cultivated and maintained by both parties so it can grow into something big and beautiful and being something strong enough to weather both through the good and bad times.

  • babyblues111170

    babyblues111170 said 4 years ago

    Very well said! The best thing I've ever heard about love was from our Dean of Students in college and he said: Love is not an emotion. It's an act of the will. You CHOOSE to love somebody. This just extends that to the fact that you have to choose it more than once. You choose it every day!

  • VeloNoir

    Christine Rimorin from VeloNoir said 4 years ago

    To quote on character from the movie «Dan in Real Life», «Love is not a feeling, Mr. Burns. It's an ability.» Though not married myself, my parents' 41 happy years of marriage is a testament to the fact that love takes a lot of work, dedication, and effort from both sides. It's not just the ability to love but the ability of love to evolve as time passes.

  • SlopingBarnVintage

    Anne from SlopingBarnVintage said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful article - thank you!

  • 2bloomsdesignstudio

    Michelle from twobloomsds said 4 years ago

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  • urthgypsy

    Sioux from UrthGypsyVintage said 4 years ago

    You are a very wise young man...I believe you can teach others. I was married a brief 4 years and it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I have never remarried. I think you and your wife will make it work.

  • JewelsbyJasmin

    Jasmin Smith from JewelsbyJasmin said 4 years ago

    Lovely article, thank you for sharing!

  • MishaGirl

    Michelle from MishaGirl said 4 years ago

    Love is an activity. So true! It doesn't evolve if you're not working at it. I've learned that the little things you can do for one another makes a huge difference because it shows the other person that you are making an effort and that you care. Communication is also key...and it doesn't necessarily have to be a sit down conversation. Randomly, at any given time, my husband and I will reflect on things in our relationship. It keeps us in check and by doing that we integrate the bond we share into our everyday life more naturally. Now, I'm not saying we're perfect....but I think these are two things that have held us together for 15 years (and counting ;-)

  • PinwheelStudio

    Whitney from PinwheelStudio said 4 years ago

    I really enjoyed this post. True, realistic, and some words to live by. Thank you.

  • L2Country

    L2Country from L2Country said 4 years ago

    Nice article...And so appropriate with Valentines' Day just right around the corner. Thank you, Caleb!

  • DCFraulein

    Lea said 4 years ago

    This is a great article. My husband and I will be married 6 months on the 13th. Having lived together before the wedding, it was only our bank accounts and a house purchase that changed from the outsiders perspective. They would be incorrect. Being accustomed to the one you love does offer a strong dose of resentment but your approach is the antigen. As we slip further into the uncomfortable comforts of marriage I will keep your suggestions in mind.

  • LisamariesPiece

    LisaMarie Bautista from LisamariesPiece said 4 years ago

    Awesome awesome awesome article Caleb! My husband and I coming up on our 12th anniversary....we find this to be very true. Apply love and admiration daily, not just once a year. Thank you for your words!

  • PranaMaker

    Natalia Hacerola from PranaMaker said 4 years ago

    I actually enjoyed your summary of the article more than the article itself! One thing- you might want to make the link to the article launch a new page vs. overriding this page. Word up! ~ Natalia Hacerola

  • astarteearthart

    astarteearthart from astarteearthart said 4 years ago

    I love your "State of the Union" tradition, that's wonderful. Another great practice is to state every night before falling asleep what you are grateful for regarding your partner during that day.

  • kmchin1012

    Karyn said 4 years ago

    I'd like the think that I'm getting better at loving my husband. After 3 years of marriage, it's the little things that count the most. Saying please and thank you and expressing gratitude for even the most mundane things, like taking out the garbage, go much father than one might imagine. Also, I find joy in making my husband smile. Making him blush by telling him he's handsome is one of my favorite things in the whole world!

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts said 4 years ago

    Nice article and good advice!

  • blackscrapcat

    Kelly Jonsson from blackscrapcat said 4 years ago

    I like what you said about "seeing" one another. That's huge! We've been married most 22 years and have 7 children. We have to be very deliberate about getting alone time -- but sometimes that time is a few minutes spent in the center of the kitchen, surrounded by the chaos of a large family, nose to nose, eye to eye. I describe it as "drinking each others spirit" -- breathing in the deep spiritual connection that makes all the difference. He's my favorite person :).

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 4 years ago

    I struggle with communicating to other people so talking to a partner can be a bit difficult sometimes, its something I know I do which is awful! I'm just so used to keeping things to myself...

  • raredesignshop

    Nesli Ceylan from NesliCeylan said 4 years ago

    lOVE İS aLL ı nEED

  • PurpleToedGypsy

    PurpleToedGypsy from PurpleToedGypsy said 4 years ago

    I really love your series. Thanks for being so sharing and open with us, it is wonderful, and so thought provoking

  • wavedrops

    wavedrops from wavedrops said 4 years ago

    Love this article!Thank you so much!

