by Lyudmila Bloch, Etiquette Expert New York City
Why is the subject of love so important to us?
Because almost everything we do, feel, and experience involves our significant others. We spend many of our waking hours in their company. When we are not with them, we are probably thinking about them. Research has shown that there is a correlation between the state of our relationship and our state of health. If our relationship is working, we are happy and focused. If things are not going well, we may struggle or fall apart. Surveys show that unhappy couples have a 35 percent higher health risk than those in more harmonious unions.
Our love bond with our parents determines our future behavior pattern in love relationships. It all starts when we are born and our survival depends on our parents and caretakers. If we are loved and nurtured, we grow up to be loving and nurturing adults, capable of developing and sustaining healthy love relationships. If we are neglected or abused, we have a rough road ahead of us.
It’s clear from the psychological model of needs—called the “hierarchy of needs” by Abraham Maslow—that when our basic needs for food, shelter, and safety are satisfied, we are ready to grow emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically. Our human body and brain are wired to find immediate necessities. As soon as we have some food in our stomachs and feel fairly safe and comfortable in our lives, we start thinking about other human beings.
Illustration: Hierarchy of Needs, by Abraham Maslow
Love can be measured in terms of passion, commitment, and intimacy. And there are different types of love relationships: romantic, fervent, comfortable, and committed. Is your partnership as strong and passionate as you’d like it to be? How best to keep your love growing and maturing? This list of Love Etiquette Tips will help you nurture and develop your relationship.
- Be a good listener. Nothing extinguishes the flames of love more than feeling unappreciated and unheard.
- Understand your partner’s personality type and keep it in mind when trying to communicate. For example, the way you should talk to a loved one with a creative mind is totally different from the way you would talk to someone with a more analytic bent.
- Show respect and commitment at all stages of your relationship. Whether you’re newlyweds or have been married 10, 20, or 50 years, don’t assume that your spouse always knows how you feel. Make implicit things explicit!
- Learn to give praise and acknowledge your partner. Remember, we also have esteem needs before we reach self-actualization—the highest level of achievement and development. The closer we bring our “real self” to the “ideal self,” the closer we get to completing our life journey!
- Resolve your differences with respect and dignity for all regardless of the issue at hand. Consider inviting a third-party mediator for assistance.
- Master your voice and tone when expressing questions or worries about your relationship. If you’re not careful, you may sound angry rather than concerned. Keep in mind that 38 percent of our message is conveyed through tone, 55 percent through body language, and only 7 percent by the words we choose.
- Keep your relationship healthy by focusing on what is important. Don’t suffocate your love relationship with problems and demands. Successful partnerships thrive when people like each other as friends, know how to resolve issues constructively, and don’t hold grudges for years. Choose your battles wisely.
- Show affection and appreciation by writing love-you, thank-you, miss-you, and need-you notes! According to the world’s leading psychologists, the need to feel needed and connected to others is the third strongest human instinct.
- Allow your fun inner child to come out and play. Be creative in planning surprises and come up with novel ideas to keep your relationship fresh and exciting!
Following my Love Etiquette Tips will not guarantee that your marriage or love union will be saved, but they will inspire changes and growth in your relationship.
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Opinions expressed in this post should not be interpreted as professional advice or recommendations. Seek the professional help of a clinical psychologist or family therapist when dealing with personal issues.