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Psychology Today – The Fire of Love

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Psychology Today – The Fire of Love

143932-145410Do You Want A Better Love Life?  This article was published on February 12, 2014 in Psychology Today.  It was coauthored by  Mark Banschick, M.D.

We all want love.

We want to be seen, validated, treasured and wanted. And we want to give. We want the freshness of love to invigorate our lives and put the whole world into perspective.

Love is more than sex…more than adoration…more than warm memories. It is alive and vibrant, like a warm fire on a cold winter’s day. Keep it stoked and it stays alive. Let it lie fallow, and don’t expect it to last.

With winter upon us, we’ve teamed up with guest blogger Heather Edwards about kindling more love in your life. Good things need attention – it’s a lesson about happiness.

A Day of Love 

Consider our communal celebration of love: Valentine’s Day. For a moment we are aware again of  love notes, red roses, and heart shaped chocolates. Romance is awakened and we feel reconnected. 

Or, consider your anniversary… the moment when you both commited to each other. Or, a birthday, a time to openly value him or her. They all work, but what about the next day?

Isn’t love more than a two or three day holiday?

Imagine removing the pressure. What if instead, we mindfully loved more generously and openly in our everyday lives and relationships? Everyday. Stop wasting your time and energy searching for differences, problems, and sources of anxiety—they’re way too easy to find and obsess about! Shift your focus to what is positive, good, and loving.

Yes a birthday, an anniversary and even, Valentine’s Day, all count. But, the fire of love is found in smaller, less significant moments as well.

Love is a way of feeling. It’s a way of thinking. And, it’s a way of behaving.

Let’s take a moment to consider the ways we celebrate our relationships. Not for just for two or three special moments, but 365 days per year.

Acts of Kindness

Whether you’re the gift giving type or the favor offering kind, remember the ways you reached out to your partner when your relationship was new. What were you eager to do for that person, simply for the sake of making him/her feel good? How did you express tenderness, infatuation, and desire? Rekindle those moments. Take time to plan a meal, give a massage, or connect through sharing ideas, dreams, and plans.

Listen carefully to her. Let him know how special he is. Love can spiral up.

“I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.” —W.B. Yeats

Seek Adventure

When your relationship was new, everything you did together was adventurous simply because YOU were new to each other. Some of those activities may have gotten lost in the shuffle of responsibility, boredom, or routine. Keep novelty alive! If you are not new to each other anymore, find activities that are unique. Get outside your comfort zone, together. After all, getting to know each other was exciting and challenging when there was uncertainty. The world is fresh for discovery. There are new places to visit, new nuances of sex, a special date to break the routine, a project you both share. Recreate that excitement.

“What we find in a soulmate is not something wild to tame but something wild to run with.”  —Robert Brault

Adults Can Play Too

Whatever your age, playfulness is inside of you. Watch lovers as they hold hands or prance through the snow. They are awakening an inner child. Allow yourself a careless laugh or a fun, awkward moment. Kids make life special all the time (and unfortunately, we often want to silence all the action), and grownups can as well. Love brings out playfulness.

Do something ridiculous together. Go on a walk for half a day without a goal in sight. Wear something kooky because its fun. Make sex an adenture. Or, perhaps, just sneak away from the kids for a romantic moment, like two jailbirds on the run. (Of course you love your children. But there’s time for grownups as well.)

Let go a little. There’s fire in there.

Give Space for Love

One of the lest understood dynamics in passionate love is a passionate commitment to letting your lover have some space when he or she needs it. You undoubtably know that it’s natural to take time, like its natural to bond. In fact, they are both active ingredients in a healthy relationship.

Ask any man or woman who feels crowded in by their partner.

It’s not pleasant and will not promote love.

A good fire, like a relationship, needs spaces to breathe. Otherwise, it’ll choke itself out.

Sometimes love is kindled in the rawness of great sex. Sometimes, it’s getting away together. And, sometimes it’s being apart. Sorry, there is no easy formula here. Just know that love is best when it comes freely.

Greater Intimacy

Some confuse intimacy with sex. Although they can be mutually exclusive, they are far better when shaken and stirred together in a loving cocktail of sensuality. Touch frequently. Express gratitude. Speak warm sentiments. Be vulnerable. Ask for what you need. Confide your fears and exert your power (in a loving way, not threatening). Don’t assume. Generously give space. And passionately enjoy closeness. Take risks. Share your innermost self.

“Warm me like sunlight and soothe me like rain. Burn me with passion and steal away the pain.” —Tyler Knott Gregson

If you’re lucky enough to be in a loving relationship, nurture it every day. Keep your feet on the ground, your head on your shoulders, and notice how your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife shares this journey. It can be a slow burn or a hot one, but love can be had.

Is there a special day of love? Yes, everyday.


Heather Edwards, LMHC, BCC

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