“Girl, I’m in love with you. This ain’t the honeymoon, we’re passed the infatuation phase. We’re right in the thick of love, at times we get sick of love.”
Ahh, relationships. The pursuit of so many of us, with entire chunks of our lives dedicated to getting it right.
And in case you didn’t know, that song up top is from John Legend, it’s called “Ordinary People”. I was very young when I first heard it, so even though I loved how it sounded, I didn’t really understand its depth.
Now, at 29, I get it. We are just ordinary people and in the thick of love, we wouldn’t really know what to do or which way to go.
So I get it, why you’re here, pouring over an article about ways to deepen the love in your relationship.
Love is complex as it is beautiful and no two relationships are ever the same.
Like, during the downpour of feelings, do you seek shelter away from the rain or do you dance under it? How should you proceed to carry love into deeper territory?
When you start wishing for more in your relationship, to deepen the love within it. What can you do?
Let’s see what the experts have to say.
I know I said we’ll sift through what experts have to say about deepening the love in a relationship, but I wanted to start this section with another song.
It’s by Jessie Ware and it’s called “Say You Love Me”. In the first part, she sang, “Say you love me to my face. I need it more than your embrace. Just say you want me, that’s all it takes.”
But is that truly all it takes? Is love as easy as speaking it into existence?
Well, not really. Communication, after all, is more than just speaking.
It’s an exchange or transfer of ideas and information.
In this article from Forbes Health, relationship expert and licensed clinical social worker Darcy Sterling said, “Communication is the foundation of any relationship.”
Further adding that “Every relationship requires communication—and the quality of that communication is a predictor of how fulfilling the relationship is for both people.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it? Communicating with your partner allows you to know where exactly it is you stand in your relationship.
Effective communication is necessary for the other points on this list, too, like conflict resolution and exploring vulnerability.
2) Learn to solve conflict without malice.
So many new relationships falter at the first sign of conflict. And that once the honeymoon energy dissipates, the reality is quite difficult to navigate.
This is why learning effective conflict resolution is vital in deepening love in a relationship.
High-tension situations can bring out the absolute worst in us so remember to always be respectful of each other. Respect should be mutual and constant.
The “heat of the moment” should never become a convenient excuse to hurt each other.
3) Learn each other’s love language.
The 5 love languages were created by author Gary Chapman and it consists of Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts.
I do think people can have multiple love languages and can have different ones for giving and receiving love. What matters here is knowing what your partner’s love language is.
How do they feel they are loved? How do they show that they love you?
Do I think you need to be fluent in their love language and vice versa? No. I do think you need to at least identify what they are.
Your partner should also make an effort to know yours. Give and take, you know? Being intentional in making each other feel loved and appreciated, in the best ways possible.
4) Understand each other’s needs.
I don’t think this even needs to be said, but I’ll say it for posterity anyway: We’ve all seen some sh*t.
All of us. Some more than others. This makes us have different needs, different desires, different life paths, and different ways to heal.
Beyond knowing our love language, it’s also important that couples understand these needs.
Not to fix, mind you, but to know where the other is coming from.
In this article from The Gottman Institute, they put forward the importance of empathy in a relationship.
A clear distinction of sympathizing with them versus empathizing with them was also put into focus. You should not minimize your partner’s feelings but rather listen wholeheartedly.
However, fixing them is never the answer.
You cannot go through the journey of life for the people you love, you can only walk alongside them.
And with that said, be vulnerable.
5) Be vulnerable.
One of my most favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs (and I have plenty!) is Surrender My Heart.
She sang, “And I wanna be brave enough to show you my not-so-perfect family. And I wanna be brave enough for everything.”
“Surrender my heart, I wanna be open, I wanna be honest with you.”
I scream-sing this whenever it comes up as a reminder that vulnerability is an act of bravery compared to the usual thinking that it’s a weakness.
It takes so many of us such a long time to get to that point of surrender.
And if you are in a relationship and you wish to deepen the love in it, being vulnerable is a good way to start.
And before anyone asks, “Well, what if they run away from me being vulnerable?” Then, bestie, rethink if that’s the kind of energy you’re willing to have in your life, if that’s something that you can and would want to work through.
Honestly, I think the right person is not the one who understands you from the get-go, I think the right person is the one willing to try for you. And whom you’re willing to try for.
That’s why, in the same breath, if you are the one having trouble opening up and being vulnerable, then it’s time to look inward and assess why.
In this article by Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, a Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach, and Founder of the Loving Roots Project, she said “If you are the partner who is having difficulty showing affection, reflect on reasons that might be causing this for you.”
And that it’s okay to take baby steps!
Adding, “Take it one day at a time and slowly start with one small step each day. This can often help people to begin to build more trust and confidence in themselves, their partner, and their relationship; therefore, allowing them to be more emotionally vulnerable.”
6) Walk the talk.
- Be genuine. Always.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Mean what you say.
Without action, promises are just flattery. Without action, plans are just wishful thinking.
Deepening the love in your relationship shouldn’t be theoretical if you decide on it. Make the effort. Show up. Actively participate in your partner’s life.
Make them feel like you want to be in their life. Show them you’re in it for the long haul.
Besties, didn’t you know? Effort is sexy.
In this article from board-certified Couple and Family Psychologist Greg Matos PsyD, he said that there are 2 signs of effort in a relationship.
First is initiation and the second is consistency. Few questions to ask yourself:
- When was the last time I initiated activities with my partner?
- What were these activities?
- Were these activities aligned with my partner’s interests?
- How else can I show up for my partner?
It’s also prudent to ask these questions in reverse. Are they showing up for you, too?
7) Align your long-term goals and plans.
- Talk about money.
- Talk about career.
- Talk about marriage.
- Talk about having a family.
Money is one of the leading causes of friction in a relationship. According to Forbes Advisor, it’s even up there with infidelity, lack of family support, lack of intimacy, and too much conflict as leading causes of divorce.
It’s safe to say that money can be a make-or-break topic in a relationship so it’s important for couples to be transparent in discussing this.
It’s a difficult conversation to have, I know, but growth starts in having difficult conversations.
Along with money, long-term goals and plans regarding career should be discussed. Do you have any more plans to go back to school? Any plans to work and live abroad? Plans to rise the corporate ladder?
Discussing career goals might not be centerstage for all couples but this discussion allows you to see if you are both aligned. A career-driven person might not work so well with someone choosing to live a slower life and vice versa.
Lastly, know where each other stands concerning marriage and having a family. One person might not want to get married at all, one person might not want children, and the other might want to wait.
Staying on the same page regarding long-term goals is a good way to deepen a relationship. It means you’re running at the same pace and in it for the same thing.
8) Choose to love them. Constantly.
And lastly, choose to love them. Now, don’t laugh at me because this sounds silly.
I mean it.
You have to constantly choose to love them. When the reality of life starts dragging you both around, you have to want to be there with them. You have to want to hold their hand.
Not out of obligation, but out of love, trust, and respect. And so should they.
And sure, you might not *like* them all the time. That’s normal, even people we love can get on our nerves but what comes after is the deciding factor. Conflict resolution is a choice. Staying together is a choice.
But so is breaking up. So, to want to be there is a choice.
I guess John Legend is right, we *are* just ordinary people. But you know what? Even ordinary people can get it right in love, too.
That one is also a choice.