Facts for Living: Love for a lifetime

By Rebecca McFarland
Frontier Extension District Agent

What are you doing to keep your love strong for a lifetime? Because of busy lifestyles, many couples may not think about practicing or expressing love on a daily basis. 080714-facts-for-living1You may say “I love you” to your spouse frequently, but have you stopped to think about what those three words mean? Love can be a noun, as in an object of devotion, attachment and admiration. It can also be a verb – actions associated with passion, desire and devotion. There are times when love is romantic and full of pleasure, and other times it is merely unselfish loyalty and shared interests.

So what can a couple do to ensure that their marriage has every opportunity to succeed?

  • Take care of yourself. Partners shouldn’t have to sacrifice all of their personal desires and needs for each other. However, they should always consider how meeting their own needs will impact their spouse. Work to feel good about yourself (physically and emotionally), so you can be caring and nurturing to your spouse. Remember that your partner is never responsible for your happiness, self-worth or well-being.
  • Make time for your spouse to keep your marriage top priority. Work, children and other commitments take time and can become overly demanding. Be sure to balance them, not allowing any one of them to dominate and crowd out your relationship with your spouse.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Intimacy cannot be achieved until both partners are willing to be open and honest. Let your spouse know what you need. Remember, you can’t read each other’s minds. Unspoken expectations are likely to go unmet and can lead to resentment.
  • Do not avoid discussing differences. Small irritants can build up over time and when they do come to the surface, come out as one gigantic eruption. Try to create an atmosphere in your relationship in which each partner feels free to be open and disagreements can be voiced and worked through without fear of being attacked, punished or lectured.
  • Be willing to forgive. Holding on to angry feelings doesn’t make you feel very loving.
  • Play, laugh and have fun. Marriages that are structured and rigid become boring and dull. Be spontaneous. Vary your routines a little. Show affection openly and often. Send text messages, leave love notes. Learn a new hobby together, take a trip. It’s true – actions speak louder than words, but we still like to hear the words, too.

Couples who regularly take time to nurture their relationship are making an investment in securing the future of their marriage. When understanding, caring, nurturing and consideration are evident in your marriage, it becomes easier for couples to be sources of support for each other, even when times get tough. What are you doing to keep your love strong for a lifetime?


McFarland_RebeccaRebecca McFarland is the Frontier Extension District family and child development agent. For more information, she can be contacted at Frontier Extension’s Ottawa office, 1418 S. Main, Suite 2, Ottawa, KS 66067, or call 785-229-3520, or email [email protected].

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