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Whether you consider yourself to be a “rule breaker” or not, sometimes you’ve just got to break relationship rules.

The fact is that we all live by a set of rules. We may not call them that or even be aware of what these rules are most of the time. In fact, we live by most of our rules completely unconscious of them.

So what rules are we talking about and why “Should” we break them?

We’re talking about the “rules” that you, us and everyone else lives make up in every moment of our lives.

These rules that we’re talking about could include ideas and beliefs that your parents either preached about or showed you by example and you adopted even though you may not have realized it.

Also, these rules are the beliefs that society subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) says you should or shouldn’t do.

These rules that you live by (often unconsciously) act as the rudder or guide for what you will or won’t do in your life.

In fact, most of the rules we live by in our relationships and marriages actually keep us from having all the love and passion that is possible for us instead of giving us more.

You know the ones we’re talking about…

You have them in your own life if you think about them.

Ideas like…

“Marriage is hard so just make the best of it”

“It’s your duty as a woman so lie down and get through it the best way you can”

Or “Passion dies after a few years of being together so don’t expect it to last very long.”

Wow–even though you may not have those specific beliefs, we’re guessing that you have some beliefs and rules that hold you back from experiencing your best life and relationships possible.

Here are 4 relationship rules we love to break so we can keep passion alive in our relationship (and we urge you to break them often too!)….

# 1 Rule to Break: Not allowing yourself to be vulnerable and totally honest about who you are

This is one of the biggest unspoken relationship rules we’ve seen demonstrated and passed down generation to generation.

It’s the one that says, “If you’ve been hurt before, don’t open yourself to anyone else. Keep a part of yourself private and don’t allow yourself to ever be vulnerable like that again.”

While we know that it’s not easy to open to another after you’ve been in pain, if you’re holding back a part of yourself, you’re also holding back love.

And that withholding of love can only increase the feeling of distance and separation between the two of you.

This withholding shows up in our communication with one another.

#2 Rule to Break: Romance, passion and intimacy should happen spontaneously.

The fear behind this rule is that planning for passion leads to boredom in a relationship.

There’s the belief that for passion to be exciting, you have to always be spontaneous–that if you take out the mystery and surprise, you’ll both get bored.

While this may be true for some people, we’ve found that the opposite is true for most of us.

The truth is that when you make passion a regular part of your life, the juice between the two of you just increases.

The author Malcolm Gladwell said that you can become an expert on anything by doing it for 10,000 hours.

Now we’re not saying that you have to spend 10,000 hours in the throes of passion to get good at it but we are saying that it can increase instead of decrease if you make passion more a part of your life.

And you do that by planning it–because if you don’t, you know as well as we do that life will get in the way and it won’t happen.

And you do it by having a passion mindset and looking for it in the most unlikely ways.

So break this rule and deepen your connection and passion with each other.

#3 Rule to Break: No touching or shows of intimacy in public

How many couples do you see holding hands when they walk or sitting in a restaurant?

Not many, right?

For some reason, it seems to go against the grain to show even innocent signs of affection in public–even though it’s one of the things that can help keep your passion and connection going.

Even though relationship advice articles encourage what we’ll call light-weight public displays of affection–(holding hands, sitting close, putting your arm around your partner)–for people in relationships of many years…

They just don’t do it.

Whether they don’t think they have to “try” that hard, they think “we’re not teenagers anymore” or there are too many old grievances between the two of them to allow themselves to show this kind of love and affection…

They don’t do it.

We suggest you take the plunge and go out on a limb. Break this rule and reach for your partner’s hand the next time you’re out. See what happens.

#4 Rule to Break: You don’t have to treat your partner with respect after being together for a few years

If there’s one thing we see as we observe other couples, it’s that as time goes on, there’s a tendency to forget about respecting each other and they take each other for granted.

This lack of respect can come in the form of not acknowledging one another when one person returns home after being away.

It can come in the form of allowing the interruption of a telephone call, email or Facebook to take precedence over listening to your partner when he or she talks to you.

Or it can come in the form of using unkind words to your partner when kind words would work just as well.

If you want passion to grow, you have to start respecting each other.

Take a moment now and look at your interactions with your partner to see where you might be more loving and respectful of him or her.

Do you have relationship deal breakers?

A deal breaker is a factor to consider when deciding whether to follow through with something or not. It’s that little something that makes you say “I’m done!” even when you really love someone or you’ve been together forever.

It may sound harsh — after all, no relationship is perfect, right? — but having a list of relationship deal breakers is actually a healthy way to protect yourself from toxic situations.

Don’t get caught up in controlling, hurtful, and potentially dangerous relationships. Here are 12 relationship deal breakers that you should seriously consider when deciding whether your sweetheart is actually worth your time.

1. There Is Abuse in the Relationship

A healthy relationship is about respect, putting your spouse first, and treating them how you want to be treated.

On the other hand, a partner who lays a hand on you or emotionally abuses you is a major relationship deal-breaker.

Many people convince themselves that just because it happens once doesn’t mean it will happen again. Remember, you deserve a healthy relationship, and someone who abuses you Physically or emotionally even once isn’t worth your time.

2. You’re a Secret

If you find out that your spouse hasn’t told their friends or family about you, run for your life! Because being a secret means one of three things.

  1. They are already in a relationship and you are the side piece.
  2. They can’t commit.
  3. They are embarrassed by you.

Your time is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted being with someone who would rather keep you as their dirty little secret.

3. Plans Are Constantly Cancelled

Does your partner always seem to be ditching out on plans with you last minute?

Sure, there are legitimate reasons that your partner may be doing this, such as being called into work unexpectedly, but feeling like the person you’re crazy about is bailing on your company in favor of partying with their friends is definitely shady.

If you find that your long-term partner starts doing this, it may be signs of a deeper problem in the relationship that needs to be discussed.

4. Substance Abuse Problems

Sitting down with a drink is a great way to relax — and let’s be honest, having a buzz on is fun! But if your spouse needs some sort of substance to have a good time, or if their personality drastically changes when they are under the influence, it can really throw you for a loop.

Substance abuse is one of the biggest relationship deal breakers on this list. It can cause your partner to mistreat you, be untrustworthy, waste money, and make poor decisions that will hurt you.

