Eyes drawn back to each other, again and again. Energy colliding. Pheromones fraternising.
Chemistry. You two? You’ve got it.
Curiosity pulls you closer. Half-shaped grins and glances under lashes. Conversation expands, ideas entwine, values merge. Soon, oh-hush-your-honeyed-heart, you launch, right into the luscious beginnings of ‘relationship.’
And then, in confusing, heart-clenching swirls of magnetism, desire tumbles into something richer and further and Soul-sweet deep;
What is grander, more hopeful, more enlivening than Love…? If we have LOVE, we have it all, right..?
Well, as you and I both know, it ain’t always that simple. Because, even in the face of LOVE, more partnerships and marriages than ever, nose-dive into divorce, bitterness and dysfunction; no matter how much two people once loved each other.
Psychologists Julie and John Gottman studied hundreds of couples to identify what helped two initially loved-up Souls last the distance. The Gottman’s identified qualities that predicted, with up to 94% accuracy, which couples remained (happily) together, and those that ended-up splitting (or falling into a pit of miserableness).
The Gottman’s found that the qualities that see relationships grow into an entity with deep roots and regular blooms has, apparently, almost nothing to do with Love.
When it comes to relationships, beyond the lust and desire and mundane middle, LOVE is not the lead player, but rather the support act.
Guess what topped the list of factors that helped couples walk forward together as a team..?
I knoow. Sooo un-chic. Soo pious. So yawn-sigh-boring, right…? Still, the research is pretty firm about this; *Kindness brings the goods. *I should mention right about now, that in some instances, no amount of kindness is going to bring the love back. Particularly and especially in relationships that have become toxic (so insert -abuse, addictions and just all-round cruddy behaviour- here).
But back to KINDNESS. What does Kindness look like..? And how can we inject more ‘Kind’ into our relationships…?
The affirming news is, similar to basic physiological fitness, Kindness is a quality we can grow over time (kinda like spanky bicep muscles) …
1) Select what you notice.
Always and always look for the ways your partner is trying their best.
2) Be open to intention.
Even if their delivery is clumsy or not ‘as you’d have it,’ acknowledge and affirm your partner’s earnest intentions.
3) Quit criticising.
Criticism is such a draaag. You hate being criticised, I hate being criticised. So why would we dish the dirty out on our significant other..?
4) Breathe before the unleash.
One small irritation in a passing moment rapidly dissolves when we commit to a long inhale-exhale (or three)…
5) Answer the call.
Notice and respond to your partner’s attempts to connect with you; “Did you see that old Mustang that just passed us? I want-me-one-of-them one day.” “I like how you added chilli to this.” “Umm… did yer-notice-my-new hair..?” The smallest tenders for engagement funds longevity of connection…
Kindness is a crucial ingredient in LIKING beyond LOVE.
But – there’s another essential to long-lasting, luscious relationships – and it’s an ingredient that needs to be present from the very outset, before you even decide to hook-up with a significant other. More on that, next week..