Make a “love” investment

Whether it’s a spousal, parent/child relationship, or any other type of family bond, the key to a loving and happy relationship is investing in it. All relationships require some form of investment for the relationship to grow stronger. Strong, loving relationships have been shown to have multiple benefits.

When we make no effort to invest in our relationships, it’s like following the stock market without ever buying stocks. The relationship, like your stock portfolio, will never see growth. We must make a real investment of “love” that compels us to devote our attention and efforts to this relationship in order to derive concrete benefits from it.

Showing love and affection to our family helps build security, trust and esteem. When we are actively involved in long-term relationships, we are not only helping the person we love, but also benefiting from the relationship. According to Harry Reis, Ph.D., co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Relations, feeling connected to others, respected and valued by others, and feeling a sense of belonging can actually improve our health. Making an investment of “love” can nurture our relationships and make them more beneficial.

One way to make an investment is to learn what your partner’s or child’s love language is. Everyone has a favorite way of receiving affection from others and it’s often how we show our affection to those we love. By taking the time to figure out your primary love language, you can improve your satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) in your relationship and avoid potential conflict. The website offers a free assessment to help you learn your main love language and descriptions of each language.

Another way to invest in your relationships is to improve your communication and conflict resolution skills. Everyone at one time or another said something that wasn’t what they meant. My husband and I actually have a pact that if one of us says something that could be taken multiple ways, we’ll give the other the benefit of the doubt and take it the best way we can. We know we love each other and we’re not deliberately trying to say something to hurt each other. If this does not help clear up any misunderstandings or hurt feelings, we ask for clarification.

Finally, celebrating each other’s successes is a key investment in any relationship. A Swedish proverb says: A pain shared is half a pain; shared joy is a double joy. Arthur Aron, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, says that while support during a crisis is important, support during good times is even more beneficial and a way vital to nurture your relationships. Most people care more about the positive opinion of their loved one than having a big crowd cheering them on.

Take the time to make a “love” investment in someone you love today and tomorrow and the day after. One way to do this is to grow your marriage by learning about our extension program, The Marriage Garden. You can visit our website or call the Garland County Cooperative Extension Service at 501-623-6841, or come to the office at 236 Woodbine St., for materials or to schedule a class .

4-H Information

There are several 4-H clubs for Garland County youth ages 5-19. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities that are available, call Carol Ann McAfee at the extension office, 501-623-6841, or email her at [email protected]

Master Gardener Information

Master Gardeners meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. Meetings are open to the public and guests are welcome. For more information, call Luke Duffle at 501-623-6841 or email [email protected]

EHC Information

Interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers club? EHC is the state’s largest voluntary organization. For more information about EHC, call Alison Crane, Family and Consumer Sciences Officer, at 501-623-6841 or email her at [email protected]

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