Why would you want to be around someone who is high or drunk 24/7, anyway?

5. Your Partner Isn’t Faithful

When it comes to cheating, put your foot down immediately. Don’t forgive and wait for the next round of heartbreak. If you have both agreed to a monogamous relationship, both parties should be respecting that decision.

Even if you put breaking your trust and your heart aside, your partner’s cheating on you puts you at risk for depression, sexually transmitted infections, and major embarrassment.

If your partner doesn’t love and respect you enough to stay faithful, dump them. They aren’t worth your time.

6. They Fight Dirty

There are times when we’ve all said stupid things in the heat of an argument, but there’s a difference between getting caught up and using a disagreement as an excuse to be a complete jerk.

If during an argument, your partner or spouse:

  • Brings up past experiences with the intention of hurting your feelings
  • Calls you rude or degrading names
  • Gaslights you to make you feel crazy
  • Attacks you instead of the issue
  • Uses the silent treatment

Then you should consider walking away.

Healthy relationships are about open communication and fair conflict resolutions — not about seeing who can hurt the other more.

7. You Don’t Feel Good About the Relationship

Do you feel good about being around your partner, or do you get knots when you think about hanging out together?

Do you get anxiety when you think about your relationship?

Does your partner make you question your self-worth?

If so, something inside you is probably screaming: “This relationship isn’t right!” There is definitely something to be said for gut instinct when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay with someone.

If your gut is telling you something is off in your relationship, there probably is.

8. You Want Different Things

Sometimes, even if you really love each other, your relationship game just isn’t meant to work out.

He wants East Coast, you want West.

She wants to save money, you want to spend.

He wants kids, you’re fine riding as a duo.

Even if you get along well, these fundamental differences in your goals and where you see your lives going are going to cause serious resentment problems if you don’t address them soon.

9. They’re Unbelievably Selfish

We’re all selfish from time to time, but some people take it too far.

If you feel like you’re giving your all to your spouse, and all they’re doing is taking, focusing on themselves, and taking advantage of your kindness, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship.

Don’t spend a second longer with a selfish narcissist. Trust me, it isn’t worth the headache.

10. They’re Always Jealous

Healthy jealousy is totally cool when it inspires couples to treat each other better and not take one another for granted.

However, controlling, hack-your-Facebook-and-demand-your-phone-password jealousy should never be tolerated. This is a sign of insecurity and can quickly develop into dangerous or abusive behavior. It’s better to get out before it reaches that point.

11. You Don’t Share Values

You may think that opposites attract — and that’s true! — but that doesn’t always mean they make the best partners.

If you are passionate about your politics or your faith and your spouse has opposing beliefs that upset or anger you, it could mean that your relationship wasn’t meant to be.

If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone with opposing values, be aware that it will take a great deal of time to work through how you talk about and handle those things. If you simply don’t have the patience or desire to do so, it’s time to walk away.

12. You’re Always Fighting

Do you feel like you and your spouse are always arguing?

Sure, even happy couples argue, but constantly arguing with a partner is one of our relationship deal breakers because it shows that you have poor communication skills.

Communication is everything when it comes to a healthy, happy relationship. Couples need to be able to talk to each other in order to build empathy, resolve problems, and get closer. This means addressing problems as they arise, not letting them sit and turn into huge fights down the line.

The Bottom Line

Life is far too short to spend it with someone who isn’t worth your time. If your spouse is controlling, annoying, or won’t seem to give you the time of day, it’s time to call it quits! This is obviously a difficult decision to make, but your future self will thank you when they’ve found someone who is better for them.

To really know that the love in your relationship is genuine or not, here are some of the signs to look out for.

Is the love in your relationship real, or fake?

If it is, all you should do is keep growing the love, keep staying truthful to each other, keep drinking a lot of water, and just keep treating each other in all the good ways that will allow the relationship thrive further.

On the flipside, fake love is not something anyone would want to live with. Sadly, it is exactly what some people have in their relationships. If the relationship is based on anything different from a genuine willingness to see the other person flourish in every sense of the word, if it is based on something fleeting and temporary, then it is likely fake.

To really know that the love in your relationship is fake, here are some things you may want to watch out for:

1. They’re emotionally distant

In a relationship, fakers have a tendency to be non-communicative. They’ll provide little to no substance to what’s going on in their life. They’ll also make excuses why they “couldn’t” communicate especially when it is a little difficult to do so.

The difference between them and someone with genuine love for you is the extra effort needed to reach out when it’s not so easy.

If you are happy in a relationship, you need to look for a way to keep at it. If they make you happy, don't let it go. [Credit Freepik]If you are happy in a relationship, you need to look for a way to keep at it. If they make you happy, don’t let it go. [Credit Freepik]

Freepik

2. Always willing to throw in the towel

Conflict happens in every relationship. It demonstrates a level of care which partner have for one another.

That said, every conflict demands a resolution.If you’re the only one trying to resolve any conflict or problems that arise, it’s often a telltale sign of emotional detachment and this of course, is a major sign you’ll find in people who have got only fake love for you.

They really won’t care whether the relationship works or fails.

3. They don’t meet you halfway

Are you always the one to plan things? Check on the other person? Take responsibilities and all that? If so, what concessions, if any, is your partner making? Where’s the effort on their part?

Relationship and compromise are like two peas in a pod. A lack of effort is a universal sign of disinterest – and a relationship is no different.

A lack of effort from a partner is a universal sign of disinterest and you should not ignore it if you see the sign in a relationship [Credit - Shutterstock]A lack of effort from a partner is a universal sign of disinterest and you should not ignore it if you see the sign in a relationship [Credit – Shutterstock]

4. Unconcern

An authentic relationship sparks feelings of passion for each other. You’ll be curious, concerned, involved, etc in all that the other person does.

Someone who continuously acts indifferent isn’t engaged, likely detached, and unfit – not to mention unworthy – of a real relationship.

5. That gut feeling

Many times, when someone does not really love you, you will know. There’s usually that sixth sense, that gut feeling in the pit of your stomach that keeps pricking you.

Add this to all the signs that you will see, and the picture is clear that this babe or that guy doesn’t really love you. They’re only with you because they have no option, or for the money or some other fake reason.

