Valentine’s Day 2021, for the first time in history, will be celebrated with great caution this year, in view of the pandemic and health concerns regarding outdoor celebrations.
While some people will, indeed, be heading outdoor for special dinners (though hotels and restaurants aren’t quite announcing their celebrations in a big way) many others say celebrating the day at home is the safest option. But celebrations apart, most people uphold the fact that mutual respect is the only sure way to nurture love in a marital relationship for many years.
According to Tamsen Firestone, a life coach at psychealive.org which provides psychological advice for everyday life, there are three principles that keep love alive:
Participate in the act of love
Much of the advice that suggests taking action to foster romance is effective because it encourages the act of loving rather than the state of being in love. The act of loving is gratifying for both, the lover and the loved one, and should involve behaviours that keep a close relationship alive and vital. These include offering emotional and physical affection, expressing tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity to your partner’s needs, sharing activities and interests, and maintaining honest exchanges of personal thoughts and feelings. They also involve actively accepting, acknowledging, and appreciating love that is directed toward you.
It may seem like a romantic notion to regard your loved one as your soulmate, your better half. However, this kind of imagined fusion destroys romance. It is impossible to feel romantic without the awareness that you and your partner are each a distinct and unique individual. That is why you need to regard yourself as a whole person and be sure you’re not looking for someone to complete your incompleteness or to define or affirm you. Therefore, to maintain romance, it’s critical that each partner maintains a strong sense of independence and strengthens each others’ unique traits.
Ignore your critical inner voice
To varying degrees, we all have an enemy within, a part of ourselves that operates inside our heads much like a coach, criticising us and offering advice. This enemy is your critical inner voice and it is helpful to be aware of how your critical inner voice can try to sabotage your loving exchanges with your partner. When you experience the urge to be critical, no matter what your critical inner voice says, just ignore it and continue to be loving and affectionate. Soon it will become weaker and wither away while love will triumph.
Voices from the heart
Love flourishes with respect and support
I think, respect and support are the most important aspects that keep love alive for many years in a marriage. Yes, I am really blessed with a lovely family and wonderful people around me. I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Five pillars of a relationship
It has been officially four years since my divorce. Yet, regardless of my journey, I believe, the key to keeping the spark in any relationship, be it marriage or otherwise, is communication, determination, patience, respect and love. These are the five fundamental pillars for any relationship to flourish, to grow, to spark, and to continue. On this beautiful day dedicated to love, I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s, filled with love.
Dr Laila Harub
Mutual respect, space, nurtures love
Mutual respect, giving each other space to do the things you like (for example, men love fishing and sports, and women love shopping) is what helps to keep love alive for many years. Plus, each partner needs a lot of patience – both may not always be on the same level.
Going out and having fun together – in our case, we go fishing and golfing together – is very important.
Love for nature abounds with us
We always said, it’s about finding the middle ground where we invest in activities that we can all enjoy together. The three of us – Maha, Noah (my son) and myself – have this mutual love for nature which we always visit. Now, with the Coronavirus around, it has been very challenging to keep it up as we can’t travel and do only limited exploring within Oman. However, we don’t allow it to stop us from doing some of our usual outdoor activities. This is what keeps love alive among all three of us.
Abdullah Al Jailani
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