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We were enjoying a pot of chai. ‘You have a happy and loving marriage, Amma. What’s your secret?’ she put down her cup and said, ‘Always respect and appreciate your partner. When you have a good man, it’s about building him up. It’s a serious business to keep loving after marriage’.

 

As human beings, we grow and develop. So does love. Here are some of Amma’s secrets:

 

Secret 1: Accept that Love Changes

 

There are numerous psychological studies into the ‘in-love’ phenomena. Findings show that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years. That means that real love begins when the ‘in-love’ feeling expires. After that, we are meant to learn to love each other without the euphoria of the in-love feeling. Do many divorced couples miss out by throwing in the towel too early?

 

Secret 2: Dream a Dream  

 

Growing up I would see Amma flicking through the Argos catalogue. She would spend hours looking at things she wasn’t going to buy. I teased her about it. She laughed and said, ‘It’s good to use your imagination and dream. I would visualise having our own house with a big kitchen. A car in front of the house. I have that now. I even visualised what my children will look like.’

 

Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist and Co-Founder of eHarmony, wrote an insightful book. ‘Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life…And Loving It!’ He talks about the importance of constructing a vision of everything you believe your marriage can be.

 

Get excited about what you want to achieve together. The places you want to go to. The house you want to live in. The family you want to grow together. The brain can not only conceive big dreams but can also help us plan to achieve it.  

 

My mother is a visionary and continues to dream with my father.

 

Secret 3: Filling up the Love Tank

 

In his book, ‘The 5 Love Languages- The Secret to Love That Lasts’, Dr Gary Chapman presents a simple truth. Relationships grow better when we understand each other. He talks about the importance of speaking the primary love language of your spouse.

 

Words of Affirmation.

These are powerful compliments. ‘You’re so beautiful and I love you more every day’.

 

Quality Time.

Having quality conversations and doing quality activities. Giving your spouse your undivided attention.

 

Receiving Gifts.

Buying thoughtful gifts like flowers and jewellery. These are symbols of your love for your spouse.

 

Acts of Service.

Doing acts such as cooking or setting the table. This makes your spouse feel loved and adored by you.

 

Physical Touch.

Being intimate. Holding hands, embracing and having physical relations.

 

Without it, your spouse will feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in your love.

 

So, the next time you come across a happily married couple, satisfy your curiosity and ask! I know I learned a lot from Amma over that cup of chai. 


(Published in Asian World News p 37: https://issuu.com/asianworld.khi/docs/asian_world_september_2019 )



 

 

Advice on love and relationships from the experts. 

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