LOVE, by its very nature, is complex — for some people it's the way the person makes them feel, the things the person says, while for others the person's actions trump everything else. And while the definition of love may be a never-ending debate, relationship counsellor Wayne Powell has shared a number of ways that you can remind your partner that you love him/her this year by focusing on a different theme each month.
JANUARY — FORGIVENESS
January is the month of new beginnings; it is the opportunity for a fresh start. But in order to get a clean slate, Powell says forgiveness must first be achieved. So if you feel that you have wronged your partner in any way or could have handled a situation which arose in the previous year/s in a better way, this is your opportunity to say, “I have disappointed you on many occasions, please forgive me.”
FEBRUARY — COMMITMENT
After starting with a clean slate, try to focus on the health of your relationship. Integral to this is commitment. This means that you will commit yourself to your partner and to the relationship – this means, for example, that you will always remain loyal to your partner and the relationship.
MARCH — COMMUNICATION
Communication is important to the health of every relationship. It is required to ensure that there is little or no room for miscommunication so that partners feel comfortable discussing anything which they have concerns about in an effort to always maintain mutual understanding. So no matter how upset you may be, keep the lines of communication open, and in the process work on being the kind of partner that your significant other feels comfortable talking to about anything.
APRIL — INTIMACY
Of course, as is common knowledge, intimacy is the glue for every relationship. Work on being kinder to your partner, spending more time with him or her, doing things for him or her without them having to ask. This will help you to connect with your partner emotionally.
MAY — TRUST
In order for you to feel comfortable in your relationship, trust must be established. This means that you believe that your partner is reliable, that you have confidence in them, and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. Acts such as cheating and lying as well as other forms of betrayal can significantly impair your ability to trust. And while it is not easy to trust, especially when we see so many couples trampling on the principles of trust, you shouldn't allow this to influence your behaviour in your relationship.
JUNE — HONESTY
Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. Honesty calls on your ability to always speak the truth, to never hide things from your partner, especially when it will hurt him/her in the long run. This year, pledge to be more “up front” with your partner. This will even allow you and your partner room to work on things.
JULY — TEAM PLAYER
Relationships are a partnership; your partner is that one person that should be on your team by default who will motivate, encourage and stay with you, even while you struggle through the hardships. This means that you will need to lean on each other for support in all that you do so that you can achieve your shared goals.
AUGUST — SUPPORT
Being heard, seen, and understood by your partner is important in a relationship. You need someone who will be kind but firm and truthful, someone who will consider your needs and is willing to come to a compromise and who wants to help you to become to the best version of yourself. Above all, being supportive means having your partner's back, and standing with him/her through thick and thin.
SEPTEMBER — FRIEND
Having a friend in your partner is one of the best gifts that you can have. In a relationship you should be able to trust your partner enough to tell him or her almost anything personal and to lend yourself to your partner as he/she needs you. In your relationship, always pledge to be available and accessible to your partner.
OCTOBER — RESPECT
Respect is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship. This means that you not only appreciate your partner as a whole person, but also as a fraction of you. You also value them, and know that they have different experiences, opinions, needs, dreams and aspirations than you do, and you can respect that.
NOVEMBER — VULNERABILITY
This might not sound like a trait that you want to be open about, but it is very important to forming, building and maintaining a happy, healthy relationship. When you embrace vulnerability you accept and embrace a pledge to be more open and to refrain from “locking” your partner out.
DECEMBER — APPRECIATION
Showing appreciation for your partner is something that you should aim for on a daily basis. It can be easy to get caught up in the pattern of not showing appreciation because the person does something for you continuously or because you feel it is your partner's duty, and this can lead to your partner feeling that they are being taken for granted. Showing appreciation for your partner is as simple as giving him/her your full attention when he/she is speaking, thanking your partner for doing something for you, or by simply saying 'thank you for being there for me'.