  • NaturelMistik

    Naturel Mistik from NaturelMistik said 4 years ago

    Wonderful post, Caleb! I was married, and have been in several long-term relationships. My skills in that area definitely need some improving. I now know that the stereotype of 'romantic love' can exist, but is usually fleeting and must be replaced with something stronger and more permanent. The best example I can think of is friendship. We love our friends, overlook their shortcomings, share with them, play with them, get angry with them, forgive them, depend on them - in a way, friendship is the highest form of love.

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 4 years ago

    Hope to meet the right one soon...

  • beliz82

    Beliz from beliz82 said 4 years ago

    Great article.We are kind of a new married couple and it is good to read or have an idea what we will have in front of us.Right now loving each other is our protection for our relationship.:). Thank you for sharing.

  • HighPointFarm2010

    HighPointFarm2010 from HighPointFarm2010 said 4 years ago

    Great article. Even after 33 yrs of marriage, an empty nesters...saddly we still have to make time for each other. We are a work in progress even after all these years. But we keep plugging away. Maybe we will have it down by the time we reach our 50 Anniversary!

  • AngelFeesh126

    Angel-Ina Hammond from AngelFeesh126 said 4 years ago

    Love this article. I am freshly in the most serious relationship I've ever been in. And although we have yet to face the new city, baby, and establishing new careers challenges together, we work through the dilemmas thrown our way. We both have issues when it comes to loving someone. I always want more, and he is non romantic and reclusive. However, we are both learning and growing together to love each other better and make the other happier day by day. I am learning to be grateful and acknowledge both out loud and silently each minuscule action he performs to make me smile. Also, I'm learning to be patient when getting what I want from him, i.e. attention. He is learning to take time from what he is doing to give me attention when I'm patient as well as other elements. We both are learning from one another and teaching the other what we need, want, and how to achieve these desires in order to love the other better to maintain a happy relationship. We discuss things instead of fighting and never raise our voices, we refrain from curse words when angry, and think before we speak as to not hurt the other's feelings. We also keep things spontaneous, as we should, especially less than a year in a relationship.

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies from BanglewoodSupplies said 4 years ago

    I needed to read this, Thanks!

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs said 4 years ago

    Refreshingly honest! Love the extra length to the comments here! I agree with the importance of 'seeing' each other. It's the 'can't wait to share' thoughts / time / memories / dreams that makes our love and the fact it is a two way street. Would be interested to know how many etsy couples work together - and how that is going !!! I feel a survey blog coming on ??

  • poorandpretty

    Sami Jensen from poorandpretty said 4 years ago

    Caleb, what a wonderful article. I think popular media tends to romanticize love so much and make it look so easy that we sometimes have unrealistic views towards (and expectations of) relationships. This is a good reminder that all relationships require effort, even if it's just remembering to say "good morning" :)

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 4 years ago

    Nice and intersting article! Thanks for sharing

  • twistguild

    barbara munic from twistguild said 4 years ago Featured

    After almost 18 years of marriage, I find that I often reflect on the gift of advice that a friend in the marriage business, (sadly, a divorce lawyer) gave us when we were newly engaged. His sage advice was to always have a moment for kind words as each headed out the door in the morning and to find just a moment to connect during the day. He thought the unasked for and unannounced small, thoughtful deed each day would provided a cement that would help us adhere through thick and thin, high and low. One sweet act that made me realize the impact of these small acts is when our daughter began to stand beside us at the front door, expectantly, as the "I love yous" went around the circle. She has recently made us a special book, thanking us for our parenthood and especially thanking us for the gift of a "Good soul, free from hate". Her words. What you do does truly go around and around in a never ending circle of goodness that goes out into the world.

  • erasistible

    Maddy from erasistible said 4 years ago Featured

    I have been married for 32 years. It is the small things we do for each other that show we care and make our relationship strong. If it is really cold, he turns up my side of the electric blanket before I go to bed. I have something good for him to eat when he has to work until 3 a.m. I have found that one of the best things we do for our relationship is to accept each other as imperfect. We don't get all mad when someone does something stupid. We acknowledge the stupidity and rush in together with damage control. I would say that because I have seen how important these things are and what they have done for our relationship, I make it a point to tell him that I love him and do something nice for him each day. If he forgets to lock the door when he goes off to work, I will not blow up. I am getting better.

  • ShoeClipsOnly

    kathy johnson from ShoeClipsOnly said 4 years ago

    Lot of work but well worth it!

  • nearerthemoon

    Tilly O'Neill from nearerthemoon said 4 years ago

    I'm not married but I'm in a long term relationship and it's definitely the little things and habits that remind us of how much we care about each other. Cooking together helps immensly, we're both foodies and being in that close space but never bumping into each other creating something we can enjoy together is a point in the day that we always make time for. Also, he's a night owl and I'm an early bird so I make coffee and toast in the mornings, he loads the dishwasher at night. It's all about working at the give and take.

