The Beatles sang “love is all you need.” For a happy long-term relationship, you are going to need more than that, but love has to be the foundation.
So what is love? Ask 10 different people and get 10 slightly different answers. To me, a good way to get around these different descriptions is to look at love in action—my definition of cherish.
First, let’s talk about what cherish does not mean. It doesn’t mean you can’t get upset. It doesn’t mean you can’t take time for yourself. It doesn’t mean you ignore other people. It doesn’t mean you have to put the other person’s wants ahead of your own needs.
Cherishing each other does mean:
You forgive and are forgiven. It’s OK to get mad. When you calm down, talk about what upset you. Discuss why it happened. Look for ways to keep it from happening again. When the matter is settled, it’s forgiven. Forgiven means you don’t bring it up again. It’s truly settled and there are no longer any negative feelings associated with it.
You recharge yourselves. You can’t be with someone 24/7 without some personal challenges. You need some time away from each other. You need to unwind some parts and rewind some other parts. You are not abandoning anyone; you are taking a little time out just for yourself. That’s not only healthy, but it’s supported and encouraged.
You connect with friends. Do things with friends as a couple and do things with friends separately. It doesn’t matter what you do. Have a spa day, go golfing or fishing. See a movie or a play. Time apart can help you realize how much the other person means to you.
You care for yourself. Your partner loves you for who you are. Part of who you are is what you do for fun, even if the other person doesn’t care for that. The key is understanding you don’t have to participate in everything your partner does. You need to keep doing these things to keep your mental health in balance. Continuing to grow as an individual brings new experiences to the relationship and helps keep it alive.
You do need to meet your partner’s needs, but you have to meet your own as well. If you are falling apart, you can’t take care of anyone else.
Cherish means accepting the other person. As I said in this earlier blog, “One of the first thoughts you have each day is, ‘How will I make my partner feel loved today?’ You constantly evaluate your performance in the marriage from your partner’s viewpoint. If your partner feels cherished they will be a responsive, loving mate.”
And your partner will cherish you too.
For further questions about this blog post or anything else, please feel free to contact me today. I am here for you and I am happy to help in any way I can.