How to Cherish your Chapters of Love
Breakups are always a difficult time that forces people to re-evaluate every aspect of themselves, their partners, former partners, and plans for the future. Most breakups are rather contentious and in the case of marriages can be very costly. People simply grow apart. However, maintaining a good relationship is important not only to your current relationships but in many cases to your emotional health as well. How we handle former chapters of love often determines our happiness in the future. To what extent is different our happiness is affected is different from all, but everyone is affected by the way they CHERISH their chapters of love to some degree.
Most people do not even realize that CHERISH is such an important aspect of life that we forget that our promise to “love, honor and cherish” are the three words we utter during our marriage ceremonies. Despite the fact, we are dedicating our love and honor to our betrothed and promising to cherish them we simply often do not even know-how. It seems that generally we know very little about the meaning of CHERISH going into relationships, and rarely practice a level of CHERISH with those from our former relationships.
Perhaps before we utter these words during a marriage ceremony we should receive an instruction guide that clearly explains what love, honor, and cherish mean and how to commit to Cherishing your chapters of love, every day. It is quite obvious that in many, even in most cases, there is ongoing animosity, not compassion, and cherishing going on after divorces, even decades later. Maybe there is something more to this “CHERISH” than we realize in our wedding vows. Maybe cherishing is just as important as loving. To me, I do believe so.
Cherish is a way to “protect and care for someone lovingly”, “to hold someone dear”, “keep hope or ambition for someone’s prosperity. In other words, cherishing our former chapters of love is a way to actively endeavor to appreciate their contributions to our lives. We are all living much longer lives and inevitably we have chapters of love in our lives.
Some of those chapters of fiery and steamy and are short-lived, while others go on for years or decades and become the novels in our personal stories. No matter how long you love someone, or to what degree of passion you have for them, or once had, they still leave a mark on your life that lasts pretty much forever. “Love knows no boundaries in time and space, it is eternal, and everlasting, existing in unique chapters forever embedded in your heart” When you truly believe this statement (yes on the cover of my novelChaptersOfLove.com) you realize the importance of CHERISH.
When we love someone we share a spiritual entanglement of emotions with them that simply stays with us. So how do we cherish and why? Well, let’s tackle the why first. Just like the benefits of Living in Gratitude, and Paying it Forward, Cherishing relationships and former relationships bring us most of the same emotional benefits. What we need to do more of, is to learn how to cherish. To pick out the “good” moments, the benefits that the relationship has brought to your life, and hold onto those. Yes, of course, contentious endings really put a roadblock up for many of us. But what if, what if, you could just forgive the ending (most relationships do not end well as one partner is often still in love and the other is done) and go back one chapter to when it was great, or even good. Take what we can, and hold onto that? We are forgiving but not forgetting the “end” and we hold that part of the relationship as dear to us.
So how do we cherish another human being, and to what extent should we include “cherish” in our lives? Just as much as you hold gratitude, and paying if forward part of your life, so to should CHERISH get an equal amount of mind share. Of course, my way of being cherished is not necessarily my partner’s way of being cherished. Which means we need to Identify by asking and observing our partner how they wish to be cherished. Similarly, we need to communicate what makes us feel cherished. I thought as opposed to listing the numerous psychological, scientific, and emotional reasons that cherishing has on your life, more beneficial in this story is how to cherish. Let’s give that a whirl and I promise you the benefits are just as important as any other human act or emotion. You may even find yourself seeking out your former chapters of love to thank them for your chapter if you haven’t already.
Here is a list of ten ways to cherish your current relationships and your previous ones, to what degree you apply any of them is really up to you, and frankly changes as you learn to incorporate CHERISH into your life more.
Let’s start with some of the more obvious ways to cherish your partner or former partners…
Be sensitive to relationships and past relationships. Try to learn your partner or former partners’ feelings about things and try to avoid the “hot buttons” or the things that did not lend themselves to a successful outcome. In other words, anything that was unresolved before is resolved now. That is what a break up is for, or divorce is for, to put an end to any controversy or disagreement with a final decision, and then to move on. So don’t go back there. Just move forward. Try to stay on positive thoughts of positive memories. Leave the drama behind and just move on. Same with your new partner if there are areas where you have agreed to disagree, stay off-topic or allow the truce you called to stand and just consider it a compromise. Compromising and Cherish seem to work together really well.
Show Respect Always No matter what amount of time your former partner or new partner will spend in your life, or what time you have to share together, always show respect no matter what the situation. Very often especially with politics being so dramatic these days, people are easily swayed to think that winning or defending a “Position” is more important than simply understanding the different points of view we often have. When we disagree with respect we do not name call, change the topic to win the debate or discussion, get defensive, and attack during the conversation. These tactics may work in politics and on television but they do not benefit relationships at all. Always show respect and even when you disagree, do so gracefully.
Listen Nothing will annoy or setoff an argument more than when someone is simply “yessing” you to death or not really listening to what you are saying. When you are engaged in a conversation to be present, and pay attention when another person is speaking. Do not allow your cell phone messages or FB notification to distract you. Eye contact during conversation is affirming and shows that you respect what another is saying. Make time for real in-person connections and when you are using technology avoid multitasking. It’s simply how you respect another human being’s time when you are supposed to be LISTENING.
