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Monday, February 13, 2012

MAKING LOVE LAST: IS IT A FAIRY TALE?




Joining us today is New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak who has three romantic suspense novels out—INSIDE, IN SECONDS & IN CLOSE. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $1.3 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.  

While I was doing a signing for one of my books, a woman passed by, picked up my romance novel, and immediately wrinkled her nose. "I don't read these kinds of books," she said.

"What do you read?" I asked.

She slapped the book down on the table as if it was so far beneath her she couldn't bear to touch it. "Something with at least a hint of realism." 

"I'm sorry for you," I said. And I meant it. Because a good romance novel isn't a fairy tale—it's a snapshot of love at its finest. The complaint shouldn't be that these books are not realistic; the complaint should be that so many of us don't know how to make this kind of love last. But that doesn't mean we can't learn. It's basically a matter of behaving as we behaved when we were courting, and taking it a few steps further to establish the deeper ties that make true love an everyday reality.
Based on my experience and observations, here are some ideas to help make love last:

1. Avoid negative thought patterns. Allowing yourself to mentally or verbally tear down your significant other is like gnawing at the bond that holds you together.

2. Remember that this person means more to you than anyone else--including your parents and your kids. People who live their entire lives for their children are often disappointed to find that they have no relationship left once the kids head out on their own. 

3. Be more flexible and forgiving with your spouse than mere friends and neighbors. We expect our spouses to "understand" our stress or limitations (in other words, put up with our crap). Instead, reserve your patience and kindness for the person who means the most to you.  

4. Understand that relationships work on a spiral: the more thoughtful you are with your loved one, the more fulfilled and happy he/she will be, and the more he/she will be interested in giving back to you.

5. Don't get too practical. Some couples forego the flowers, the cards, the dinner dates and the chocolates in favor of saving money. But what's worth more to you? A few bucks (or even a house or a car) or a relationship that will likely affect your whole life and the lives of your children?

6. Try to do something nice for your spouse every day, even if it's just a chore he or she typically does. These thoughtful touches will act like a hedge against the tough times.

7. Be physical, touch a lot, even when there's no chance that it will escalate into a sexual encounter. These little reminders that a spouse cares are nurturing to the soul and send wonderful signals to your children. Your kids will feel secure and happy because you're secure and happy, and they’ll be more loving because of the example you've set.

8. Remain loyal. Have the grit it takes to stick together through thick and thin.

9. Be unselfish. It might seem otherwise, but life isn't all about you, how you're feeling and what you want. Worry more about whether you're being a good spouse than whether your spouse is being a good mate to you, and you'll be glad you did. 

10. Take care of yourself. You don't have to be model-thin or in the first blush of youth, but be the best you can be—mentally and physically. In other words, be someone you'd like to be with.

11. Laugh. Don't take life too seriously. It's no fun to be around someone when everything means too much and weighs too heavily. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Brenda,
    Don't forget to add :
    Don't expect to change him. The changes come from both of you as you grow through the years together.
    And the most important one:
    You have to really like him as a person for just who he is. Passion changes through the the years but if you like each other as a person it never goes away.
    We will celebrate our 48 anniversary this year and are still in love and like with each other.
    Jan B

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  2. Love lasts. Warning if you’re looking for perfect forget it and don’t expect anything you aren’t willing to give.
    Very good tips, especially number 10. I became a widow after 38 years of marriage and wish that had been a bigger priority. Hubs was the typical Y chromosome who had his moments.. I was in the hospital on my birthday –pneumonia –he brought diamond earrings and put them on me. I cried and he climbed into the bed and held me. A not so nice nurse demanded he get out. My Marine made it clear if she didn’t leave her body would never be found. We were in Madrid for our 35th anniversary celebrating in a local bar (of course) with a couple of friends who lived there. Hubs and male friend disappeared finally returning to the table with big grins. I’m wondering if I’ve got enough money to bail us out of whatever they’ve gotten into. The trio playing music that evening announced it was our anniversary and the whole place sang to us.
    HA! My response to ‘don’t read THOSE kind of books’ is a good up and down look followed with a,“I can tell.”
    Great post Brenda.

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