With Love and Gratitude

A blessing a day keeps the doc away

10 Ways to Express Love

One can show affection in different ways.

Love is a choice as much as it is a feeling or a decision. Those who give love receive love. This month we have seen research talking about conflict resolution and conflict recovery in terms of lasting romantic relationships. Each of the studies had me rethinking the work of Elizabeth Schoenfeld, a researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who revealed that men and woman show love through affection – but that each takes a different tact.  

Wives did so “by enacting fewer negative or antagonistic behaviors, husbands showed love by initiating sex, sharing leisure activities, and doing household work together with their wives.” Love Knows No Gender Difference - Health Information – Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Ten Ways to Express Love

Here are 10 ways to express love to your special someone, your friends, family, children. By expressing love we bring ourselves joy knowing that love is not just a Valentine moment, but an ongoing, free flowing experience that enriches our lives.

Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

Send flowers for no reason other than to say “Thank you for being you.”

Set aside time to give the gift of listening. Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little neighborhood place, for coffee or a drink and just listen to each other’s thoughts.

Keep anger at bay. During stressful times think of this image. If an ember flies from a fireplace onto your rug, it will burn a hole. Flick it off immediately and the rug is safe.

Be thoughtfully generous with gifts. Remember what is special about a person in your life and buy gifts that are unique to them. I had to forgo a trip to Paris because it conflicted with a business meeting in San Diego. My sister purchased a designer umbrella picturing the Seine, the Pont Neuf, and the Eiffel Tower as a reminder that there will always be another time for Paris.

Order fortune cookies with love sayings or Italian Baci candies with love notes and keep a glass jar in your home filled with them. You might also intersperse with gratitude sayings.

Offer an act of kindness. Say to your love or someone you care about, “What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?” Then do it.

Write a note and send it via the U.S. Mail. Here’s a simple start: “I am so grateful that you are in my life. I love you for a million reasons. Here are the top three.”

Make time to be together for events that bring you both pleasure.

Be forgiving. We all have quirks. When one surfaces that makes you want to scream, either gently say something or switch to the positive-quality channel.

In the book, “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings,” Fox challenges us to make this commitment by saying: “I have chosen the path of Love. My own heart is to be my workshop, my laboratory, my great enterprise, and love is to be my contribution to humanity.”

Copyright 2013 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.

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