How To Find Love: Tips for Building Lasting Relationships
Spice up your dating life - and find the soulmate connection that they write movies about - with these lessons on lasting love from trusted marriage counsellors, relationship experts, and love gurus
by Uptime Staff / 2021-08-02
Finding your one true love: it’s not half as easy as they make it out to be in movies, is it?
Rom-coms make the quest for love look like an epic romantic journey, but the truth is, modern-day dating can sometimes feel less like grand gestures of love at the top of the Empire State Building, and more like skipping dessert to save yourself from awkward small talk.
As we edge slowly into a post-pandemic world, you probably feel ready to start putting yourself out there and looking for that ‘special someone’ again. (No matter what anyone says, virtual dating just wasn’t quite the same, was it?)
Because of this, we’ve picked out some top tips for you to bear in mind while you start re-downloading Hinge, Tinder, Bumble, or POM (the new dating app based entirely around your music taste.) We’ve handpicked the best books and courses to compile some important lessons on finding love, as well as offering tips for nurturing longer-term relationships.
The key takeaway? To attract lasting love, you’ve got to learn how to fall in love with yourself first.
Unf*ck Your Relationships - Gary John Bishop
At one point in our lives, we’ve all been guilty of getting too in our heads about something. We’re all familiar with that inner critic inside us that just won’t shut up about negative thoughts about ourselves. If we don’t keep this critic in check, it starts affecting our view of ourselves - and, because of this, our relationships with others.
It’s important that we learn how to silence those thoughts and address the issues that prevent us from forming wonderful relationships.
Gary John Bishop wants us to rebuild the habits that lead to a positive change - not just in our relationships, but in ourselves as well. Bishop shows us that through a combination of vulnerability, willingness and starting with OURSELVES, we can start building rewarding, loving, healthy long-term relationships with others.
Chapman guides us through the process by teaching us:
- Removing doubts about contemporary relationship strategies and structures
- Why our relationships must be tended like a garden
- Why you need to stop trying to be perfect, and how you can learn to be authentically you
- Exposing the hidden judgements and expectations that stop our relationships from living up to their potential, and providing the necessary steps for a powerful ‘relationship reinvention’
Understanding the power of self-love is a pivotal first lesson in finding love. Once you’ve become better acquainted with your own self-sabotaging behaviors, you can abandon your own unhealthy patterns and start building happier, healthier relationships with others.
How To Love - Thich Nhat Hanh
You’ve probably heard of the term ‘mindfulness’ before, but do you know why learning to check in with yourself is the key to building deep connections with others?
How to Love, written by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches the underrated importance of daily meditation and mindfulness in finding success in your love life.
Modern life is busy, and full of distractions; meditation is a key skill for learning how not to get lost in the noise. Learning how to properly pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings, instead of ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away, is a life-changing skill - and, even better, it’ll teach you how to better understand the people around you too.
This is particularly important for when you enter a serious, long-term relationship. Your ability to understand and empathize with your special someone determines how you’ll love them.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that love can be broken down into four essential rules:
- We can only truly love another person when we truly love ourselves. The truth is, most of us are a work-in-progress. We all have flaws and insecurities we’re still working through. Being more aware of yourself and your flaws - and choosing to love yourself despite them - is one of the most important journeys you’ll ever go through. Once you properly love yourself, you can start transferring that love to another person in a healthy, secure way.
- Love is Understanding. You can’t build a long-term relationship with your special someone if you don’t understand what makes them happy, what makes them sad, and everything in-between. This is about learning to pay attention, and to listen.
- Understanding leads to compassion. In order to truly love another person, you need to be able to empathize with them. If you run into a problem or disagreement - which you inevitably will, somewhere down the line - it’s important that you can put yourself in their shoes and see where they’re coming from.
- Listening in a deep way and loving speech are important ways of showing love. Treat others how you want to be treated - it’s really as simple as that. We all like to have a space to vent when we’re upset, and all know how good it feels when someone you love gives you a genuine, earnest compliment. Extending that same courtesy to our significant other shows we really love them, and see them as true extensions of ourselves.
The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
There’s nothing better than the honeymoon phase of a new relationship: the feeling of falling in love, and all the butterflies, giddiness, and excitement that comes with it. However, we all progress through this intense early stage eventually, and reality starts to set in. At the beginning, it’s easy to find compromises because you just want to please and impress your partner. But when the relationship settles into something more comfortable, you’ll likely start running into a few differences in character, miscommunications, and conflicts.
To tackle this new stage in the relationship, it’s important that you know you can make each other feel special. As we learn in Gary Chapman’s groundbreaking text, each person has their own love language - the way that they express their love to others - and it normally fits into one of the following 5 categories.
- Quality Time. This concept centers around finding regular time to spend time together - like having a date night once a week, for example. This love language is about expressing our love and affection by giving our loved ones our undivided time and attention.
- Words of affirmation. Those who prefer this love language prefer verbal declarations of love. They love compliments and encouraging words, often telling their partners how much they appreciate them. They respond well to encouragement and hearing the words and reasons behind their partner’s love for them.
- Acts of service. This is best described by doing something for your partner that you know they’d like, like helping them tackle their hefty workload or to-do-list; in essence, it’s about giving up some of your time and resources to take on some of their responsibilities, like cooking them a meal after a long day, or offering to help with cleaning.
- Receiving gifts. Yes, this is about showing love through gifts - but, more importantly, it’s about the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gifts. Personalized gifts especially show that you know, care, and value your partner.
- Physical touch. This refers to expressing and receiving affection through touch, physical closeness, and other forms of physical connection, such as holding hands and kisses.
Once you know your partner’s love language - as well as your own - you can adjust how you express love to them, in order to make your special someone feel truly special.
Hot tip: you can normally spot someone’s love language by paying attention to how they give it to others.
Love, Sex, and Staying Warm: Creating A Vital Relationship - Neil Rosenthal
Why do some relationships fail to stand the test of time? Here, marriage counsellor Neil Rosenthal breaks down the key lessons for keeping the flame alive, even years after you first got together.
Rom-coms often come to a close just as a couple finally get together, but in doing so, they miss teaching a vital lesson: long-term relationships take work.
Rosenthal has strategically designed this book to help us strengthen our relationships and bring the passion and romance back into them. His key lessons include:
- Why you’re approaching arguments with your partner the wrong way
- How to avoid disconnection
- Why a healthy sex life is about more than just sex
If you’re ever looking to inject some romance back into your connection with someone, then this book is a must-read.
Relationship Goals: How To Win At Dating, Marriage, and Sex - Michael Todd
We’re all familiar with the #relationshipgoals hashtag - it’s been floating around social media for years now, both ironically and otherwise.
Unfortunately, pop culture has a harmful influence on the expectations we have about how our love life ‘should’ be. Of course, social media only gives us half the story. Posts like #relationshipgoals sets us unrealistic standards about our romantic relationships, without actually showing the realities of the relationships we’re idolizing in the first place.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom though. Michael Todd teaches us how we can become our very own ‘relationship goals’ - by showing us why we should aspire to real relationships, filled with everyday life moments, and the little things that truly form the foundation of lasting relationships. His lessons include:
- Don’t try to find the perfect person. We should focus on being the best version of ourselves instead.
- Date yourself first. Becoming the best person we can be during our single years is a sure way to guarantee a strong relationship.
- Prioritise the relationship. We should keep ‘courting’ our spouse even after we’re married. Self-improvement is a lifelong journey.