The tone of your voice: Body language is extremely important with regards to communication as is the TONE of your voice. How can someone you love or are being sensitive to their feelings appreciate what you are saying if you are saying it with aggression? The tone of what we say means as much as how we say it. Use a compassionate loving tone with everyone. Often people will feel misunderstood analyzing everything they said and realizing it was not what they said, but how they delivered the communication that turned someone off or insulted someone. Be compassionate and speak at a pace that you know the individual you are speaking to can make the most of what you are saying. Align yourself with their “Current” situation and use the kindest tone you have. Think about things in nature if you are trying to get over some animosity or if you are stressed out. Try not to allow your tone to mislead anyone as to how you feel about them. Be kind. Think kind thoughts. Try and reprogram yourself if necessary to speak with a kind tone. (Most of us need to re-establish trust in both current and past chapters so use an appropriate tone always) Learn to give and receive feedback in a way that empowers your partner and your relationships. Acknowledge each other’s feelings without having to defend. Be there, listen, and only provide advice when asked to. Most people want to be heard and even vent, but do not want you to feel they can not manage their own lives.
Accept the realities of limitations: Accept your partner’s limitations without comparing them to others and making them feel inadequate where they may fall short. If you still have feelings for a previous chapter of love then you will likely need to grieve what you are missing and do so in a way that does not involve seducing, attacking, or shaming your previous chapter. Grieve but do so privately and knowing that your grief will pass as soon as you start searching for your next chapter of love. When negotiating in a current chapter negotiate from good faith looking for a solution that doesn’t always benefit your wants and needs, but a solution that has an equal balance in taking your partner’s needs into consideration as well.
Be faithful and loyal. Decide that you won’t violate your partner’s trust in any way even if tempted. If you fall out of love and wish to be in another relationship – avoid hurting the other by ending your relationship before embarking on another one. Unless of course you and your partner have agreed otherwise to have an open or polyamorous relationship. Even if you are in an open relationship respect boundaries. Faithful and loyal mean different things to different people. Understand what your partners’ needs are with regard to faithful and loyal and your own, and share them if and when your feelings change. If you are in a relationship or are interacting with a previous chapter, betrayals of loyalty and trust are hard to get past. That being said, ending a relationship over a loss in faith or loyalty typically just means that one person was not willing to lose you even though they knew what they were doing betrayed your trust. It’s hard when we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves why was I not good enough to keep that trust? It is hard to go past it, so when anything ends with betrayal, try not to blame yourself, or even your former chapter, simply try to appreciate what you had, for as long as you had it. Move on. How do you show faithfulness and loyalty to a former chapter? Don’t gossip about them, do not share their secrets just because you know many of them, and try to be supportive and cherish what you had, not what you lost.
Quality Time Together: No matter what side of the relationship equation you are in, the during, past, or will have, spend quality time together talking, laughing, playing, and having fun. If with a former chapter of love and you do not want it to be as “intimate” call or write or use social media. But be present in that person’s life. If you are spending time together and it is a current chapter, make pleasure, your connection, and playtime a daily commitment. Remember wherever your time and attention is – that is also where your heart is. If you say you love your partner and that he/she is the most important person in your life show it by spending exclusive time together. Actions do speak louder than words. Prioritize time with your chapters of love, and of course, make your current chapter of love the most important. Spend the most time with your romantic partner. If you do not have a romantic partner right now, dedicate time and resources to finding your new chapter of love.
Cherish the romance: Everyone has had those relationships that were strictly physical and passion took over the moment. Even with those short-lived chapters cherish them. Appreciate them for what they were, healing moments of passion, love at first sight, but never as a mistake. Our hearts will bend our own rules at times when we are lonely or simply need passion in our lives. Don’t beat yourself up over a “mistake” no relationships are mistakes, they are just neat to provide us with different benefits, some physical, some lessons, some who really knows??? But eventually, the reason will reveal itself. Cherish them. Cherish the all. And be kind to your former chapters. For your current chapter, learn what a partner wants, needs, and enjoys. Bring playfulness into your sex life.
Make Decisions Together: Consult with each other about decisions, plans, finances, social outings, vacations, pretty much everything. Do not commit you or your partner to something without discussing it with them. Your priority should always be your partner and empowering your relationship. Don’t let anyone or anything come between you. When referring to a previous chapter of love that you still have business with, children that you are co-parenting with, or any other going forward interaction, rebuild the trust and make any decisions that affect either of you together. When that fails, try arbitration or moderation, but by all means, try to avoid the legal choices. Legal choices should always only be used as the last course of action on major issues. Try not to sweat the small stuff and be as cooperative with former chapters of love as you would be with your own boss. Appreciate and cherish the relationship for what it has morphed into and what it is, not always for what it was. What it was was a chapter, move on and show your appreciation for what you had, or what you have now.
Make Meaningful Sacrifices: All relationships are based on compromise and give and take. But even if you have given and it is your turn to take, sometimes you just have to take one for the team. The team being your relationships, so be willing to give up something you would like, or something that you would like to do, in order to make a sacrifice that will benefit the overall relationship. In your current relationship be willing to give “the biggest piece of the pie”, the last slice of pizza, the remote control. Many boast that we would sacrifice our life for our romantic partners, yet we don’t think of giving up Sunday Football to take a walk on the beach with our partners!
And most importantly be the spiritual leader in your own life. You will love yourself even more for it! Cherish your life and cherish your former chapters of love. Most of all, cherish your family and your friends. The more you show that you cherish and respect your relationships the better you will feel in life. Treat relationships as spiritual bonds that last forever as they do even if it is only within our hearts and not physically. And remember to always live in gratitude, pay it forward, and to cherish your chapters of love.