  • HeatherLucille

    Heather Atkinson from HeatherLucille said 4 years ago

    There's always room for improvement and growth in a healthy relationship! It's important to want to improve and strive to make your partnership better in ways that work for you as a couple.

  • Brokenghostcouture

    Jana from BrokenGhostClothing said 4 years ago

    Having been married once before, I went into my second marriage making sure that I cherish it wholeheartedly. After 11 years together, we are as romantically in love as when we began. Luckily I have a man who works at our relationship as much as I do. I think he's the bees knees and there's nothing we can't overcome together.

  • SimplyMadJewelry

    Madeline Barbeito from SimplyMadJewelry said 4 years ago

    it was nice to read your post...I agree little things go farther than big ones...we don't have a formula either but when we get into an argument we always try to understand the others perspective and when things cool down we talk about it...and that makes it easier to take a step back and think the next time you want to react about something the other person did or said...if you understand why they did it or said it, then there is no reason for a fight...I am a big believer in reasons...not having to explaining everything you do but more like expressing your thought process so you are both on the same page especially in subject or moments that could be touchy... Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

  • mmarvar

    Madeline M said 4 years ago

    I'm only in my early twenties, and every relationship I had in high school and college was easy - if it didn't work it didn't work. The person that I've been with for the last year and a half, we are very different in what we need from a relationship, so after eight months we broke up. After a break, we realized that it wasn't as simple as that, and we have been working to rebuild the relationship and take better stock of each other's needs as well as our own, rather than making demands and being disappointed. It's a lot of work, and a lot of compromise, but we seem to have finally reached a middle ground where we are both happy. This article was very encouraging, and I've appreciated all of the comments!

  • shannondzikas

    shannon dzikas from shannondzikas said 4 years ago

    February 13th will mark the 6 month "anniversary" of my first date with my boyfriend. He pointed this out last night and I almost choked. I've never celebrated 6 months of dating anyone. I'll take all the relationship advice I can get because this is entirely new to me. Is it crazy that at 28 and already a parent I'm only now learning how to do this right?

  • CocobeanDesigns

    Samantha LeBlanc from CocobeanHome said 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your article. I need to be reminded about how important the little things are when we have two children and sometimes 'intimate' looks like babies smiling or crying all over us :) It's important to be flexible and work at marriage like it is the most important job in the world. (with the highest return) This view is not cold....it's realistic. I LOVE the idea of going back over the year and planning for the future and then of course following through with building blocks for a better relationship.

  • ArmorOfModernMen

    Will Z. from ArmorOfModernMen said 4 years ago

    I have yet to dabble in life as a husband but I believe we all have much to learn from this article and relationships, in general. Thanks for reminding me that I need to keep stretching myself to reach the ones I love. It is a growing process requiring nutrients of self reflection and honesty, good doses of fresh perspective and airing out of beliefs, goals and dreams and an occasional watering of tears in earnest passion. Relationships of love are good but they can always be better.

  • lauracostello2

    Laura Costello from KireinaJewellery said 4 years ago

    I was honestly quite touched by that. I guess it always hits home that the flowery, Victorian, flouncy sickly sweet romantic love is really only for teenagers. After that l think reality bites a bit or maybe a big chunk. Thank you for sharing.

  • nicoahsmeem

    Valerie Augustine from PhatBabeeBlankets said 4 years ago

    I enjoyed the read. Great article. Relationships are a never ending work in progress.

  • ruchla

    racheli varulker from purplefeatherdesign said 4 years ago

    wonderful article thank you!

  • thehandmadeshopper

    Kat Stardust from StardustWorkshop said 4 years ago

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

  • malindastratton

    Malinda Stratton from SimplysilksbyMalinda said 4 years ago

    I loved this article! My hubby of nearly 25 years (and I can't believe it has been that long...feels like yesterday we got married) is away on a business trip right now. We haven't been apart for more than a couple days in a very long time. This made me miss him more. One thing we make sure we do is express appreciation for each other. It is too easy to take the other for granted. Thanks you so much for the article! and the reminder to show him I appreciate him.

  • SwanSoon

    Swan Soon from SwanSoon said 4 years ago

    really sweet :)

  • sjegan

    Sarah-Jane Egan from FragmentDesignsEtsy said 4 years ago

    I'm only with my boy 4 years and no kids (bunnies) or marriage but we still make a point of making sure we get a night together cuddled on the sofa, or playing a board game together on the floor with the bunnies running around. It's little things like that I love :) We probably wont do presents for Valentines (money) but we will make a nice dinner and sit and chat to eachother. We've had a rough couple of years and helped eachother out no end so I think we're getting better and stronger together....but I don't want to jinx us!

