6 Tips To Expand The Love: & reduce conflict

In the 20+ years Carol and I have been working with couples, we’ve not yet had a couple come to us saying, “We have an incredible relationship, filled with love, joy, happiness, and contentment. We want to expand the love even more.”  We’ve not had that – yet.  Maybe you and your partner will be the first – maybe?

Boy, will we have fun when that comes about.

I know there are many couples who have that kind of relationship. I also know they are modelling a powerful reference for other people in their circle of influence.

Mostly, couples come to us because they are experiencing some form of conflict. Regardless of the details of the conflict (they can seem complex), when we get to the core of what is really going on, one and usually both people express:reduce conflict

  • I don’t feel heard
  • I don’t feel cherished
  • I don’t feel loved

You may want to add a bunch of other things like not feeling respected, understood, valued, cared-for, etc.  At a deeper level (usually at an unconscious level), the core belief is, “I am not enough” or “I am unworthy of love.”  Ouch!!

OK, maybe that’s not you, but for most of us we’ve been trained and trained and trained since a very young age that this belief is true. Our parents, teachers, preachers, and peers did not do this intentionally.  It was what they knew and they thought they were doing the right things.

With these deep core beliefs, the resulting feelings will lead to a wide variety of reactions to various situations that occur in life. The reactions might be anger, fear, attack, guilt, shame, blame, violence, and hopelessness. There is conflict within self, and usually conflict with another, or more than one person.

What not to do?

It makes the situation even more complex to dig into the complexities of the conflict to figure out the “why.” Typically, that adds fuel to the fire, adds confusion and delusion, and increases not-love feelings.

If you recall the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) we’ve talked about in podcasts and videos, you’ll recognize these “why” discussions keep people firmly stuck in the DDT, which can cycle for days, weeks, months, and years. That’s not much fun.

What to do to expand the love?

If you want to expand the love, an alternative is to step back from the situation and explore it looking through the lens of the simplicity of love.Lens of love

Here are 6 Tips:

  • With love, fear does not exist.
  • With love, people are recognized as perfect, complete, whole, and resourceful.
  • With love, curiosity and compassion abound.
  • Mistakes are made (because we’re human) and with love, these are recognized as errors that can be corrected.
  • With love, forgiveness becomes a moment-to-moment tool to stay in love-mindedness.
  • With love, miracles happen.

How to do this?

By love, I’m not specifically meaning the actions of making love or doing nice things for others. Those may all be part of it.

I’m meaning “being the essence” of love. It’s much more than thinking, speaking, or behaving.

I don’t know exactly how to do this, yet as I experiment, I’m beginning to sense, feel, see, taste, and hear what it might be to expand the love. I still screw up a lot, but I’m having so much fun, I’m going to keep working with it.


  • I look into the eyes of our 3-month-old grandson and see innocence and pure love. I’m deeply touched right to my core – a miracle.
  • I notice the magnificence of the sunrise through the snow-covered trees as Carol and I have our morning coffee and visit. A miracle.
  • I share words of affirmation and appreciation with a friend who is struggling to keep commitments made to me. I see relief from fear – a miracle.
  • We connect with our aging parents and feel huge gratitude to know them in our adult years, as best friends, and to have them as models of love. A miracle.
  • On a playlist, we heard a song written by a deceased friend. My eyes were filled with tears of joy for having the opportunity to know such a creative man – a miracle.
  • I said something to Carol that I wish I hadn’t. I apologized for my mistake and reframed what I really meant. She hugged me, we affirmed our love for each other, I was able to forgive myself, and I’m more aware of a previously unrecognized trigger. I know what to do next time. A miracle.
  • We coached with a couple and the commitments they created for themselves are a strategy we have used to improve our relationship. A miracle.
  • Last night there was a gorgeous, clear, moonlit sky. I went for a walk to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Suddenly I recognized my thoughts were amuck with plans to deal with several people whom I perceive have done me wrong. Anger, resentment, frustration. Where is the peace and tranquility in that? I stopped, took a few deep breaths, and forgave myself for the stories I’d made about them. The perceived wrongs were about money and stuff and I realized it’s not worth giving away my joy for that. I found peace by forgiving myself for the stories and complexities I’d made. I found peace in my heart and mind by forgiving them. A miracle.
  • I’m beginning to consciously see all other people as miraculous, whole, perfect beings with whom I’m grateful to interact. A miracle.

I’m having so much fun with these new strategies that I’m going to keep on playing with them. The miracles continue to happen daily.

What about you?

Which one (or more) of these tips will you experiment with to expand the love in your relationship?
How will you measure your miraculous results?

Regardless of what you choose, I love you.


Bernie Kreiner

Hi Dan and Carol: Happy new year. This article (and the quotes along side) are very timely. Thank you very much.

Dan Ohler

Hi Bernie,

I trust all is well with you. Thanks for your comments. Yes, I believe we all need reminders of this.

I love you.


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