1 – Talk Less, Listen More
While it’s always good to talk about what’s going on in your life, it’s also important to make sure you’re dedicated to listening to what the other person is trying to say, and inquiring into their lives. For more about what it means to be an active listener, click here.
2 – Find Out What Means the Most to the Other Person
According to Gary Chapman, everyone gives and receives love in different ways (to learn more, click here). This means that if you’re showing your love by buying the other person lots of gifts, but all they want is for you to help them around the house, then they simply aren’t going to feel loved. To make love meaningful, find out what makes the other person feel special and focus on that.
3 – Stick By Them When The Going Gets Tough
Love isn’t always easy, but when we can work through trials/challenges by being honest and compassionate, the relationship is usually better for it. It also reassures someone that our love isn’t superficial – we’ll be there for them when they need it most and won’t abandon them at the first test of faith.
4 – Find Ways To Uplift Them
Part of loving someone means believing in all they can be and helping them to achieve their potential. This may mean encouraging them verbally and/or taking practical steps to help them pursue their dreams. It’s always easier to believe in ourselves when someone believes in us first, and doing this for another is an important show of love.
5 – Live & Let Live
Not everyone’s going to be the same as us. People will do things differently, think differently, and have faults that grate against us. Instead of trying to change them however, we need to remember that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This doesn’t mean we can never confront hurtful behaviour, just that we allow people to be who they are.
6 – Don’t Always Try & Understand
We don’t always have to understand someone and what they do to love them. Again, because we’re all individuals, we may not always understand someone’s motives, actions and thoughts, but unless their actions are particularly hurtful, not being able to always understand someone shouldn’t stop us from loving them any less.
7 – Be Open
In healthy relationships, intimacy is knowing someone completely and being known in turn. To show someone love, it’s important to let them see you, even if it means sharing your mistakes and/or being vulnerable at times. By letting them in you are showing that you trust them and value the relationship.
8 – Be Forgiving
Last week we looked at forgiveness in detail (see here), as part of showing love is forgiving others for their mistakes and not holding them against them. While a few people are overtly malicious, most don’t mean to be hurtful or to let us down. Letting go of their offences is important if we want to move forward and maintain a healthy, loving relationship.
9 – Apologise If You’ve Hurt Them
Even if you know you’re right or you weren’t the one to cause the initial offence, if the other person has still been hurt as part of the conflict it’s important to recognise and validate that through apologising. As the saying goes, ‘apologising just means you value the relationship more than your ego’. Hopefully it will also help to repair the relationship and help the other person take responsibility as well.
10 – Support Each Other
No one should have to face trials, difficulties or challenges without support from someone. When it comes to the people we care about, helping them get through both life-changing decisions and day-to-day chores is a way to show our support and love in action.