If you have just ten minutes and you want to create some relationship bliss –make a love template on your spouse. What is a love template? It’s a blue print describing the specific actions that makes your partner feel happy and adored by you. The next time you and your beloved are out to dinner, sharing a glass of wine or lying in bed together ask these questions:
What makes you feel really loved?
What can I do more of that would make you feel appreciated?
What can I do more of that would make you feel celebrated?
Sometimes I talk to people who say: “My husband asks to hear how sexy he is–but I’m just not that kind of expressive person” or “My wife likes it when I rub her feet at night but I never seem to remember to give her a foot massage.” Here is the biggest secret to relationship bliss: love your mate by their definition of what it feels like to be loved. Too many people get locked into ‘how they love’ but don’t check in with their partners to see if it’s working i.e. your spouse feels loved.
Check out this study on lasting relationships http://www.businessinsider.com/lasting-relationships-rely-on-2-traits-2014-11 The study attempted to determine who would get a divorce. The conclusion was that partners who were not responsive to their mates had higher divorce rates. However, the people who were married happily after many years had a habit of listening and being generous to their mates. A love template is a simple tool to make an increasingly strong loving bond with your mate.
I use love templates in all my important relationships. My son loves camping. I love luxury hotels. Although sleeping on the ground sounds like a form of torture, once a year I schlep into the wilderness because of the joy it gives my son. Doing something he loves bonds us and I’ve gotten to rather like camping –the long hikes, the nature. And my son’s exuberance definitely makes it all worth it.
My husband feels loved when I make him vegetarian protein for dinner. Tofu seems like another form of torture, my body struggles to digest soy. But every night I make him some form of vegetarian protein while I cook myself some meat. The extra effort makes him feel loved. I know this because I asked him. There are several other fairly simple things I do on a daily basis that keep him feeling important, special and appreciated.
A word of warning. Don’t cross your own value system. If your spouse asks you to get a boob job and dye your hair blonde but you love your brunette locks and b-cups—don’t do it. But generally love templates seem to be more about small daily rituals. I have a friend whose husband brings her an orange diet soda in the shower every morning. If someone did that to me I’d think they wanted me to get cancer—but it’s what makes her feel cared for. Her husband’s a smart man who figured out a simple way to express how much he adores his wife—in language that she understands.
Hopefully you’re already hitting the bull’s-eye every day by doing numerous little actions that make your partner feel special. But if you honestly don’t know if what you are doing is working, ask your spouse directly. Their answers will comprise their unique love template and don’t make assumptions because everyone’s template is different. One more note– after they give you this all-important formula— do at least some of the actions on their template. It will profoundly change your relationships for the better.