By AM Northwest Staff
"Romance 101, the 4 essential C's "
Marriage and Family Therapist, Kelly Hoffman, MS had advice for putting REAL ROMANCE into your relationship with the 4 Essential C's. They are; Courtesy, Compliments, Chivalry, and Charm . For your own love advice you can contact Kelly at 503-962-9452.
- Courtesy: This essential c is please, thank you, and so much more. Familiarity can cause us to forget to use the little courtesies that really make our partners feel special. Of course please and thank you are important first steps, if you aren't doing them start NOW!, but consideration also includes questions like "can I get you anything while I am up?" or "How are you feeling today?". I have found that getting couples to show courtesy to one another IMMEDIATELY brings all kinds of good feelings back into the relationship. What do I have them do? We look at interaction patterns, how do you leave the house? Do you go to your spouse and show them the courtesy of kissing them hello/goodbye? Do you extend them the courtesy of actually looking up from what you are doing when they talk to you or do you just grunt and feel imposed upon that they would dare interrupt you? How do you end your day, do you drift off to bed at different times or do you connect and respect one another? All of these little moments in the day are places where a little courtesy can have an amplifying effect on your romantic feelings. Little courtesies show that the other person is important to you, and they prepare the way and create a feeling of safety where sweet, tender, romantic feelings can flourish. This is the back bone of a romantic, intimate, relationship.
- Compliments: These seem like a no-brainer, but it amazes me how many people do not know how to give a good compliment. So if you are among the clueless on this subject, grab a pencil. First, it has to be sincere. That means you have to really mean it, really feel it, really think it. If you don't, don't say it, don't even open your mouth, you'll just get in trouble or worse, be teaching your partner that the best they can expect from you are lies. When you compliment, find something you really like, appreciate, and/or admire about the other person. Now before you say anything, take a moment and assess, are they really paying attention to what you are saying? When I counsel couples, I can't tell you how many times I have to point out compliments that go unnoticed. It's like people learn to ignore sincere, kind words from one another. STOP ignoring compliments, you'll be happier! If you are giving a compliment, make eye-contact; if necessary repeat the compliment, slow down your speech, hold hands, whatever it takes to get your spouse really listening to you. If you are being complimented, have the good grace to accept it, to listen, to feel good inside, don't brush it off. Too often I see relationships where one spouse is really scared to give a compliment! How Crazy! And why? Because when you brush off a compliment you are communicating to the giver that you don't think what they have to say is important, you're saying that you don't think they are important. So listen to one another's compliments, give them and receive them, build a better relationship and lay the foundation for romance.
- Chivalry: Mmmmm, this is my personal favorite. This is the door opening, arm holding, coat-putting-on-old-fashioned-manners that most men and women feel so awkward about nowadays. It's interesting that I like this c so much, because when I first started dating my husband/then boyfriend I did not like having my car door opened, I felt so awkward and uncomfortable; it was foreign to me as I am sure it is foreign to many. But I realized as we grew to know one another, I was so awkward because he was treating me like Royalty, like I really mattered to him and that he respected and cherished me as a person. I love it now and quite shamelessly demand chivalry every chance I get. Now, for women, we don't naturally fall into the door opening category, but if it works for you, go for it. I find that I just have to think to myself: what can I do that will show Joseph that I value him, that I think he is my knight in shining armor/prince charming? I personally have never particularly felt like I needed a prince charming, I'm a do it yourselfer, and I have had to learn that allowing someone to be kind to you, to treat you well, is not a sign of weakness. So I practice chivalry on my husband by responding to how he treats me with maturity and appreciation.
- Charm: The final c, and you only get this one by practicing the other 3. This is kind of the take no prisoner's approach, you have to be willing to be romantic and in love at all costs, even if others think you quirky, or you come off sounding cheezy . To be charming is to be utterly delighted by your partner, who they are, how they act, what they look like. That doesn't mean your partner has to be perfect, rather, you have to perfect how you view your partner. To be charming you must practice courtesy, compliments and chivalry with reckless abandon. To proclaim your high opinion of your partner without a moment's hesitation. To give compliments in front of other people and with sincerity. Charm is tricky because it is only seen by others; it is hard to know when you get it right, but when you do it can make your partner melt, it will make them feel special and cherished and loved. Charm is unique to every individual, you may have to experiment to find out what actions make you charming to your spouse, but the common denominator that charming, romantic people share is a whole hearted belief that their partner is obviously wonderful, worthy of respect, and that no one can fail to see it.
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