seven rules for intentional love

This is a guest post by Amber from Blonde & Balanced, a blog about striking a balance in life, health, and money.

7 Ways to Love Intentionally

This June, I wore a fitted, white, satin gown as I walked down the center aisle of my church to marry my then-boyfriend of 4 years.  We met almost 6 years ago when we were hired within weeks of each other at the same accounting company.  (Insert joke here about how we bonded over bean counting!)

In a society where divorce is the norm, my now-husband and I have strived to go against the norm and design our relationship with our own intentions.  We’ve worked hard to not allow outside factors to influence our relationship.  We bring out the best in each other and foster each other’s strengths.  But, it takes intentional work to maintain this kind of relationship.

Here are 7 intentional relationship “rules” we follow to keep our bond strong and exciting:

  1. Keep Secrets.  People are nosey curious.  They’ll wonder why you make the decisions that you do and what your relationship is like behind closed doors.  Keep them wondering by ignoring them.  Your relationship is sacred and special (as corny as it sounds, you have to believe this for it to grow and strengthen), so don’t blab to others about the secrets that lie within.
  2. Have Two Games.  An older and wiser – and very happy – couple once told my husband and I that every happy couple has to play two games together regularly: a board game and an outdoor game.  Too often, you can become like strangers passing in the night with your spouse or significant other, so this allows you to set aside intentional time to grow together as a couple.  My husband and I are already fierce ping-pong players, but we’re working on the board game.  Maybe Words With Friends counts?
  3. Be Spiritual Together.  You don’t have to be religious or even believe in the same thing.  But, if you regularly practice some sort of faith or spiritual practice together, it will bring you closer than you ever thought you could be.  Discussing your thoughts about the bigger picture is very intimate and enlightening.
  4. Let’s Get Physical, Physical!  No explanation necessary.  This is definitely an important component of a strong relationship.  And if there doesn’t seem to be time for it …  make intentional plans for it!
  5. Be Mindful of Health.  Health is a very intimate and sensitive subject, so working together to better one another’s health will bring you closer.  Work out together.  Go on nightly walks.  Play tennis.  Learn to cook a healthy meal together.  Buy a juicer and create some fancy juice recipes.  Apply sunscreen on each other … you get the picture!
  6. Haters Gonna Hate.  There will always be people that want to bring your relationship down.  People hate change and, unfortunately, hate seeing others happy (especially when they are unhappy themselves).  Make it a point to not allow outside factors to influence your relationship.  You both deserve better.
  7. Manners!  With your significant other, it’s easy to let manners go out the door as soon as you get comfortable.  Set the ground rules early on by not calling each other names, not bringing each other down, not criticizing, and being respectful.  It’s hard to do, but there is no doubt that it creates an underlying respect for your significant other that is super important to a lasting relationship.

Love is probably the most significant aspect of our lives, so it only makes sense to approach our relationships intentionally – just like with everything else in our lives!



This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Love your tips, Amber.

    Gretchen Rubin mentioned #2 in The Happiness Project and I thought it was so wise. My husband and I like to throw a frisbee around outside. We need an indoor game though. Does cooking count?

    “Keep secrets” also stuck out to me. I tend to be an open book (especially with a blog about my married life) and I think if someone asked me a question about our relationship, I’d probably answer it. But you’re right, our relationship is sacred and special and it could strengthen our relationship to have things that are just between the two of us. I’m definitely going to spend some more time thinking about this one.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Good post. I like 1, 2, 4, and 7 best.
    The idea of having two games is different, I’ll keep that in mind. I am a fan of Amber’s blog too.

  3. Heather

    Keeping secrets is something that a lot of us could work on. I think it’s natural to share a play by play with your girlfriends but it does bite you in the butt from time to time. Excellent post!

  4. Jessica C

    These are beautiful reminders! I especially like #1- a good reminder not to be a blabbermouth. Thanks for sharing these!

  5. Wonderful article! I really like these and have been working on some of them already with my boyfriend. We’d fallen into a rut recently and he told me that his grandparents, at their 60th (or 70th?) wedding anniversary, said that what kept them strong all those decades was simple … “We did a lot of stuff together.” So we are working on “doing more stuff” – cleaning together, walking the dog, talking vs. watching TV – being more intentional in our relationship. This article is a really great reinforcement of some of the things we’ve been discovering.

  6. francine

    this is fantastic. i’m recently engaged and was just thinking over how i could better love my fiance. thank you for sharing!

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