  • bigDAYpartyshop

    Amanda Fullerton from bigDAYpartyshop said 4 years ago

    Thank you for this, it's a great message. It's really easy to be a jerk to the people you're closest to, when you'd never treat others so carelessly. I try to always remind myself that if this is the person I love most in the whole world then I should show that by being as patient, kind, and generous with him as possible.

  • Efflorajewelry

    Peter Moran from Efflorajewelry said 4 years ago

    As I get older I realize how amazing it is to simply LEARN. Im not married or anything, but with my last serious gf I tried instituting a new idea into our weekly routine. She said she liked the idea, but she never ended up participating. I knew this wasn't the "one"... but here is the idea, and maybe a few of you can try it: Take an uninterrupted half hour at the same time, same place once a week for with just the two of you. Its a teach and learn session. You alternate who is the teacher and who is the learner each week. The teacher decides early in the week what they want to teach their lover (can be anything from science to accounting to insects to philosophy etc..), then they do a little research incase they do not know enough themselves about it.. and teach it to the other person in a half hour. Its a great way to spend time together and learn about wonderful things together. And really you only have to worry about teaching once every two weeks because the other person goes next week. Give it a try :) you might be surprised...

  • kristoferyoungdc

    Kristofer Young, DC said 4 years ago

    Caleb, Thank you for your valuable experience! After being married for 40 years, it is clear to me that the single most important source of information that has allowed my wife and I to remain married is nonviolent communication (cnvc,org). We were close to divorce 10 years ago, but fortunately found NVC. We are getting better at loving one another. but only through getting better at communicating with one another. :)

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! I think one of the secrets is respect, which is often undermined over time - but if we always treat our partner as we would like to be treated ourselves we're half way there. That and being appreciative, always saying thank you, and having lots of cuddles!

  • EwingRussell

    Ewing Russell said 4 years ago

    Oh! nice romance.

  • FlingaOnEtsy

    FLINGA from FlingaOnEtsy said 4 years ago

    LOVEly article, and to answer your question and in line with some other comments: being honest and looking out for yourself is the basis for a good relationship and on top of that, checking in or 'evaluating' (horrible unromantic word!) how things are going is a good thing. We always end the day asking the other about how the day was, sharing good and bad feelings- only in the reversed order because it's better to end the day with a happy thought!

  • sandstormcreations

    sandstormcreations from sandstormcreations said 4 years ago

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

  • CatShyCrafts

    Cathy Pascual from CatshyCrafts said 4 years ago

    beautiful article!

  • TheHolidayBowtique

    Andrea Keefe from TheHolidayBowtique said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the State of the Union idea!

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing a very important thing. I think this works with us to, in not so much a formal way. You just have to be honest.

  • aktina

    maria matsouka from aktina said 4 years ago

    A really nice article...I wanted to say that love is not so hard only it needs care and time!

  • knottylove

    Lindsey Skaare from knottylove said 4 years ago

    "State of the Union" address! Awesome! You get out what you put in. I'm glad you are taking responsibility for your marriage and life. Not many can say this. Great article and what a lucky wife you have!!

  • WeThreeTrees

    Jenna Callahan from WeThreeTrees said 4 years ago

    I hope lots of people read this article. I have learned in my 5 years of marriage that loving my husband means that I won't always "feel" like it, but I've commited to him that I am going to try, and not going to give up. You cannot be selfish in a marriage- it doesn't work that way. Loving the other person the way THEY feel loved is so very important. That's why good communication is essential. I'm not saying my husband and I always DO have good communication- we don't. We struggle, we go through rough patches, its not easy. But we are dedicated to KEEP trying. That is the point of marriage, you grow together not only in years but in learning as well. I read a quote recently that "Marriage is the union of two good forgivers". I would love to tell that to every newlywed. You won't always feel like forgiving or loving, but those things are a choice. You have to make the choice that you will try to see the best in them, even when they are at their worst. You will stay commited and keep fighting for them.

  • sakurakoalexis

    Alexis Young from ThankfulHeartArt said 4 years ago

    Great discussion about something that many people don't realize. It's easy to just say "marriage takes work" but until your there it's hard to understand. My husband and I have been married 7 1/2 years this Valentine's Day and we've been together for 11 years. I took me years to really appreciate him for who he was and not just who I wanted him to be. I guess for me, the thing that really changed was me. I became more positive and thankful for all that we have. Being thankful has made all the "work" of a good marriage feel natural and free.

  • KTcollections

    KTcollections from KTcollections said 4 years ago

    Beautiful blog!! I have only been married for just over 2 years but I love to read about the possibilities ahead!! I love hearing stories of different couples from all walks for life inspiring and supporting each other. Great post and thanks for the inspiration!!

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