There are many ways to show your love

The Valentine’s Day hype is over, but loving another, and expressing it will probably last until the end of time. We still want to express our love in ways that uplift our loved ones and ourselves. There are romantic encounters, or experiences that last a short while, and there are loving relationships that can last a lifetime.

Love is like thought, or joy or peace … something intangible. It’s as natural as life itself, but again, because we are body, mind and spirit, we express it depending upon where we are in our understanding of our own selves Those less experienced may think of it as a physical attraction or expression … a needing or wanting to be with someone. Our human DNA programs us to reproduce at the physical level.

Relationships can get in trouble when they think of a partner in only those terms. Once a partner loses physical interest in another, the relationship is over. People are not things, or objects to look good with, be played with, or be hurt for not complying. Relationships take time and shared experiences to build, which is why you hear people who have been together for a long while say that they love their partner more now than they did when they first fell in love. This article focuses on some fun, or sweet activities that might help build relationships.

Last week, I spoke of a flier from the State of Hawaii Department of Health Family Planning Program, entitled “101 Ways to Make Love Without Doin’ It.” The flier states, “Iowa high school students were asked to list other ways besides sexual intercourse they might use to show they loved someone. This pamphlet is the result of their responses.” I invited Kauai teens to add to the list. I’ll start with those, and then list some of the more creative ones from the pamphlet. Some I’ve combined.

Local style:

w Have a picnic on the beach makai of the soccer field at Lydgate Park, and give each other a back massage.

w Go snorkeling at Kee Beach, and you’re in a private world underwater together.

w Go on a hiking adventure together, but not one that is too hard. Maybe Sleeping Giant on Kuamoo Road.

w Grab a take out dinner and watch the sunset at a west side beach.

w Always be honest with each other, because that is the way to build trust that a relationship can grow from.

And here are some of the ones from the flier. These flier can be found at the YWCA, Malama Pono, and the Department of Health.

w Make the other person feel important and respected.

w Hold hands or walk arm in arm.

w Give or get a hug. Kiss.

w Tell the other person that you love them, or care for them.

w Go to a movie.

w Snuggle up together.

w Text each other at a party just to say “Hi.”

w Go for a long bike ride or walk together.

w Talk to each other.

w Share dreams with each other.

w Give a special gift.

w Sit together in the park.

w Go fishing.

w Go out to eat.

w Play a game of Frisbee.

w Give compliments.

w Listen to problems.

w Take a dance or art class together.

w Go grocery shopping.

w Cook a meal together.

w Give each other neck rubs.

w Do homework together.

w Plan and go on a long drive together.

w Throw a party together.

w Play miniature golf together.

w Find out what’s special for the other person, and do it.

w Exercise together.

w Join a club together.

w Wash each other’s cars.

w Talk openly about your feelings.

w Go bowling.

w Volunteer for a community service project together.

w Choose a special favorite song.

w White each other letters.

w Trust one another.

w Meet each other’s family.

w Go for a walk in the moonlight.

w Hide a love note or poem where the other will find it.

w Look into each other’s eyes.

w Give flowers.

w Go to a concert.

w Dinner by candlelight.

w Learn a language together. [and speak it to each other]

w Give each other pet names.

w Make your cell ring tone your special song.

w Go sightseeing.

w Be best friends.

w Flirt with each other.

w Be faithful.

w Make a list of things you like about each other.

w Cook each other’s favorite food.

w Find out what makes the other happy.

w Make each other gifts.

w Be caring.

w Do things for each other without being asked.

w Dedicate a song on the radio.

w Make or buy and send a funny card.

w Share lifetime goals with each other.

w Play “footsie.”

w Find out what makes the other sad.

w Give each other a special ring.

The idea is to get to know the other person for who they are, and not just what you want them to be for you. Be creative. Maybe this list will help you brainstorm some special ideas, like teach each other something special that you do, or grow a garden together. I’d add take a workshop in conflict resolution (solving problems) so that when they come up, you can handle them in a kind, respectful way by listening and negotiating, not blaming and demanding.

And here’s another fact, sometimes wonderful relationships just end. People are always learning about themselves and what they want. They change their lifestyles accordingly.

If one person changes and develops in a way that the other is uncomfortable with, and they’ve talked about it, and it isn’t going to be changed, then perhaps it’s time to “consciously uncouple.”

It’s a new term created by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. It means to thoughtfully, respectfully and kindly break up. They still love each other and will raise their children together. They won’t be sharing a home or going out together as they did before.

Oh, what an engaging world is the world of love. May the love that is within you teach you its joys and how it overcomes difficulties.

•••

Hale Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org

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