How to stay madly in love

October 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tips for staying madly in love with your spouse even in tough times from clinical psychologist Dr. Mark Steinberg.

Tips for staying madly in love with your spouse:

Here is an outline of the hot key tips for staying madly in love with your spouse:

Practice compassion - this enables you to love more deeply

  • Empathize regularly. When you connect, identify with, and accept someone's vulnerabilities, you empower love.
  • Emote and share positively. Your spouse longs for the real you, especially what's meaningful to your heart.
  • Forgive yourself, as well as others, particularly your spouse.

Make it your aim to please your spouse

  • Express your intention to please. This desire strengthens you and softens your partner.
  • Ask what specific actions will please and satisfy.
  • Reinforce yourself for your efforts to please. This forms the habit of getting as you give.

Communicate regularly without withholding

  • 48-hour rule - don't withhold something you know you should confide or discuss for longer than 48 hours. (You don't want a constipated conscience.)
  • Ask permission to express your heart without it having to make sense. Get a commitment from your partner to just listen.
  • Practice "I" messages - express yourself in the first person, rather than criticizing your spouse's behavior.
  • Relate your experience of your spouse's actions and question the intent (e.g., "I feel hurt by your last comment. Was it your intent to hurt me?").
  • Look for and ask for alternative explanations for your spouse's motivations (e.g., "When you watch TV instead of talking to me, I feel that I am not as important as your TV. I'm trying to understand from your point of view, so that I don't misinterpret.").

Respect means admiration and deference

  • Direct your thoughts to your spouse's positive qualities. Dwell on these and praise your spouse regularly for these specific qualities. You married this person for good reasons.
  • Let your spouse get his/her way whenever possible, especially in matters of temperament, style, and legitimate needs. This is the practice of loving your neighbor as much as yourself, treating others as you want to be treated, and putting others first. The more you esteem your spouse, the more passionately you will love.
  • Respect raises your partner's worthiness - this, in turn, heightens desire.

Accountability shows integrity

  • Keep your word.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes without adding excuses.
  • Remake broken agreements.
  • Separate the person from the deed.
  • Hold your spouse accountable for his/her actions according to the rules and character you both want to live by.

Affection develops and fuels passion

  • Try a little tenderness (actually, try a lot of tenderness).
  • Negotiate with your spouse how much and in what ways he/she likes to be touched.
  • Express affection regularly by being considerate, using kind and soothing words, doing small favors, and showing your sensitive side.

Share humor and playfulness with your best friend

  • Laughter and playfulness quench anger and resentment
  • Sharing in life's absurdities strengthens your bond with and enjoyment of each other.
  • Being playful keeps you young (not immature).
  • Humor and playfulness make you more relaxed and attractive.

For more information, visit www.marksteinberg.com.