Love can be expressed toward those we depend on, toward those who depend on us, and toward those we feel romantic, sexual, and emotional attraction to. This strength allows people to put their trust in others and make them a priority in making decisions. They experience a sense of deep contentment from their devotion.
Too much: emotional promiscuity
Too little: isolation, detachment
Doctor Zhivago (1965) – The doctor whose name graces the film is torn between two loves, that of his wife and that of the woman who inspires his poetry. This film explores the conflict between fidelity and passion in the midst of the Russian Revolution and its impact on a man trying to maintain his humanity.
The English Patient (1996) – During World War II, a young mapmaker employed by Great Britain lies dying after being badly burned in a plane crash. A young nurse stays lovingly by his side through it all, and together they relive the sorrows and joys of romances past.
Sophie’s Choice (1982) – Sophie is a Polish survivor of the Holocaust who has recently emigrated to American with her lover, Nathan. Narrated by Stingo, a man who shares a boarding house with the couple, this incredibly emotional movie deals with the aftereffects of Auschwitz and their impact on human relationships.
The Bridges of the Madison County (1995) – Francesca Johnson is a married mother who falls in love with a traveling photographer while her family is away. Though her romance lasts only four days, it changes her life drastically. After her death, her children learn of the affair and must decide whether to honor the wishes of the family or the secret wish of their mother.
Iris (2001) – Iris Murdoch, a brilliant academic teaching at Oxford, falls in love with fellow professor John Bayley. Though they seem an unlikely pair at first, they enrich each other’s lives over the course of decades. The movie concludes with Iris living a life ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease, under the constant care of her frustrated yet devoted husband.
My Fair Lady (1964) – Henry Higgins is an arrogant professor who wagers that he can take a common woman and make her presentable as an aristocrat. He succeeds in transforming Eliza Doolittle and then falls in love with her, but his arrogance causes her to leave him for a younger member of high society. Higgins is forced to confront his need for Eliza’s love and the shortcomings of his own personality.
Express (verbally and/or non-verbally) to your loved ones that no matter what happens, your love for them will remain unconditional. Let all of your interactions rest on this firm foundation.
Express your love through physical gestures (hugs, kisses, cuddling, giving a gentle massage). Allow your loved ones to reciprocate.
Focus on the implicit motives of your loved ones, rather their behaviors. Try to see how their temporary moods, rather than their permanent dispositions, influence actions that seem hurtful. Embrace their dispositions and accept that their moods will fluctuate.
Explore and appreciate the strengths of your loved ones. Verbalize at least some of what you think in this area.
Arrange a date with your mate that celebrates both of your signature strengths. Discuss ways in which your strengths complimented each other during the date.
Express your love through gifts. When possible, create gifts yourself rather than buying them.
Always celebrate days or occasions that are mutually important. Arrange special events, such as trips and parties, for birthdays and anniversaries.
Express your love creatively, such as through a poem, note, or sketch. Consider taking a photograph of an important place, event or situation that reminds you of your mutual love.
Help your loved ones with a self-improvement plan (e.g., a new class, weight loss, exercise, a new career). Be encouraging but not pushy.
Plan and host a dinner party with your significant other. Enjoy the process of preparing it together.
Reunite at the end of the day and discuss how it went. Talk about ways that you used your signature strengths effectively and how to do so in the future.
Attend a concert, theatre, movies, or go dancing with your loved one. Try an activity that you haven’t done before, or haven’t done in a long time.
Engage in a favorite activity together, such as hiking, going to an amusement park, biking, walking in the park, swimming, camping, or jogging. If you can’t think of a mutual favorite activity, pick one to try together.
Attend your child’s sporting events or performances (recital, play, etc) together. Make a videotape for posterity.
Go out with your partner for brunch or dinner. Hire a babysitter for your children or leave them with a trusted relative, and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Help your loved ones plan their future by helping them identify their signature strengths. Then, collaborate to design a future based on their signature strengths.
If you want to help your loved ones, first consider their strengths. Design your help around their strengths.
Tape record your parent’s earliest recollections and share them with your children. Help your family record their cherished memories in a similar manner.
Make a family blessing journal in which everyone writes good things that happen to them daily. One night a week, read aloud some of the best things from the previous seven days.