In AD 269 the Roman priest Valentine was martyred during the reign of Claudius II. He was arrested and imprisoned simply because he was caught marrying Christian couples, which was considered a crime at the time. Claudius actually took a liking to his prisoner – until Valentine tried to convert the Emperor and he was condemned to death. Although our hero was beheaded, Saint Valentine set a standard for the importance of lovers being together and joining their lives in mutual respect and passion.
As a couples counselor, I witness daily how individuals become lazy in love. At the start of their relationship they probably made a real effort. Once upon a time he sent her flowers at work, she wrote him long romantic emails, they talked on the phone until late at night, she gladly sat through the football games and he endured romantic comedies. When they started dating he planned exciting outings and she cooked him dinner by candlelight and served him breakfast in bed. Well, what happened?
As a relationship becomes more comfortable and familiar individuals can forget to make the effort needed. Motivation drops when the hunt is over, and the “happily ever after” appears to be locked in. Unhealthy patterns can replace the compassion and romance that once dominated a couple’s time together. Without knowing it, men and women stop prioritizing their special person and start taking him or her for granted. That is when a relationship will likely suffer and passion will grow cold.
It’s never too late to turn things around. Stop neglecting your partner and start doing things that foster a strong, healthy, loving relationship. Here is a list of tips that have helped others remember the basic Dos and Don’ts of Love.
Do walk hand-in-hand together
Don’t walk one in front of the other
Do meet and greet each other with a hug every time you get home
Don’t give the dog attention first
Do have conversations over dinner sharing the day’s highlights
Don’t watch the news during your meal
Do be flexible and compromise
Don’t pout if you don’t get your way
Do kiss good-bye every time you part
Don’t yell “I’m leaving now, see you later”
Do be supportive of each other’s goals and dreams
Don’t be judgmental or cynical
Do sit together on the coach to watch a show or movie
Don’t watch TV in bed
Do love, honor and respect
Don’t undermine, degrade or tease
Do talk with one another over breakfast
Don’t read the newspaper during the meal
Do schedule time for foreplay
Don’t leave lovemaking until just before falling asleep
Do ask for what you need
Don’t try to mind-read or assume your partner can mind-read
Do accept your partner for his or her uniqueness
Don’t try to change your partner
Do have fun together
Don’t act your age
Do enjoy each other thoroughly during love making
Don’t rush through sex or do it the same way every time
Do surprise your partner occasionally
Don’t be boring and predictable in the way you show love
Do plan ahead for birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day
Don’t buy gifts at the last minute
Do be quick to forgive
Don’t hold grudges
Do lavish with “I love yous”
Don’t hold back words of affirmation
Creating a loving, long-term relationship is a time-consuming, challenging endeavor that you will face your entire life. But it is also the most rewarding aspect of truly living!