The Seven Keys To Love

Description of the Seven Keys to Love

Key #1: Secure Attachment. To be human is to be emotionally connected to others. The foundation of all successful relationships is safety, security, and trust, the very same emotions that good mothers communicate to their infants. Couples and families with this foundation know they can turn toward each other during periods of stress and anxiety. In contrast, couples and families in crisis tend to turn away, isolate, or attack, making things worse.

Key #2: Acceptance. Successful families and couples understand the importance of acceptance. They accept each other as they are, understand each other’s foibles and flaws, and turn toward each other in working our issues. Acceptance calms and soothes insecurities, and conveys safety, security, and trust. Most importantly, acceptance allows for being in the present moment with the ability to take action rather than being reactive, helpless and feeling bad, challenging the reality of what is happening. Acceptance of what is provides the necessary foundations for change, for what can be.

Key #3: Live Aloha, Cherish Ohana. Aloha means, among other things, hello, goodbye, love, compassion, peace and good wishes. Ohana means “family.” As was so wonderfully stated in Lilo and Stitch, Ohana means you’re never alone.  Together, these words convey our belonging to others with a common humanity. Their essence is even better defined as a feeling in the heart than by words. Living aloha, cherishing ohana is the shift from me to we in action. In truth, every relationship has conflicts, but the cost of conflicts can be minimized. In fact, almost all conflicts within families and couples have never get resolved. When truly important, the rock of a relationship is the ability to confront one another with love and compassion. Strong emotions, however, too often undermine the ability to listen. Learn to think before starting conflicts, to ask if conflict is the way to get what you really want, and how to reassure each other that the relationship is sound and each of you are safe, even when conflicts occur.

Key #4: Play. Across all mammals, play is the universal language of learning. Play shows a capacity for spontaneity and trust in relationships. Play is based upon the ability to pay attention to “news of difference” and to respond with curiosity and kindness. When couples play, each person stops self-consciously monitoring for presentation, and instead begins to enjoy the presence and communication of the other. Playfulness can, and often does exist with seriousness. Playfulness becomes a hallmark of couples and families who are secure with each other and becomes a primary way to help cope with stressful times and situations.

Key #5. Little Things Matter, and So Do the Big. Little things are important in showing consideration. They send messages that “I’m thinking about you,” and “you are special to me,” that constantly fortify a secure attachment, while keeping romance alive. Little things are the acts and attitudes of turning towards each other. This can be as simple as sharing the last bites of ice cream to as obvious as repairing the inevitable hurts that come in relationship. This need is as deep as the loving mother responding to her young babies cries for comfort and attention. Successful couples also nurture what is most important for each other and the relationship. Big things from the past include remember those feelings of falling in love and those most special moments. Big things in the present include helping each other to notice and reflect on the blessings of now. Big things in the future are the hopes and dreams together and individually that you hold sacred and nourish.

Key #6: Be kind to your conflicts: Conflict is an inevitable part of every relationship, but the damage caused by conflict can be addressed and minimized. Conflicts arise when someone becomes reactive to “news of difference.” Successful couples are able to understand their partner’s positions and be sensitive to the depth of meaning the other person has around this issue. Seventy percent of arguments never get resolved, even in the happiest of couples. Understanding each other allows partners to move beyond the hurt of the conflict. Successful couples also monitor and are sensitive to the feelings of their partner, especially negative and hurt feelings. By being tuned into our partners, we ensure that feelings of safety and security are always in the foreground.

Key #7 Know Thyself. No matter what adversities you’ve faced, you must construct your own “hero’s tale,” a narrative that makes sense of your life experiences. With a history of turning toward each other, you can incorporate your partner into this tale, and describe how you’ve overcome adversities together. Ways to do this are simple and easily learnable.