You're going along in your relationship for 7 years now, it's a little on the hum-drum side, but hey! No major fights, no major hassles, and yes, you're way past the honeymoon stage, but what can you expect? You're both busy with work and the kids, church or community activities, what with one thing and another, who has time for a lot of romance? You're a good team and you love each other, and that should be enough for anybody.

Or so you think . . . until he/she announces that it's not enough . . . and they're seriously thinking about leaving the relationship. Whoa! You are now on red alert - out comes the full court press: walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, lingerie, flowers, soulful discussions, holding hands by the fire, date-night movies, the works. The relationship is rekindled, you breathe a sigh of relief . . . and without even realizing it, slip back into your old patterns of a quick peck on the lips instead of that lingering kiss, the occasional kid-friendly movie instead of candlelight dinners and sleeping in your sweats which leads mostly to - well, sleeping. Until the next red alert, when once again, you'll summon up the goods to get that love flame burning bright, and on and on you go.
What a shame! Why is it that it takes a crisis for us to really pay loving attention to our mates? Why is it only when the love is threatened that we wake up to how much we appreciate our relationships and jump in to do what it takes to nurture them?

Love is precious. Love is a gift beyond measure, beyond price. When you have the great good fortune to love and be loved, you have a responsibility to that love, and that is - simply - to appreciate it. To value the relationship enough to invest the time and effort to actively, proactively, let your mate know - he/she is loved.

How do you let your mate know they are loved? You treat your mate in ways that show that he/she matters, that they are important to you. That means smiling when they walk in the door, asking how their day went and actually listening to what they have to say. It means deliberately setting aside time to do things together that you both enjoy. It means being interested in what is of interest to your mate. It means listening when you don't agree with them, respecting their right to their opinion when you're not on the same page. It means never making your mate wrong or stupid just because they have a different way of going about things. And oh yes - it means a regular dose of walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, lingerie, flowers, soulful discussions, holding hands by the fire, date-night movies, the works.

It may not be as exciting to regularly love your mate. You may not have that love-threatened-now-rescued thrilling high, true. But you will have a sustained, fulfilling passion of heart, mind and soul, with lots of spontaneous highs when you least expect them. You will know the true fullness of love as you genuinely, wholeheartedly, unreservedly - appreciate it.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent books is "The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing, 2005). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Noelle welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Noelle anytime at or