Be honest with yourself. Are you wasting your time? Money? Energy?

One of the greatest feelings a woman can ever have is a man’s true love. Though your boyfriend may take time telling you he is in love with you, chances are he already has through his actions. That’s what happened to me. I knew my husband was in love with me by the way he paid close attention to all my needs. He genuinely cared to hear about my good days and my bad days. Moreover, I didn’t have to ask him to do something for me. He just knew. He loved spending time with my family and me. And he said “I love you” first.

For the most part, women are quicker at expressing their emotions to their partners; meanwhile, men take a longer time. You may assume that your boyfriend is not in love with you because he has not verbally expressed his feelings or revealed the three words all women love to hear. But take a close look at his gestures, his mannerisms and how he looks at you. The love he has for you is in the tiniest details.

Here are six ways you can tell the man you love is in love with you, too.

  • Shows interest

When your boyfriend starts to ask you in-depth questions about your likes, dislikes and future goals, he is in to you. He wants to learn everything about you. He sincerely cares.

  • Delicate touches

He grabs your hand gently during a walk in the park or at a family gathering. He caresses your hair softly. He hugs you for no reason at all. He affectionately touches your face as he stares at you. Sometimes just sitting at home watching a movie and cuddling on the couch speaks volumes.

  • Spending time together

When you find your boyfriend spending less time with his friends and more time with you, he is in love. He is not giving up on his friends; he simply chooses to spend as much time with you as possible. His priorities begin to shift.

  • Does anything for you

He doesn’t care what it takes, but he will make anything possible for you. He may not necessarily be interested in the things you are interested in, but he makes the effort to take part. He doesn’t mock what brings you joy. Perhaps you love a particular musician, and he doesn’t. But he surprises you with two concert tickets – one for you and one for him.

  • Meeting his family and friends

As old-fashioned as this may sound, when a boyfriend introduces the woman in his life to his family and friends, he is serious. He has hopes to take the relationship to another level. His feelings are deeper than you know.

  • Talks about marriage and children

If your boyfriend inquires about your feelings on marriage and children and expresses his thoughts on the matter, chances are he’s been thinking about a future with you. And if you both share the same feelings about marriage and creating a beautiful family together, love exists.

  • Says those three special words first

He tells you “I love you” before you do. It doesn’t matter when or where he says it. All that matters is that he wants to say it first.

Again, it’s easier for a woman to share her innermost thoughts compare to most men. Many men have a hard time verbalizing their feelings even though they do love you. However, through their positive actions and attentive ways, you will know he is in love. Give him time and you’ll hear “I love you.”

Who we marry is one of the most important decisions in life. One that will influence the level of happiness, growth, and success, like no other choice. However, the concept of marriage has taken a new turn in the last couple of years, as we’ve witnessed not only high rate of divorce and separation, but partners devising violent methods to end their marriage. Modupe Ehirim is changing that narrative through her Right Fit Marriage Academy, where she works with men and women to become persons that their spouses look forward to coming home too.

Using The Right Fit Marriage Program, Modupe Ehirim guides married people to intentionally design and build healthy and long-lasting marriages. She is a Certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) Facilitator. The SYMBIS Assessment gives you a personalized road map to making your marriage everything it was meant to be. She is also a Certified Family Systems Engineering Practitioner. The Network of FSE Practitioners comprises professionals who work to restore dignity to human relationships in marriage, parenting and family life.

Modupe has varied experiences. She graduated with First Class Honours in Chemical Engineering from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980. She then worked for with the Central Bank of Nigeria (Building and Engineering Services) for seventeen years before setting up a retail book business which she operated for thirteen years. She has served on the National Executive Committees of two business membership organisations Christian Booksellers Association Nigeria (CBAN) and NECA’ss Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW). She is currently a member of the board of OASIS International, Publishers of the Africa Study Bible.

She mentors young people, helping them to chart their lives’ paths.  She is  also the Counsellor on the popular weekly Relationship and Marriage Show, Make We Talk Am on WaZoBia 95.1 FM Radio. She is happily married to Boniface, her husband of over thirty-four years, and together four lovely children. In her words “ I grew up in a family where relationships were considered really important”.

Childhood Preparation

I grew up in a family where relationships were considered really important. I was privileged to see my parents courageously addressing difficult issues with one another and with other family members. My mum in particular used every opportunity to teach us interpersonal skills and help us use these skills in practical ways. When I told my parents, I wanted to marry someone from a different ethnic group, my mother went out to make several inquiries about this group and the culture and practices. She shared her findings with me and took time to help me to understand the long term implications of what I wanted to do. Her goal wasn’t to frighten me. Rather she wanted me to go into my marriage with a full understanding of what an inter ethnic marriage involved.

I remember her saying, “When you go to the village, and your inlaws are speaking their language,  don’t assume they’re gossiping about you. You don’t understand what they are saying.

Working in the banking sector for almost 2 decades and pitching my tent in the relationship management sector

I’m an engineer by training, so I can say I’ve had a lifelong interest in how things work, investigating causes and effects. I approached different phases of my life – marriage, parenting, career, friendships, faith – with curiosity as to what is required to succeed in each phase. At each point, I would do a lot of reading and research into these issues and come up with systems, structures and processes that I could use to build the fabric of relationships. In the society we live in, people tend to approach these things from an emotional or religious standpoint and while there is nothing wrong with that, I wanted to ensure I approached things from an intellectual standpoint as well. So even while I worked in the bank and across other sectors, I was simultaneously building capacity in managing relationships. But as I matured in age and had to optimize my time and energy, I decided to focus my effort on giving back and sharing all of the knowledge and experience I had gathered. And the relationship management sector was where I saw the most need and where I felt I could have the most impact.

Vital lessons from my 30 years plus marriage

Fundamentally, people are different. They have different origins, life experiences and exposure. Expectedly,  perspectives on important issues are different. Conflict simply means that we have different perspectives on issues that are of significant value to both of us. It is important to always stand in your partner’s shoes and look at issues through their eyes so you can also understand their intentions and not just their actions. As our people say, there are many roads to the market. So the aim is not to insist that your partner takes the route you know, the aim is to ensure that you help them get to the market regardless. And when there is conflict, the aim should not be proving you are right to win arguments, but communicating patiently to ensure that both parties goals are aligned.

