By Dr. Alex Avila
On Love University, we had the pleasure of talking to our good friend, Dr. Paulette Sherman, Love Psychologist Extraordinaire. In these times of uncertainty and turmoil, we all need more loving relationships as a buffer against uncertain, fear, and doubt. Dr. Paulette has written 22 books on love and relationships, and had these words of wisdom on how to have great love and passion in our relationships:
*Marry Yourself First: When choosing a mate, make sure you are certain about your must-haves (and deal-breakers) before you let yourself fall for the chemical attraction to a person. If they don’t have what you need, it may be time to look elsewhere. What is your must list? Does your ideal partner need to be gentle, kind, and caring, or do you prefer someone who is smart, powerful, and committed? Nobody has every single personality quality, and your partner doesn’t need to be perfect, but you want someone who can match you in your deepest values, preferences, and lifestyle choices (i.e. your LoveType—your compatible personality style).
*Be Authentic: Some dating programs suggest that you play hard to get and hide your true feelings about the person—some research indicates that doing so may make you more attractive to others. However, this approach also creates a mask of insincerity that later comes off, potentially leading to hurt feelings and thoughts of being manipulated. On the other hand, being too vulnerable and open in the beginning can be a turn-off because you may come across as too needy. The best approach is to choose a middle ground—be authentic and honest about your interests and feelings, yet wait until you have an established relationship until you completely open yourself up emotionally.
*Pay Attention to What Your Partner Likes: You don’t have to like everything your partner enjoys; they may love football, while you love opera. But, it’s important to acknowledge their interest and passions even though you don’t share them. Although you know very little (and don’t care much) for the topic, you may ask “How was the opera (ball game)?” No, you are not being insincere or feigning interest in what they like. Instead, you are paying attention to your partner’s feelings about what they like—and giving them validation for being your unique partner who has their own interests, which makes them a more well-rounded and interesting person.
*Make Your Date Night Sacred: According to Dr. Paulette, research shows that couples who have a weekly date night have two to three times better sex and tend to divorce three times less often. Whether you are married, living together, or have been partnered for a long time, it’s important that you renew your love and connection by spending special time together. As of this writing, people are staying home because of the Coronavirus, but you can still have your special time. One reenergizing activity you can do at home is the sacred bath. While in the bathtub together for 20-30 minutes, you and your partner can relax as you lie in detoxifying bath salt and enjoy beautiful scents. You can center your minds around a positive intention of togetherness as you bring higher energy to your relationship: combining romance, intimacy, relaxation and spirituality into your time together.
What a wonderful relief and comfort it is to have a great love relationship in times of strife and trouble, as well as in good times to celebrate milestones and mutual accomplishments. The secrets of lasting love are as simple as loving yourself, putting yourself in the shoes of your partner (empathy), and extending loving energy without expectation to your mate.
And, of course, working on your relationship is very important. Think about it: You may work out several hours a week on your body, 40 hours or more on your job, but how many hours do you actually work on your relationship: talking, doing fun things together, expressing “I love you’s,” and engaging in sexual intimacy, romantic gestures and affection? The secret is that the more you invest in your love relationship, the more benefits you will receive. Your relationship can become like a never-ending gold mind that keeps bringing you treasure daily: love, happiness, and fulfillment.