Huffpost Weddings
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Doug and Leslie Gustafson Headshot

8 Ways to Grow Love

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
LOVE FIELD
Tim Robberts via Getty Images

Love thrives in the bedrock of a man or woman's heart, leaks out into the fabric of a caring bond with your lover, and seeks expression in an infinite number of ways. When you hold a baby you feel love. When men and women touch each other intimately, it becomes more than just sex or erotic passion -- if fed by tenderness, affection and a loving spirit between husband and wife. It's all about love.

Your capacity for love defines you as a human being, fills up your soul with passion and teaches you about your hang ups, limitations, calling in life and the joy you have to offer others. Love heals wounds and carries you through the deepest waters of conflict and adversity.

Ultimately, love is a force unlike any other -- a power that sweeps through and defines your personal history and brings hope and wisdom to your present journey. It can truly change your world, turn it upside down with mystery and fun, and becomes the glue that holds two lovers in tandem as they ride through the intricate streets of life.

Where does this power called love come from? Within the depths of your own heart, implanted by life, the Spirit and experience. Here, you learn to listen to love's voice as it moves you to new heights and compels you to foster a dynamite passion for your lover, your mate in life.

For men, the power of love grows when they:

1. Practice explosive tenderness and affection.

Men struggle to define softness and tenderness as masculine; yet they can rock a woman's world and provide a backdrop for intimacy and authenticity. Close your eyes and think of times when you felt close and fond of your lover -- inside and outside the bedroom. Remind yourself of all the ways you can bring tender care to your wife's presence. What are all the ways you begin reaching out to your lover in tender ways with words, touch and other action?

2. Learn to better identify needs and wants, and to support each other in getting these met.

Begin a personal study of what you, as a human being, need to feel whole and complete. Include ideas about love, belonging, respect and empathy. Then discover what women need to feel whole, complete and loved by their man. Create an action plan to start loving habits that meet these needs.

3. Define their best self and live it out.

This means a careful identification of your core values -- what you really believe about life and love that brings integrity to all your decisions in life. Then practice each one -- make them habits you live by.

4. Become the sexiest man alive.

Work on your physical self and care for it. Get in shape. But more importantly, practice being romantic. Flirt with your wife. Make her feel special and beautiful -- for her body, but also her mind! Start with the talent of "listening" empathically and consistently -- yes, to everything she wants to talk about!

For women, the power of love grows when they:

1. Practice inner beauty.

This means defining your true identity by your own values and own model of womanhood. This involves ignoring the "beauty" messages from magazine and media and coming up with your own ways of identifying what inner beauty means -- centered on your character and personality.

2. Learn to recognize and talk about their need for care and affection.

So many woman just hold it inside and bleed to death emotionally without others knowing. Learn to affirm your deepest needs and find healthy ways to get those needs met. Talk to your lover about what you want and expect and give him room to grow in his capacity to give this kind of love.

3. Honor the differences between men and women.

This creates expectations consistent with the challenges men face in knowing and owning their true feelings and desires. This involves recognizing the gift you have to bring out the best in your man by modeling a deeper connection with your own needs and demonstrating how this works in the way you love him. Men thrive on respect and often doubt their ability to bring love into their mate's life.

4. Become the sexiest woman alive.

Work on your physical self, but more importantly, your inner beauty. Reach out to your man with deep respect that mirrors the respect you learn to hold for yourself. Define surrendering to your mate as a choice, not an obligation, knowing it comes from your own femininity and strength.

Love means power. Power that knows no limits. That moves mountains and creates joy, starts in the soul and pounds against the shoreline of life until no one can ignore it. And while we strive to find it in all our relationships in life, may we never fail to look beneath our own interior walls where we see it rest on the organs of hope and enduring peace. Waiting for release, like breath from our lungs that seeps into the air and touches the soul of our best friend, our lover for life.

Such is the power of love.