Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Living in ‘Endless Love’
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
One of the greatest love songs of all time, “Endless Love,” was sung by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. It begins (for those of you who weren’t alive when the song was released in 1981) with these words: “My love … there’s only you in my life, the only thing that’s bright,” and it only continues to express more and more loving sentiments.
On this Valentine’s Day, I want to address LOVE. It is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings, especially its expression in a romantic relationship with a compatible and loving mate.
In 1984, Tina Turner released another song, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Well, Ms. Turner, from my experience of counseling countless couples along their romantic but often difficult journey, I can say that love has A LOT to do with EVERYTHING!
If you’ve been in love, or if you ARE in love, you would know first-hand that love is one of the most rewarding, important and sometimes confusing emotions that we can experience!
To fan the flames of romance on this day of love, please consider:
- Spark it up! The only way to keep the embers glowing is to consistently feed the fire! Find little ways to be romantic … every day you can fan the flames by the words you speak, the touch you provide and the eye contact that says, “YOU are the one for me … still!”
- Celebrate the differences! Men and women are, indeed, different. Therefore, romance may look different for each of you. The only way to hit the bull’s-eye of romance is to ask, “How can I love you the way YOU want to be loved?” Then … do it!
- Invest! The more deposits we make, the “fatter” the bank account! So … make frequent deposits to your love account. What small tasks, actions, words or sentiments can you offer that will increase YOUR love account?
- Forget the calculator! For a marriage or relationship to thrive, it takes bad math! When you give 100 percent and your mate gives 100 percent and both of you give these amounts 100 percent of the time, marriage will blossom and bloom abundantly! It’s not a 50/50 deal; it’s 100/100!
- Communicate! That’s a no-brainer, but … did you know that the most important variable in communicating is to LISTEN? That’s right. When you truly listen to your mate with your whole body, the deepening of understanding between the two of you will soar!
- Forgive! If there are grudges, harbored anger or resentments from past hurts, discuss it, clean it out and forgive. Relationships are a lot more fun when there are no dark shadows hanging over them!
- Throw away the scorecard! Acts of appreciation, kindness, love and adoration should be the intentional mission. But to keep track of wrongs, hurts and slights is a romance-buster! Talk through any hurts, of course … but then erase the deed off the ledger so that you can see one another without blemish.
- Provide your best to your mate! Remember, we win when we put the best of our time, attention, energy and selves into our treasure at home. Let your mate get the best of you; everything else can get the rest of you.
- Laugh! The best glue in the world, when it comes to solidly holding together a relationship, is laughter! When you and your mate are having fun, or having inside jokes, or experiencing life in all its ups and downs with a smile, you are truly cementing your love solidly together. Don’t forget to have belly laughs … often … together!
- Sizzle! Grow the intimacy that exists between two people who love one another, who see one another through the eyes of their youth, who have been through the thick and the thin of life’s offerings and who still prefer no other companion along life’s journey … and you will, indeed, experience the sizzle of excitement! Choose it and be intentional in growing it!
Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember, great relationships are not because of luck or chance … they are by design (God’s design) and by our invested, persistent, consistent work! Have a great day of romance … and a forever romance, too!