I started this blog with the intention of sharing stories about real-life relationships that shared the love most of us dream about, crave, and hope exists.
As I started researching and interviewing people, I realized I was learning a lot more about things that compromise love in relationships rather than the love that's shared. So, this will be the first in a two-part entry that discusses the elements that allow extraordinary love to be possible, and then those that often lead to its detriment.
When I was sixteen, I believed that I, too, would someday fall madly in love with the love of my life. Twelve years later, there's a part of me that is still holding out for that. My notions of what love is have also evolved and expanded quite a bit.
Extraordinary love, to me, is two people strongly committed to creating the most loving relationship they possibly can. Furthermore, it's the conscious effort to make each other feel special, to meet each other’s needs, and to truly want to be better together.
The last article I wrote was about infidelity and animosity in marriages. I'd argue that both are symptoms of the breakdown of love in the relationship. That is to say they love each other, but stopped feeling loving and loved somewhere along the way. It's a glorious oversimplification, but it's most likely true.
These are some of the elements that enhance, and are characteristic of extraordinary love within a relationship:
- The way you look at each other; you know the “look”
- Being conscientious; do you anticipate and seek to meet each other’s needs?
- Affection, physical connection
- Laughter; do you enjoy each other? At the end of the day, can you let things go and enjoy silly moments together?
- Spontaneity; do you still surprise each other?
- Deeply knowing one another, and seeking to continuously know more
- Giving and receiving; do you give freely? Do you receive and thank your partner for what they give to you?
- Support of each other’s dreams and endeavors; do you believe in them?
- Shared dreams; do you have a vision you've co-created for your life together?
- Respect; do you protect each other’s integrity?
- Trust; can you trust that you'll be there for each other? Do you mean what you say? Do your actions follow suit?
- Making agreements; do you discuss decisions together? Do you establish to hear each other out and be respectful of each other’s opinions? Have you resolved to figure things out together?
- Compliments; do you notice and share what you like about each other?
- Acceptance; do you criticize each other or recognize your frustration, and lovingly accept that we’re imperfect human beings?
- Forgiveness; do you choose to apologize, forgive, and move forward?
- Intentions; do you trust each other's intentions?
- Willingness to re-evaluate; are you willing to be wrong? Are you willing to admit it, and seek resolution?
- Loyalty; would you fight for your partner? Do you know you have each other's back?
- Daily collaboration; how do you work together? Do you regularly handle situations as a team?
- Graciousness; do you truly want to do things for each other?
- Appreciation; do you recognize the ways in which you appreciate each other?
- Love and like; do you love each other? Do you like each other? Do your actions towards one another reflect that you do?
As you reflect on these 22 elements, which do you feel strong in? Which would you like to improve?
Anything you'd add? Let me know by mentioning it in the comments below.
Extraordinary love begins with the desire to be better. To decide to notice more. To be more conscious of how you show up in your relationship. The fact that you're here shows that it's something you're willing to create, and the sooner the better, so go make extraordinary love.