The Recipe of Love
The recipe to love is of your own making. Grab a pen for your 10-minute personalized relationship test! In the end you will have a few new ideas to spice things up and connect in meaningful ways. Finding ways to a more fulfilling relationship starts with these three ingredients: Passion, Commitment, and Intimacy.
Language is the framework that allows us to make sense of things and communicate. When you think about your relationship, what words come to mind? This is important information about how you think and feel about who is in your life. This inner narrative colors the lens through which you interact. As the calendar page turns to the last month of the year, here are some new definitions to help articulate the way things are and plan actions to support the way you would like things to be. The recipe of all love, defined by Drs. Bob and Robin Sternberg, contains Commitment, Passion, and Intimacy. Dial up or down on these three ingredients and the recipe of love changes in quality and content.
Step One: Pick a relationship you live with or want to improve.
Grab a pen and paper and jot down the answers to these questions:
How old is the relationship?
How open do you feel you can be with the other?
How satisfied do you feel when spending time in this relationship?
Is there intimacy? (This can be sharing vulnerability in a relationship. Intimacy is typically viewed sexually but it can also be a measure of openness. Do you reveal yourself in this relationship?)
How well do you like the other?
On a range of 1-10, how excited do you feel at the thought of spending time with this person?
Commitment is about doing what you say you are going to do. In any relationship, we commit to things large and small. How well do you honor your commitments? How well do you feel the other keeps their word of doing what they say they will do?
After answering each question, you will notice you have come up with descriptions that are unique to you.
Pick new ingredients: You Control the Recipe of Love
Let’s continue with additive questions to play with actionable ideas out of awareness. Look at your list. What stands out to you? It is easy to skip over the good to laser in on improvement but hold on…What stands out to you in the positive? Those things that bring a smile to your face are important. Unique things that you value are co-created in relationship. What is your treasure with this other person?
There are always times of wanting more in a relationship. If that resonates for you, can you imagine what would make the feeling of completeness happen within you when you are with the other? What words describe feeling complete inside of yourself? Imagine a doing verb that you would like to try in the relationship. What would that be? Now come up with a way of being that comes to mind when thinking of the other. Write down three doing and three being qualities that you want to grow within yourself that could be shared with another. Examples of doing are writing a card, picking up the phone, waving through the window expressing love in COVID. Examples of being are holding support in the relationship, making time for the other, or holding a receptive body language while with the other.
Spice up your recipe: Excitement, Openness, Liking, Commitment, Surprise, Vulnerability, Trust
Use these words to come up with ideas of connection with the relationship you have in mind. The trick is you can only pick things that you can do. This isn’t a to-do list or an assignment for the other. These are little ways to think, speak, or act with your loved one that you are in control of. Is there something you want to keep your word at doing? Body language is loud and clear, what are you saying? What does the posture of liking look like? What can you appreciate today? Is there a surprise you would like to offer during the COVID mundane? How would you like to spice things up? Remember, pick things within your control!
Know the Goal
Often, fatigue and frustration set in if one side of the relationship does kindnesses that are not noticed or returned in ways expected. Try using your ideas as “I’m doing this for the Relationship” rather than, “I’m doing this for them.” The relationship is the goal. It is picking out a new lens to view the giving. Offering old and new gestures of love to the relationship always yields positive results because the giver knows what it is really for: The Relationship.