Being a Certified SYMBIS Facilitator, and its impact on marriages and domestic relationships

SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) is one of the tools Family Life Practitioners use in their work. It is a diagnostic tool that helps new couples flag and lower their risk factors and  also helps them optimize their combined strengths as a couple. It does this by assessing everything from psychological wellbeing to revealing how their combined personalities can be leveraged for optimal success.  As a SYMBIS Facilitator,  I use the report generated from the assessment to guide couples through honest discussions in which they level their expectations of marriage and of themselves and come up with a personalised strategy for growing a healthy marital relationship. We also have  the SYMBIS+ for couples who are already married but who want to improve their relationship.

 

Inspiration behind MOE Advisory Limited

Some six years ago, I observed that many people came to social media to seek guidance in dealing with various marriage and relationship issues. I was alarmed at the nature of advice that was shared without consideration for the total  context of issues being treated. I thought that it wasn’t enough to complain and decided to set up a platform where such requests for guidance will be treated from a principle-based perspective. The online platform has now grown to over 11,000 members across 81 countries. Furthermore, I came to realise that a lot of the issues my members faced were not limited to conflict in marriage but rather a general lack of emotional intelligence in dealing with human relationships. So from then on I started providing advisory on relationship management beyond marriage, extending into the corporate space. I was privileged to work at the Central Bank of Nigeria for two decades so I have a wide range of corporate experience managing and being managed by people. I also channelled this experience to help my members navigate relationships with teammates, subordinates and superiors at work. My vision is to help build an emotionally intelligent workforce.

 

Challenges “New school” folks face when engaging with the older generation in the workplace and how can they manage it properly

Times have changed. Most people my age grew up, socialized, married and worked in the same communities with people who shared similar life experiences to them. With the new school, their reality is a lot more different. Their social experience is a lot more diverse and also a lot more digital. And because of that both parties often approach the same issues with very different perspectives informed. This often leads to conflict. To manage this properly, the new school workforce has to understand the social paradigms of the older generation and the limitations this imposes on them. They need to understand that, most of the time, the root cause of the perceived differences is more ignorance than spite. And then, they have to be proactive and consider ways they can bridge the gap from a position of empathy, to educate and interact with the older generation in an emotionally intelligent manner.

 

Being a relationship counsellor and social Entrepreneur

Getting people to understand that the other person isn’t always the problem. A lot of people are quick to see the problem in their colleagues actions but not self aware enough to see how they could react and communicate better in certain situations. I think this stems from our inability to be vulnerable, to look in the mirror and admit our shortcomings. Then beyond that, there’s the perception of shame that comes with seeking out help. So most people tend to take the easy way out, to pretend there is no issue while keeping up appearances. As a relationship counsellor, it becomes a challenge to solve problems that people aren’t willing to admit they have.

And as a social entrepreneur, the major challenge is the poor infrastructure. I offer personalised sessions to working class clients and so a lot of these sessions have to be held remotely via social media which may not be the most reliable due to electricity and internet shortcomings. Also, there’s the cultural problem where people don’t perceive advisory as something they should pay for because they are used to getting free counselling from church or family members. And even when people are willing to pay, there’s a limit to how a lot of clients can pay due to their low financial capacity.

On young people being informed on the purpose of building strong interpersonal relationships

No, I don’t think they are. In private and public spaces, personal conversations and mass media, we tend to speak more about the pains of unhealthy relationships. And while these pains are real and present dangers, there is little spoken about the real and present solutions to these problems. So young people begin to think that interpersonal relationships are problematic by default and synonymous with pain. I think these conversations should extend beyond the pains of relationships and instead explore the foundations of healthy relationships such as empathy, good communication, understanding boundaries and conflict resolution.

To the person experiencing Domestic Violence in Marriage

Firstly, I will reassure them that it is never their fault, then I will encourage them to get help. Personally, I believe not everyone is equipped with the resources to ascertain the risks and provide support to domestic violence victims. However, there are agencies such as the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, Project Alert, Media Concern for Women and Children Initiative (MEDIACON) and others who know how best to help trauma victims in whatever way they need it most. These organizations and others like them collaborate and work together. Once you reach one of them, they are able to connect you with their colleagues in your location. These are the sort of people I would direct a person who is experiencing Domestic Violence to get help from.

On the role the church should play in Marriage

This is an interesting question that comes up again and again. First marriage is not a Christian institution.  It is a human institution. What this means is that there are marriages that do not take the Christian standards and perspectives as their guide. That said, the church has an important role to play. Encouraging and supporting church members to maintain genuinely healthy marital relationships that are models in the community is the primary role the church can play. This requires willingness to address dysfunction issues like adultery and abuse. If the church does this, such relationships will provide templates for community members to build their own marriages with.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I’m a Woman of Rubies because I recognise that I am uniquely created by God for the positions and roles I have in life. I’m constantly looking to let myself shine, regardless of the position I find myself or the age I reach. This means constantly learning, growing capacity and reinventing myself to meet the needs of those I look to impact and inspire.

For those who are afraid of marriage because of the high rate of separation and divorce

What you focus on grows. If you feed your mind with reports of marriage crises and fatalities, your mind will accept that as the only reality. However, if you feed your mind with reports of healthy and thriving marriages and follow it up with honest inquiry of what makes such marriages work, you will be rightly equipped to make your own relationship work. In The Right Fit Marriage Academy, an arm of MOE Advisory Limited,  we have members of our community who experienced significant paradigm shifts and lost their fear of marriage as they did what I just advised. Today they are in healthy and happy marriages.

Sometimes the line between like and love can be hard to distinguish. We’ve all been in that one relationship with a guy where all the pieces fit together perfectly.

He was charming and smart and funny and sweet and you get along like gangbusters. But in spite of all of this, there was a little voice in your head wondering…

“Would we be better off just as friends?”

Let’s get one thing straight right now: There is nothing WRONG with friendship.

Friendship is dope as hell and really rewarding for the people in it. How can you tell if he’s a perfect boyfriend or better off as your bud? There are lots of different signs, but we’ve pulled together the big ones to help you out.

Here are 4 signs you and your boyfriend are better of just as best friends

1.You can’t imagine a future together

You’ve been dating exclusively for a little while now. So it’s natural you stop to think about the future.

