Perhaps Love & Hacks shouldn’t go together? We have this notion that if you have ‘love’ that’s all you need – everything will work out from there. That’s why romantic movies usually end once the two lovers have finally declared their love for each other. I think what comes after the movie credits roll is much more important – and difficult. Like a plant, love can grow or wilt. In the right conditions it can blossom, and it might simply die if it’s not taken care of. I’m happy to consider all of the tips and hints I can get. Here’s a (by no means comprehensive) list of some of the best hacks I know of – for various stages of love in your life.
First Date Love Hacks.
1. Don’t go dutch - Surprise your date by quietly going to pay the bill during dessert/coffee. Disguise it as a bathroom trip. Why? Because it will avoid that awkward ‘who pays’ conversation. And if you are the lucky person who had their dinner paid for, gracefully accept the gesture, and offer to pay for the taxi if you must (or the next date if all goes well). Whatever you do, don’t insist on paying ‘your share’, and start maniacally shoving money at them as if you’re at a strip club. Don’t be weird about money – nobody wants that!
2. Ask a question. Listen to the answer. Then ask a follow up question. Repeat. In short, just be interested in them – there’s nothing more attractive. A word of caution though – be ready to answer questions – deflecting all personal questions can seem a little staged – and you both need to be able to get to know a bit more about each other…that’s the whole point right?
3. Science. According to New York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, there might even be a ‘formula’ for falling in love. His research suggests that sharing intimate details with a complete stranger for an hour and a half, then staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes (without talking) is a pretty good prescription if you’re looking for love.
Proposal Love Hacks
4. Surprise. Turn the standard proposal into something extra special. I’m not a fan of all that over the top stuff, so I feel like my partner did pretty well under the circumstances. He’d had the day off and rang me at work to ask if I wanted to finish the gardening when I came home. Sounded good to me, so I went home and got straight into my grungy old gardening gear. As we were digging and weeding, Jamie kept ‘suggesting’ that I dig in a certain spot. Being stubborn, I refused – so Jamie had to ‘discover’ the old box he’d hidden, himself. I got excited because I thought it was hidden treasure from hundreds of years ago. It was hidden treasure I said yes. As I’m not an expert at proposals by any stretch, I’ve found some super cool proposals in internet land, via the good people at Mental Floss
5. Star Trek proposal. No one knows who is behind this engagement ring presented with a pun, but we believe the woman holding the box in this picture may have accepted it. When Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation says “Engage,” you are expected to “Make it so.”
6. In the sand. A mysterious sand art installation was spotted at Ocean Beach, California in April. An elaborate pattern contained the words, “Will you marry me Kelly?” After the pictures were posted at the San Francisco 7×7 magazine blog, readers identified the couple. The sand imprint was created by artist Andres Amador, who was commissioned by Jason Fordley, who “might well be the most romantic man in San Francisco.” The question was directed to Kelly Riplinger, who only saw the huge message when the couple climbed to the top of a nearby hill. She said, “Yes.” The proposal was followed by a city tour, dinner, and a beach party with their friends. Photo by Jamie Shiller.
Love Hacks to Keep It Alive
I read somewhere recently that we spend the first half of our life looking for love, and the second half trying to retain it. That can sometimes be a depressingly spot on assessment. Perhaps that’s why we respond so happily to stories of couples married for 50+ years, still happily in love. It gives us hope! Perhaps that combination of hope and some of the tips below might help to keep your love alive.
7. Be kind. Simple as that. It’s a step above another important tenet (‘don’t be mean’) however I prefer ‘Be Kind’. Being kind stops you from being mean AND spurs you to do the opposite. Something kind. For instance, if you’re feeling cranky and about to take it out on your partner (yes, it happens) stop, breathe and think of the opposite thing to yelling at them. Then go and make them a cup of coffee and give them a kiss. It will instantly make you feel better. So long as you’re not in love with a sociopath, kindness can only enhance feelings of love with your partner.
8. Nostalgia. Transport yourselves to a different time, a time before a towel left in the wrong spot might tip you over the edge into relationship WWIII. A time when you would swoon at the mere thought of each other, and caused old couples to smile nostalgically as you walked hand in hand around town. It’s easy to get caught up in the drudge of day to day living. Use the phrase ‘remember that time’. Play songs you both once loved. Look at old photos. Put them up on your wall, or post them to your social media accounts. This way, not only will you and your partner remember those heady first years of your relationship, you might also start lovely nostalgic conversations with your friends and family. I have a friend who, every year on her anniversary puts on her wedding dress. What a great way to switch you back to the headspace you had when you got married.
9. Cuddle. Why? Because Science. Apparently cuddling releases Oxytocin which helps you feel calm, happy and less stressed. It can have other effects as well, but like kindness, cuddles can’t be bad for your relationships!
10. Observe and learn from others – Think about the people in your life who have happy, fulfilling relationships. Watch how they interact with each other, and even ask them (both together and separately) what their secrets are. On the flip side – think about the people in your life who seem to have miserable, unhappy relationships. Observe what they do and perhaps ensure you don’t do the same! It’s important to be aware of the ‘energy’ that your friends and family have on you both. How do your interactions change when you’re with them? I’ve found myself mimicking the tone and attitude of one of my friends toward her husband. Although their relationship is mostly a happy one, that style of interaction simply does not work for Jamie and I. We still hang out with them, however we’re just conscious not to mirror their patterns!
11. Take regular holidays. I feel like this explains itself. The concept is easy to grasp, however I know some people for whom turning the concept into reality can be lots more challenging! Just do it. Your love will thank you for it!
I bet we could all learn a thing or two about love and kindness from this lovely British couple – happily married for 80 Years!
Love Hacks for your Kids
12. Tattoos - A few years ago Jamie got our son’s name tattooed on his arm. Hendrix watched it happen. A couple of months later we were having a conversation about happiness. We asked Hendrix what made him happy and he pointed to the tattoo. As we dug into the reasons we realised that the permanency of the tattoo helped to solidify his feelings of security & safety. He knew he was Loved. And it doesn’t have to be a tattoo – it could be some other symbol of permanency, like carving your names in a tree trunk at home, creating a bank account for their future education or constantly imagining the future together (Hendrix is going to live at home in the garage, and he and his wife will hand the babies to us through the window in the mornings to look after, while they go to work – sounds like bliss!).
13. Nurture their sense of wonder – Play, make up stories and imaginary worlds. Be silly (sillier than them!). And if you need something to strive for check out the amazing Dinovember parents!
14. Special words - I guess this story is why I feel at least a little qualified to give some tips in this area. Ever since Hendrix was a baby, he and I used the word ‘awesome’ together. I call him ‘Mr Awesome’, and when we are in the zone everything, literally is awesome! One of his early attempts at poetry is below – the work of a pretty loved kid.I feel like there should be some wise, deep conclusion which unequivocally explains how to keep love strong. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. So instead I’ll sign off with a couple of my favourite love songs – what are yours?
The Cure – Lovesong (Robert Smith wrote this for his wife on their wedding day).
Little Feat – Perfect Imperfection.
Jacqi has become part of the furniture at WorldMark South Pacific Club over the last 10 years. She has worked in various teams, including Customer Service, Systems and Owner Marketing & Solutions. She is passionate about health, holidays and roller derby. As a mother of an 11 year old boy, she has also recently become passionate about footy!