19 Jan Valentine’s Day Thoughts: Consciously Creating Love & Caring
“The task is not to seek love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you built against it.”
As we approach Valentine’s Day I can’t help but to think about love. While there are many aspects of love, for the purposes of this blog I will be focusing on the love that exists between you and your partner and some of the ways we express that love.
What does the expression of love look like in relationship, and what reduces or destroys that love?
1. When we express kindness and gratitude we are expressing love. Gratitude is usually expressed as an appreciation. I always begin a couples’ session with an appreciation dialogue. We will be learning and practicing appreciation dialogues in our Valentine’s Day workshop. For those of you who would like to try it out, please refer to my blog post on appreciations.
2.Another way we express love is through acts of loving kindness. Lovingkindness is a form of love characterized by acts of kindness. In my couples therapy work, couples learn to express kindness through caring behaviors. Acts of kindness express that I care about you. What are caring behaviors and how can we express and show our appreciation for each other?
Caring behaviors are unconditional gifts we give graciously without an expectation of anything in return. It is something you do for your partner for no other reason than it pleases your partner or makes them feel loved and cared about. In providing caring behaviors, you nurture not just your partner, but “the space between,” the relationship itself.
Caring behaviors will be discussed and practiced during the Valentine’s Day workshop. For a more in-depth discussion about caring behaviors and how to practice them refer to my blog, “3 Great Mindfulness Exercises for Couples to Do Together.” As I mention in that blog, it’s important to create caring rather than to hope for it to magically appear.
3. Every relationship involves a “gift” exchange. In my opinion as a relationship therapist, the greatest “gift” that we can give each other comes in the form of simply “listening”. But not just listening with our ears but actually listening with our hearts. This type of conscious listening involves learning a technique called Intentional Dialogue. The four parts of the dialogue are mirroring, summarizing, validating and empathizing. This technique will be discussed in detail and you will have plenty of chances to practice it during our Valentine’s Day workshop. For a sneak preview you can look at my blog on dialoguing. In February, I’ll be posting 2 articles about how practicing intentional dialogue tremendously improves communication
4. One thing that destroys love is negativity. All of us have witnessed anger and its consequences. Negativity in any transaction which ruptures the connection: whether it’s intentional or accidental. And yet, anger and conflict exist in all relationships. Failing to express anger can be as damaging as constant volatility. What’s the balance?
Luckily, there is a ratio and researchers have found that while successful relationships have their moments of anger, these are outweighed by more moments of joy and connection. Specifically, couples who experience six positive interactions for every negative one report having loving, nurturing relationships.
As we learn about cherishing each other, we simultaneously move to end all negativity in the relationship. In fact, zero negativity is a precondition for safety in a relationship. During our Valentine’s Day Mindful Couples workshop we will discuss what is negativity and we will all take a ” 30 Day Zero Negativity” challenge. By taking this class you will begin to understand what you do to rupture your connection how to repair the connection once it’s been ruptured.
5. Finally but not lastly, our love can be manifested in dreaming together. Dreaming about our perfect relationship. What it looks like, what do you want as a couple. If you can dream it, you can be it. “Be the dream” has always been my motto. During our workshop you will also be focusing on creating a Relationship Vision that will guide you throughout your entire relationship. Again, the blog I mentioned above gives you a taste of what creating a Relationship Vision is all about.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to think about celebrating your love for each other. During our workshop we will take an in-depth look at how to have a heartfelt, in-depth loving relationship and how to keep deepening your connection and the full potential of the relationship. I hope you and your partner will be inspired by this blog to sign up for the workshop. The complimentary wine and appetizers on Friday night and continental breakfast and full lunch on Saturday help the insights go down! This workshop provides so much more than an expensive dinner out! I look forward to seeing you there.