Not so natural?

Maybe you just can’t picture it. Or you don’t like what you see. You like him a lot, maybe you even love him, but when you think about making a life with him in it you draw a blank.

2. You love him but not that way.

When your friends talk about how much they love their boyfriends you get worried. Sure, you LOVE your boyfriend, but you aren’t on cloud nine or anything.

He’s a great guy, you take care of each other, you’ve got a lot of common interests. But it doesn’t seem like the storybook love affair true love is supposed to be. That’s because it isn’t … it’s true friendship.

3. You hate living with him.

You guys have been living together for a while and… You can’t stand it. It’s not that you each have quirks and need to get used to each other. It’s that you aren’t compatible as living partners romantically. You’d be better off as buddies, hell, even as roommates.

4. You want to open the relationship up.

Your relationship is going just okay. You have sex, and it’s also just okay. You don’t want to break up because it feels like there’s no real reason to. But you want to open up the relationship so that you can meet new people. Boredom and dissatisfaction in your relationship is not a sign you should open things up.

It’s a sign you’re dating a friend and not a lover.

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“Are you in a relationship presently and you are trying to figure out how to love your partner more?”

“Are you about to go into one and need to know how to love your partner right ?”

This article is for you!

Read on and learn some of the doable ways in which you can learn how to love — become more loving, win your partner back, and enjoy a satisfying relationship. Once you know what genuine love looks like, it will be easy to implement.

Most people mistakenly think that love is a feeling. Here’s the thing, they have it all wrong.

In order to be more loving, you have to understand what love truly is. It’s not just a feeling. It’s a Commitment. It’s an Action. It’s a Decision..

It’s understandable why we’re confused about love. The movie industry has put a spell on us. They have us believe that two people can fall in love.

True, genuine love begins after the spell wears out, after the honeymoon ends and real life begins.

Are you ready to become a more loving partner? You look ready to me. Let’s go!

1. Commit to Your Relationship

Decide that you are going to be in the relationship; that you are going to work toward its growth; that you will nourish it to the best of your ability. Without that commitment, you don’t have the necessary foundation to build a loving relationship. That is why this first step is crucial.

If you have that commitment, read on.

 

2. Invest Time

The workaholic who works 60 hours a week might say, “I love my family so much. I’m working hard to provide for them.” That’s not love. Remember, love is not a feeling; it’s not words. It’s an action that you decide to take. One of the most important ways to demonstrate love is to spend time with the person you love. After all, time is our most prized possession. You show someone you love them by spending quality time with them.

If you want to become more loving, find time every day to connect with your loved one. You can do this with a text, a phone call, or a lunch date. Be creative.

 

3. Communicate Your Love

There are countless and effective ways to do this. Find ways to communicate your love through action. Bring home a treat, do the dishes, make dinner, leave a note in his favorite coffee mug, etc. Before he leaves for the gym, my husband takes off his chain and sets it on his nightstand.

As a writer, one of my favorite guidelines is, show, don’t just tell. By doing this, the writer provokes a reaction from their readers, helps them feel the emotion the character is feeling. This works in real life as well.

Take an action, however small, that SHOWS your partner you love them.

4. Acknowledge the Thoughtful Things Your Partner Does

One of the ways to be a more loving partner is to acknowledge all your partner does for you. You might be taking your partner for granted and not even realizing it.

Do you thank them for doing the laundry, walking the dog, making dinner, doing the dishes, working out, replacing the soap and shampoo before it runs out, etc? There are a million little things that keep a home going, and it’s easy to forget that someone is doing it. Acknowledge it.

 

5. Be Supportive

In what ways can you be supportive to your partner? Maybe it’s supporting a hobby they have, or wishing them a fun girl’s day out, or being there for every music recital, etc. When you’re supportive, your partner will feel like they can’t fail. It will provide the encouragement they need to keep going and have fun at the same time.

6. Provide Space

Clinginess can ruin a relationship. Too much of anything can be deleterious to its survival. Yes, it’s good to spend time together. In fact, I recommend it, but it’s also good to find a healthy balance.

Providing space means you allow your partner to express himself/herself in the way they enjoy. Allowing your partner time with friends and family is important. You don’t have to be by their side 24/7.

“We all need time to explore, reflect, and express ourselves individually.”

Create a space for your partner so that they can express their creativity. Let them be them without you. Remember, they were someone long before you came along.

7. Avoid Put Downs

Here’s the thing, when you’re in a relationship, you pretty much know everything about your partner–the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s easy to resort to put downs when you’re angry and upset about something they’ve done.

For example, let’s suppose they’re late for a movie. It happens. Don’t start in with, “Late again?! Jeez, you’re never on time, you moron!” Or, “No wonder your parents are disappointed by you!”

What are you trying to accomplish? It certainly doesn’t sound like you’re having a constructive discussion. It actually sounds like a war in progress.

We have enough strife in the world. Don’t allow it to infiltrate your home. Speak with respect. Let love be the motivator, not pettiness.

8. Be Willing to Compromise

Relationships are partnerships. Often, one or both of the people involved forget that; they’re a little too self-absorbed, always wanting what they want when they want it regardless of how their partner feels.

Since all relationships require some form of compromise to be successful, the couple has to work as a team. It’s always a give and take. Willingness to compromise can go a long way in creating happiness and feelings of well-being in the relationship.

9. Listen

You might think you’re listening, but next time your partner is talking, pay attention to your thoughts. What are you thinking? Are you really listening? Are you formulating your answer? Have you tuned out? True listening requires a great deal of effort, but it is a gift to the person who is feeling heard.

When you truly listen, the other person feels valued, important, like they matter. And isn’t that a gift you want to give your partner? It doesn’t cost a thing, but the dividends are priceless. True listening is the encapsulation of love.

Try this exercise, ask your partner a question, then really listen. Don’t get discouraged if your mind wanders for a spell, bring it back and re-focus. Your partner will sense your attentiveness and be ever so grateful.

10. Drop Old Issues

It might sound crazy to bring up past issues and hurts while in an argument, but couples do it all the time. There is no reason to bring up the past. Ask yourself: “What’s the point? What am I trying to accomplish? Am I trying to fix the problem or make it worse?” Old issues have no place in the present. Let them go. Concentrate on the here and now.

