Love is arguably the primary focus of our thoughts, especially when we feel it is lacking in our lives.
Most people get into a relationship to meet one of their primary needs -- love. Couples who stay together often do so out of habit and comfort, long after the rush of the state known as 'being in love' has worn off.
Some people decide when that rush is over, the relationship is too.
As women, we often decide to have children because we can then be assured of a constant source of love in our lives -- it's like we expect romantic love will die but our children's love will remain. But children grow up, they change, they leave us.
In a world that is focused on the quick fix, the instant hit, the 'I want it and I want it now' expectations that today's fast pace of living increasingly encourages us to adopt, we find that real lasting love is ever more elusive and is a fairytale that is reserved for the special few.
But it need not be so.
What is needed to create a lasting love affair, is a reorganisation of beliefs and expectations.
If you are in a relationship only to get, then you are destined to be disappointed.
Similarly, if you are in a relationship and find yourself the one who gives and gives and gives but very seldom gets, then you are equally unsatisfied.
It would appear that neither of these two options is very appealing and yet many people find themselves in exactly this situation.
What is the solution?
How do you make the most of your relationship, or if you are not currently in one, how do you hope to create a relationship that will last and be fulfilling at the same time?
There are some key considerations to be aware of to make any relationship viable - here are my top three.
What are your most important values in your life? Our values are with us for our whole lives and are hard if not impossible to change. They are the deal breakers in a relationship and in order to be happiest you need to find someone who has similar values. This sounds obvious and yet it is a step that many people fail to fully comprehend. If you fail to understand what is non-negotiable in your life, how can you hope to understand what will satisfy you emotionally? You deserve to know this.
Compare your most important values to those of your partner, or potential partner. The biggest cause of trouble in relationships is a values conflict between partners.
If you can agree on your top five values and, if not the same, at least respect the importance to each of you, then you are very much farther along the road to relationship happiness than at least half of the world's population of couples!
2. Be a Detective
I don't mean you should sneak around, hiding behind doors and in alleyways following your lover to discover some suspected infidelity.
What I mean by being a detective is to make it a primary focus in your relationship to find out what 'floats your lover's boat' -- what makes him or her the happiest, what fills them up. And then give it to them in spades.
Many people won't take this step, they are waiting for the other person to give to them first. But by the law of reciprocity, when someone does something nice for us we are more than happy to give back to that person.
Now some people will get their cynical pants in a twist over this statement and say that it is conniving. But it really isn't. You see, one of the secrets of happiness in this world is to give something to someone who values the gift. Especially when that person is unable to give the gift to themselves. The giver always benefits and the receiver of the gift is doing the giver good by graciously accepting the gift.
The gift could be tangible, practical or it could be a compliment. It doesn't have to cost money.
A decision is made in every relationship. A decision to give love freely or to measure the love given against the love received. When you only give love to get love, then you are destined to be dissatisfied and unhappy. There will always be an unequal accounting of love given and received at any point in a relationship. It is only natural that sometimes one of you will be emotionally up and the other will be down. So put the calculator away immediately and give love because it is who you are, and not because you think you can profit by it.
"Love that is withheld is love that you don't get to feel, so if you want more love in your life, then start today by giving more love."