This phrase is misused… it’s not said enough, yet too often.
Sharing love is one of the greatest connections two people can have. And yes, saying “I love you” is an important part of it, but it isn’t nearly the most important part.
I work with many executives that have a very strong exterior and/or a difficult time feeling/sharing emotions. When I reflect I see that I too share this state. It takes great effort, and emotional maturity, for us to share love in a way that benefits our relationships.
This does not mean it’s easier for the feeling types. Emotional maturity bends both ways and often affects those who have strong emotional responses.
The goal around love in a relationship is to share it in the way that each partner feels it strongly and has security and vulnerability available.
- Say “I love you” often. You don’t have to say those words each time, but do say them. Also share, verbally, what other feelings you have. “I adore you”, “I value you”, “I respect you”, “I admire you”, “I lust for you”, etc are all phrases that can simply explain what you’re feeling without being too wordy. Share the positive feelings often, so when you have to share some negative feelings they don’t seem to be the only feelings you have.
- Express your feelings with actions. Everyone has a different way of receiving love. This means that certain things make them feel loved. Some needs words, others actions… and some need specific actions (like acts of service or affection). We often expect multiple forms of sharing love, and I suggest you show your love in many ways. Asking your partner what they’d prefer is good, but watch and listen to see what works best.
- Be affectionate. This is subjective, as some people are far more touchy-feely. Do what’s natural for you, but do it. Even small amounts of affection make your partner feel loved. If you have a significantly different level needs between the two of you communication will be important… and compromise.
- Be authentic. Trust and vulnerability are the greatest gifts of love. Being your authentic self, having emotional maturity (or working on it), and open communication, will build trust between partners. It’s within this trust that vulnerability grows and the connection to each other strengthens. Authenticity is tough in that it requires continuous effort to ensure your positive intent, values, and morals are a part of everything you say and do. This is proactive, not reactive. It’s purposeful. It is the most unique and amazing aspect of yourself that you can give another human being: your authentic self.
The heathiest executives, the most successful, know that their partners are significant aspects of their health and their success. They know the value of partnership relationships, and that grounded and lasting happiness/peace comes from the unique love shared between them. Learning how to share and express love is an emotionally mature thing to do and helps ensure a lasting relationship.