The bottom line is: make your relationship stronger, not weaken it.

11. Learn to say “Sorry” and mean it

People make mistakes. It’s good to apologize. Not just a fake apology, but a true, heart-felt apology. Apologies go a long way to repair a broken relationship. If you are in the wrong, say it. Mean it. Make sure the person understands that you are making amends.

You are not going to come off as weak if you say you’re sorry. Not only will you validate your partner’s feelings, you’ll gain respect. More than likely, your partner will say something like, “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean that.” Make amends when you need to. Your partner will look at you with the loving eyes you crave.

Final Thoughts

Love is the most beautiful thing on earth. Being loving is the most amazing gift you can give. All the heart flutters, the butterflies in the belly, and the buckling knees, can’t replace genuine loving acts.

Don’t allow your relationship to be fed by simply stringing a set of words together. It takes a great deal more than that. It takes a Commitment, an Action, and a Decision. Done over and over again.

You have everything you need right here. It’s the start you need to make it to the finish line of your relationship. If your relationship has suffered an injury, implement the above tips for a week, a month. See what happens.

  • Esther Ijewere

Most people mistakenly think that love is a feeling. Here’s the thing, they have it all wrong.

“You mean it’s not?” Gasp! “But when I see him, I feel butterflies, my heart flutters, and my knees buckle. If that’s not love, then what is it?” Those may be physical feelings, yes, but those feelings don’t amount to genuine love.

In order to be more loving, you have to understand what love truly is. It’s not just a feeling. It’s a Commitment. It’s an Action. It’s a Decision.

Those initial feelings–the butterflies, the heart flutters, and the buckling knees, are all part of “falling in love.” It’s like a knee-jerk reaction. It’s not planned, and it doesn’t last. It’s a short honeymoon period that ends if the relationship lasts for any length of time.

It’s understandable why we’re confused about love. Hollywood has put a spell on us. They have us believe that two people can fall in love in hours (look at The Sun is Also a Star ); or days (look at Titanic), or through emails (look at You’ve Got Mail), and a host of other spell-binding ways. But that’s not true love!

True, genuine love begins after the spell wears out, after the honeymoon ends and real life begins. This is great news! If we know that actually loving someone starts at the end of the buckling knees, then we’re prepared, we don’t give up. We don’t think, “Oh, no, it’s over! My heart doesn’t flutter anymore, and the butterflies? What butterflies?”

If you’re currently in a relationship that you feel is circling the drain, or one in which love has flown the coop, or so you think, then you’ve got a nice surprise coming. It doesn’t have to be over!

Read on and learn some of the doable ways in which you can learn how to love — become more loving, win your partner back, and enjoy a satisfying relationship. Once you know what genuine love looks like, it will be easy to implement.

You might be thinking, This is too good to be true. And that’s fine, you can’t always help what you think.

But here’s the thing, it isn’t too good to be true. You can become a more loving partner by applying the following suggestions to your relationship.

Are you ready to become a more loving partner? You look ready to me. Let’s go!

1. Commit to Your Relationship

Decide that you are going to be in the relationship; that you are going to work toward its growth; that you will nourish it to the best of your ability.

Without that commitment, you don’t have the necessary foundation to build a loving relationship. That is why this first step is crucial.

If you have that commitment, read on.

NOTE: It’s never too late to make a decision to commit.

2. Invest Time

The workaholic who works 60 hours a week might say, “I love my family so much. I’m working hard to provide for them.” That’s not love. Remember, love is not a feeling; it’s not words. It’s an action that you decide to take.

M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book, The Road Less Traveled, states,

“…love is an action, an activity.”

One of the most important ways to demonstrate love is to spend time with the person you love. After all, time is our most prized possession. You show someone you love them by spending quality time with them.

If you want to become more loving, find time every day to connect with your loved one. You can do this with a text, a phone call, or a lunch date. Be creative.

3. Communicate Your Love

There are countless and effective ways to do this. When my husband notices I’m in a hurry, he makes the bed for me in order to give me a few additional minutes in the morning. If I run out of a certain food I love, he stops at the store to pick it up; he saves the last of anything for me. If he never said the words I love you, I would still know he does. Clearly, his actions are speaking loudly.

Find ways to communicate your love through action. Bring home a treat, do the dishes, make dinner, leave a note in his favorite coffee mug, etc. Before he leaves for the gym, my husband takes off his chain and sets it on his nightstand. When he’s not around, I shape the chain into a heart and leave it for him to find. It always puts a smile on his face when he does. You get the idea.

As a writer, one of my favorite guidelines is, show, don’t just tell. By doing this, the writer provokes a reaction from their readers, helps them feel the emotion the character is feeling. This works in real life as well.

Take an action, however small, that SHOWS your partner you love them.

4. Be Spontaneous

Relationships can fall into ruts. Years together can dull the excitement felt in the beginning when everything is new. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

Spontaneity can liven any relationship. Imagine yourself walking into the kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner, not feeling like cooking at all. Suddenly, your husband walks in and says, “Take off that apron, I’m taking you out to dinner.” How would you feel? I don’t know, but I’m guessing you’d want to jump for joy.

Or you come home, see your partner sitting in front of the TV and say, “Let’s go, I’ve made reservations at a great Air B&B. Pack your bags.”

Spontaneity adds a thrill to any relationship. Try surprising your partner this week!

5. Acknowledge the Thoughtful Things Your Partner Does

One of the ways to be a more loving partner is to acknowledge all your partner does for you. You might be taking your partner for granted and not even realizing it.

Do you thank them for doing the laundry, walking the dog, making dinner, doing the dishes, working out, replacing the soap and shampoo before it runs out, etc? There are a million little things that keep a home going, and it’s easy to forget that someone is doing it. Acknowledge it.

My husband had just taken a shower one day when he said, “Thank you! I never have to worry that I won’t have shampoo, or soap. It’s always there. I really appreciate that.” I felt warm and fuzzy after hearing that. It made me feel very appreciated. Your partner will too.

6. Be Supportive

When I decided to go back to school to become a therapist, it would mean a great deal of sacrifice. I would eventually have to quit my job; come up with tuition money, and devote time for studying. My husband said, “You’ll make a great therapist. We’ll make it work.”

