Thursday, January 19, 2012

10 Better Ways to Show Your Love

From making food to giving compliments and, you know, just showing up, these are the simple tricks to making your relationship go the distance and keep your love alive.

By Tom Chiarella

Make a Decision
This list works from four principles: making, giving, doing, saying. That is the order of things, too. Making is first. First thing: make a decision. For instance, decide: you are not afraid (not afraid to pick out flowers or to say what you think). Decide: you are not worried about yourself (and what you might or might not get from this endeavor). Decide: you don't deserve anything from love, so you expect nothing. (This, friends, is power.) Make a decision that recognizes that the only thing you can control is your own behavior.

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Make Food
Observe what she likes. Stock your kitchen. Start with a small plate of at least three well-chosen elements: olives, chocolate, expensive cheese. Like that. Move on to breakfast if you're lucky (learn how to cook an omelet), or to dinner's humblest offerings: a savory soup, salad, bread and expensive store-bought dessert. Don't apologize for your shortcomings as a cook. Making food is an assertion of capability. Even a bad meal, made for another, tells that person you will try, that you will come back stronger and better informed.

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Give a Gift
Pick it by laying your hands on it. This implies: getting off the couch and giving something that matters. Forget the Internet. Forget anything you can order over the Internet: flowers, perfume, suggestions for the reading club, shake-weights. The Internet is a gas cloud of binary code — long strings of ones and zeros. Don't give in to the coding. Instead, give her something off your dresser. Give her a drawer in your dresser. Give her an order of take-out sushi at work. Then, forgetting reciprocation entirely, assess how that makes you feel.

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Give Compliments
Lead with one when you walk in the room. Pull her aside for another when you leave the room together. Mean what you say. Women listen to what you appreciate in them. Don't lie about her hair if you don't really like it.

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Give Your Appreciation
I asked my girlfriend: How did your dad show your mom that he loved her? Her response: "Ceaseless appreciation of everything she did for him. He treated everything she did as if it were a surprise, as if it were the first time he'd ever had her chili or smelled her perfume. He noted every routine kindness. And he loved her the same way, consistently, even when she got fat." Don't worry about this last thing. Just appreciate what you have and it won't be an issue anyway.

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Make a Gesture of Your Very Own
When I was fourteen I opened my family's refrigerator one evening and discovered a plate of antipasto in which every piece of food on the plate had been cut in the shape of Valentine hearts. I pulled it out, went and thanked my mom who was watching TV. She smiled and said, "That's for me. I can't stand that salty meat, so I left it there all day just to look at it. That's how your father lets me know he loves me." My father had, before leaving the house that morning, shaped everything on every flat surface into hearts. "It's his little thing. It's what he does," my mother said. "It's so corny, but it works." I've never tried it. That was his material. But I got the point. Small gestures are a pleasure of love.

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Be Dominant
Aggressiveness and strength can be a form of completion. Saying what you want, even gruffly, is a means of telling the person you are speaking to that you actually want them, particularly. The message here is: Be strong. Don't be constantly compliant and cooperative. Women want to be heard, but they don't want to push you around. So — despite all my urging to be humble, self-contained, to strip yourself of expectations — be honest about what you need, what you like and what you want. Don't force it, but don't back off either.

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Be Passive
I'm talking about letting the needs of the other supersede the needs of the self. Surrender. Give in. Do what she wants, the way she wants it. You can be sure a good woman knows the value of a small surrender. Despite the moronic hegemony of lite-beer commercials in the framing of American male self-conception, there is nothing wrong with going shopping now and then, in reading a book she gives you, in listening to her expansive stories about conflicts at work. You want her to watch games with you, to watch you play softball, to sit around and eat wings once in a while, right? Lookie there, I'm in the middle of a Miller Lite commercial as we speak. dating website with webcam chat

Tell Her What You Are
Make a list of all your flaws, foibles and missteps. Be honest. A legal pad is your best friend here. Just put your head down and admit your shortcomings, your weaknesses, your mistakes. Use numbers. Remember: Don't sell it. Just tell it. You will never be sorry you did, not five days later, or five years. Don't ask for forgiveness. This is an assertion, too, not an apology. If you're lucky, she'll be inspired to do the same. And the two of you will undo years of deception. Save your best stuff if you must, leave blank lines, whatever. But understand that if you are not willing to open up in this way, at least in some fashion, then you probably aren't in love.

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Just Show Up
And tell her something. Deliver the message in person. Avoid texting, cell phones, e-mails. Walk to your car, drive across the city, find a parking spot, go into her office, suffer the niceties and small talk of her inane office workers, greet her, pull her to the side and tell her that you were thinking about how much you love the way she looks in her underwear. She'll know what you did to get there, that it meant something to you. She'll understand the geography you crossed to get to this point and apprehend the pure outlines of your desire. You can also tell her you love her this way. But personally, I'd wait on that.

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10 Better Ways to Show Your Love


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