By Anabelle Lily
There are two types of love. Passing love is what you feel in the moment; say, after you have a tender, heart-felt conversation with your guy. But lasting love is different. In lasting love, you care wholly for his well-being, you share his feelings of joy and sadness, and you desire to protect him. This kind love is manifested in the parts of our brain that are connected to caring and empathy. So, to cultivate lasting love, you have to rouse these emotions.
Building lasting love takes work. If you are trying to foster love in your relationship, these steps will get you started:
#1) Establish Trust
A sense of trust is essential to having loving feelings for one another. When your man receives signals of trust from you, his bond to you actually increases, according to a study done by Paul Zak, PhD, and his colleagues at Claremont Graduate University. This study showed that people are so highly social that we pick up social signals of trust and act on them even when we are not consciously aware of the signals.
Building and sustaining trust with your man may be challenging, so it is something that you need to work on constantly. No single, grand act can prove your trustworthiness, so you have to prove it over time. Continually be reliable and dependable. Keep your promises. Be his rock. Be 100% honest with him about who you are. Then, he’ll believe he can trust you.
#2) Express Gratitude
“Research on gratitude shows that expressing gratitude in words or actions actually creates positive emotions in the giver as well as the receiver,” says clinical and health psychologist Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. “When we deliberately focus our attention on loving feelings and actions towards our loved one, we begin a positive spiral of mutual appreciation, happiness, and reciprocity,”
Basically this means that when you show your man that you are grateful for him and the things he does, you are showing him that you love him, which, in turn, leads you both to greater happiness and appreciation of each other. And expressing thankfulness for him also makes you feel more love, too.
So how do you show that you are grateful? Of course you should be saying “thank you” every time he washes your car or takes your trash out. But you can also go beyond that with special gestures. Write little “Thank you for bringing me ice cream yesterday” notes and slip them into unexpected places like his jacket pocket or under his coffee cup. Scrawl a thank you on the bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker.
#3) Be Unselfish
“When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love”
– Lana Del Ray
When you are working to meet his needs and he is working to meet yours, you will feel like you are one, and it will strengthen your relationship and prove to him that you love him.
There are many ways to be selfless. Most of them are easy. Be a good listener–when he is talking to you, put your phone down to actively listen and understand. When it’s time to take the dog for his nightly sniff-and-stroll but you are both busy working, close your laptop and grab the leash so he can finish what he is doing before you get back. Also, be selfless in bigger ways. Encourage his dreams, help him advance his career, and help him achieve his goals. You might have to make sacrifices to help him along the way, but they will prove your love to him and make you feel like a team.
I should point out that being selfless does not mean you have to be a martyr. It just means you should find ways to compromise and always look out for each others’ best interests. In order for selflessness to work, it needs to be reciprocal; otherwise one person in the relationship just ends up being resentful of the other. Learn to compromise and he will see it as an act of love.
Love Each Other
Having lasting love does not come without work, but if you start by showing him your love and commitment first, it will only be a matter of time before you feel the love reciprocated.