When I decided to write The Healing Alphabet, 26 Empowering Ways to Enrich Your Life, my husband said, “I can’t wait to read it. People will love it.” When I decided to cut my long hair, my husband said, “You’ll look really cute with short hair.” He has been supportive throughout our 33 years together. That support demonstrates his love.

In what ways can you be supportive to your partner? Maybe it’s supporting a hobby they have, or wishing them a fun girl’s day out, or being there for every music recital, etc. When you’re supportive, your partner will feel like they can’t fail. It will provide the encouragement they need to keep going and have fun at the same time.

7. Provide Space

Clinginess can ruin a relationship. Too much of anything can be deleterious to its survival. Yes, it’s good to spend time together. In fact, I recommend it, but it’s also good to find a healthy balance.

Providing space means you allow your partner to express himself/herself in the way they enjoy. Allowing your partner time with friends and family is important. You don’t have to be by their side 24/7. In the article 10 Signs You’re in a Healthy Relationship by Scott Christ, he writes,

“We all need time to explore, reflect, and express ourselves individually.”

Create a space for your partner so that they can express their creativity. Let them be them without you. Remember, they were someone long before you came along.

8. Take the Good with the Bad

A good relationship takes a lot of work. The day you married your partner, you probably thought you’d hit the jackpot by marrying the most perfect being on this earth. That day, you didn’t think about the fact they kept you awake snoring, laughed like a hyena, scratched the wrong places in public, chewed with their mouths open, and who knows what else. You were just thinking about the trip to Bora Bora, how beautiful she looked in the dress, how handsome he looked in the tux, and what pretty babies you’d eventually have…

But like I mentioned earlier, the honeymoon will end. It always does. And then you’re left with the real stuff: the smelly socks on the floor, the dirty mugs in the sink, the crumbs on the kitchen table, etc.

Of course, I’m painting a bad picture. Maybe none of this has happened to you, and after 15 years you still feel like you hit the jackpot. Congratulations!

For the rest of you, understand that there’s no perfection. It doesn’t exist. Yes, your partner is going to annoy you. You probably annoy your partner. If you want to be more loving, look past the imperfections. Find a way to see it as quirky. It’s part of who they are, what makes them them. According to Jeff Auerbach, Ph.D, in his book, Irritating the Ones You Love, he writes,

“We may not be able to change who we fundamentally are, but we can do the best that’s possible with what we have.”

And that goes for both people in the relationship. Neither one of you is perfect. Be more loving by accepting the not so appealing, and bask in all the goodness they do provide.

9. Avoid Put Downs

Here’s the thing, when you’re in a relationship, you pretty much know everything about your partner–the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s easy to resort to put downs when you’re angry and upset about something they’ve done.

For example, let’s suppose they’re late for a movie. It happens. Don’t start in with, “Late again?! Jeez, you’re never on time, you moron!” Or, “No wonder your parents are disappointed by you!” Or “It’s a pleasure to meet the poster child for lateness!” And on and on.

What are you trying to accomplish? It certainly doesn’t sound like you’re having a constructive discussion. It actually sounds like a war in progress.

We have enough strife in the world. Don’t allow it to infiltrate your home. Speak with respect. Let love be the motivator, not pettiness.

10. Be Willing to Compromise

Relationships are partnerships. Often, one or both of the people involved forget that; they’re a little too self-absorbed, always wanting what they want when they want it regardless of how their partner feels.

Since all relationships require some form of compromise to be successful, the couple has to work as a team. It’s always a give and take; a quid pro quo; a back and forth between the people involved. “Hey, since we saw Shaft last week, how about we see A Dog’s Journey this week?” Both people are willing to give in to make their partner happy, even if they have to sacrifice a little bit.

A willingness to compromise can go a long way in creating happiness and feelings of well-being in the relationship.

11. Tell Your Partner 3 Things You Love About Them

My husband and I attended a couple’s seminar years ago. One of the exercises we were asked to perform was to walk around our partner while they sat in a chair, and tell them all the things we loved about them. It was an amazing experience. The focus was to be only on the good, on what you loved about them, what you admired, respected.

As the exercise progressed, the partner reciting all the compliments was reminded about why they were with that person to begin with. It was very powerful, and the feelings created from the exercise lingered for days.

12. Listen

You might think you’re listening, but next time your partner is talking, pay attention to your thoughts. What are you thinking? Are you really listening? Are you formulating your answer? Have you tuned out? True listening requires a great deal of effort, but it is a gift to the person who is feeling heard.

When you truly listen, the other person feels valued, important, like they matter. And isn’t that a gift you want to give your partner? It doesn’t cost a thing, but the dividends are priceless. True listening is the encapsulation of love.

Tonight, ask your partner a question, then really listen. Don’t get discouraged if your mind wanders for a spell, bring it back and re-focus. Your partner will sense your attentiveness and be ever so grateful.

13. Drop Old Issues

It might sound crazy to bring up past issues and hurts while in an argument, but couples do it all the time. It’s not uncommon for a partner to say, “Remember when you broke that vase and you said you’d replace it and you never did? You’re just as clumsy as ever!” The partner stares dumbfounded. “But that was 17 years ago! Why are you bringing that up now? Just because I accidentally dropped your cup and broke it?” You can see that this can quickly escalate.

There is no reason to bring up the past. Ask yourself: “What’s the point? What am I trying to accomplish? Am I trying to fix the problem or make it worse?” Old issues have no place in the present. Let them go. Concentrate on the here and now.

The bottom line is: make your relationship stronger, not weaken it.

Author: Rosanna Snee

Lara’s story will inspire you to rise above your challenges no matter what life throws at you.. The pretty relationship counselor and matchmaking mistress heart has been broken 15 times alongside other unforeseen life experiences, most recently is her crashed marriage which inspired her to write her fast selling book “Matchmakers marriage break” ,in a bid to own her truth and use her story to inspire single women to make the right decision before walking down the aisle. “ I am not ashamed to tell the world my story, I still believe in the institution of Marriage, sadly mine didn’t work but many are still working” she says as she shares her journey with me in this interview.

Growing up

Well, I don’t think so. I had a normal childhood like everyone else and there was nothing new or special about it. I just knew that I always wanted to be on TV and talk, I had no idea what I would be talking about.  I was such such a happy and talkative child who wanted to explore so many things. I loved to read and talk.

Meet Lara

Lara Kudayisi, the first in a family of four. I had a child at 19, 14 heartbreaks and 15. Abortions before I got married. Another chapter of my life started when that marriage broke while I was busy helping people find love and live Happily Ever After.  I am a Relationship Expert and a Therapist That specializes in Healing and Recovery from Emotional Dysfunctions and Trauma. I am also an author of 3 books; 21 QUESTIONS SINGLES ASK, WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY TASTE IN MEN and HOW THE MATCHMAKER’S MARRIAGE FAILED.

Inspiration behind “Matchmaking Mistress”

The Matchmaking Mistress was a name I adopted when I decided to go fully into Matchmaking about three years ago. I had been a Relationship Coach prior to that time and I had a club for singles titled THE COMPLETE SINGLES CLUB. It was a club where singles met, networked and had fun. The club members started talking to me about not being able to find love even when the objectives of the group was to bring people together.

I decided to Matchmake some people then and I saw that they were into it and that was what made me make it a niche then so nobody that I knew was providing that service then.

My  new book “Matchmakers Marriage failed”

When I had my daughter at age 19, my dad was so furious with me understandably because I was the first child and he was disappointed in me.

My dad out of anger and pain told me back then that I would likely not get married since I was an After One. Those words were very painful especially since I heard them everyday. I decided to prove him wrong and show him that despite my mistakes, I would get married. I must tell you that that was my greatest mistake I made.

I say that because that was the root of my addiction to relationships and marriage. My goal was to get married and prove my Dad wrong (There is a chapter in my book titled; I MARRIED TO PROVE DADDY WRONG). This made me close my eye to every red flag or sign which was why I ended up having 14 heartbreaks and 15 Abortions.This addiction and Dysfunction was what I carried into my marriage and that contributed largely to why it crashed. This story is what I shared in this book.

A lot of women have been broken and damaged from their childhood or even from their past emotional experiences and they are busy carrying it around without knowing. This is why I need them to read this book and understand the implication of their unresolved hurt and pain.

Reception after my marriage broke

Well, the reception has been both good and bad. A lot of people were shocked that someone who helped other people to find love and live Happily Ever After could have a broken home. They are more shocked that I could even have the audacity to be the one to break the news by writing about it. Shock soon turned into anger because they expect me to be in mourning and hiding instead of coming out to talk about it.  Some people are genuinely curious and they really want to know what went wrong while some wants to know for the purpose of gossip. Some other people really want to know what happened so that they can learn from it and avoid falling into such situation.

I love all the audience because it’s a win win for me in all cases. No matter your intention, talking about it in a good way or bad way has helped in promoting the book and making people who truly need it to get to know about it and buying it.  Finally, I also have a lot of positive responses from people who are in pain and they can relate to what I went through. They are my actual target audience because they are the ones that need my help in helping them to heal and recover from emotional pain.

Other Projects

Ever since I wrote the book, I have launched THE HEALING BOOT CAMP which is the main reason for ever talking about my sordid past and broken marriage. Healing and Recovery is what people who are broken, damaged and dysfunctional need in order to get better. We are having the Boot Camp in Abuja on March 23rd&24th and in Lagos on April 6th&7th.

Reward

Fulfillment and Joy deep in my heart that no form of money can buy. I’ve seen people who were hopeless and helpless found their self confidence and are now full of life and a new will to do exploits in life. I could identify because I was once like them. I nearly committed suicide when my marriage crashed and I thought that my career and life had ended. I thought that was the end of me and nothing more is left but look at me today, totally living a brand new life with a new desire to do great things in this life all because I went through my healing process which gave me a new perspective to life. There can be no other joy than this that anyone can feel. It’s so so surreal.

Next five years and it’s impact on homes

By then, we would have built THE HEALING INSTITUTE where we would have helped hundreds of thousands of people to Heal and also certify Healing Coaches to spread the word all over the world. We would have toured at least 20 countries and plenty cities launching Conferences that would help lots of people Heal and Recover from Emotional Pain and Dysfunction. We would have had a TV and Radio Station where we would churn out programs that contributes to Mental, Emotional Wellness and Happily Ever After.

My work & marriage

My work had positive influences on my Marriage more than the negatives but the baggage that we brought in was what crashed the marriage.

One lesson I took out of my marriage

Always take your intuition or conviction seriously beyond what anyone else tells you no matter the pedigree of that person. God speaks to us all the time through different means that we don’t even recognize. We just need to be sensitive enough to pick the vibe when he’s speaking. It is now a lesson but it was a reality that could have been avoided.

Advice  for women enduring unhappy & abusive marriages

If you are in an abusive relationship or marriage please get out of it before you die. Get Therapy even while you are still there because I know it’s going to be a very hard thing to do all by yourself. The decision to leave a marriage or a long time relationship is a VERY difficult one and you need all the help and support you can get to help get you in the right frame of mind to take that drastic action.

Dear Woman….

LIVE FULLY!!!

People would tell you how to live and not how to live. They would want you to be exactly like them. The world want you to fail in the areas they fail and excel only in the areas that they did. Find your own IDENTITY, it may take a while because there’s no manual for it in this life. However, when you find it, please LIVE it to the fullest. Don’t let anyone give you their own template. Your money is in your Identity. Your happiness is in your identity. Your purpose is in your identity, so also is your purpose.

That you are a woman doesn’t mean you are disadvantaged. You are who you say you are.

The one thing I hear women complain about in their relationships is the level of emotional labor that they render to their partners that is often never reciprocated. I have wondered why women were the ones who seemed to be plagued by these one-sided relationships until I came to a realization that women might be the ones guilty of enabling this behavior in their partners.

 

Lolo Cynthia Is a public health specialist, sexuality educator and founder of the social enterprise LoloTalks, that employs all forms of media (online and offline) to create awareness and sustainable solutions to our contemporary social and health issues in Africa.  She also doubles as a documentary and talk show producer and lends her voice on issues regarding interpersonal relationships, sexuality, gender, and social issues through her YouTube channel LoloTalks and her blog.