In an era where finding a date is as simple as swiping right, the pursuit for love has never been more popular. But meeting that dream partner isn’t as simple as putting together the perfect profile. Instead, the key to attracting a lover is not external, but rather internal.

Relationship experts and published authors, Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles, are on a mission to awaken the power of self-love. Through their motivational YouTube channels and international workshops, the recently married couple known for being Partners in Shine, share an innate truth that if practiced daily can radically change life as we know it.

MiLLENNiAL caught up with Alexi and Preston to learn more about their approach to calling in the “one” while navigating through the confluence of emotional factors that make dating in the 21st century difficult.

Breaking Down the Way We View Relationships

As Preston explains to us, the way we have been conditioned to see relationships is faulty and is based on others approving us. “Everybody has three core wants which are approval, control, and security,” he says. “The moment everyone can truly fall in love with themselves everything changes.”

Millennial Magazine - Quote-1Alexi adds that relationships are struggling at the moment because no one wants to reveal their vulnerabilities. And in today’s online dating culture where options are plentiful, the need to find someone better is constantly shrouding the mind. “You can try as hard as you want to run away from yourself by filling your empty void with other people or by filling it with whatever addiction we have, but the hole will never be filled until it is filled by you in a conscious way.”

Showing the good, the bad and the ugly of our personalities can be scary, as we fear judgment from our partner. We may lie or pretend to be someone we’re not just to hide our insecurities. “We are in this age where commitment means loss of freedom. And what we’re actually doing when we commit to one person is we give them permission to see all of us,” Alexi says.

The more comfortable we are in our own skin and the more we accept who we are, the easier it will be to reveal our true self to any person we meet. “The biggest thing that commitment has brought out in me is the freedom to be transparent.”

Alexi explains that even though she had been in several long-term relationships there were still parts she hid and felt ashamed to expose. “And with Preston, we’re here to call forth those parts of ourselves that we’ve been disowning and resisting. True freedom is when we can show up as all of who we are.”

“A relationship is a privilege,” Preston says with conviction, “I say to anyone entering a relationship, take your time and go slow. Be discerning with how you share your energy and your body and your space.”

Keys to a Healthy and Nurturing Partnership

While attraction is essential in any romantic relationship, we will be wildly disappointed if all we do is conjure the perfect aesthetic package. Alexi emphasizes, “Having standards and values of what you want to call in is absolutely important but if your standards are based around external things, game over, you already lost.” 

Millennial Magazine - Holding-hands-2

Admittedly, Alexi confesses that Preston wasn’t someone she typically dated.Our first coffee meet up, which he called a date and I called a meeting, I was so aware that we were incredibly aligned, but my internal conversation was this isn’t what it is suppose to look like.” She suggests that because she was so attached to the external parameters of how she envisioned her dream partner, she lost site of what was right in front of her. “The more I spent time with him as my friend the more I saw that he was exactly what I wanted, it just came in a different package.”

In order for their relationship to work, Preston says they both understand that “we must be autonomous beings with our arms linked starring at the same mountain.” Sharing similar vision for the future while maintaining independence is vital for any successful partnership.

It may seem obvious, but communication is the foundation for which a relationship is built upon. When it comes to arguments, the Partners in Shine have realized there is something called an unconscious agreement that often gets in the way of relating to the other. They refer to this as the preconditioned “should” that creates confusion by placing expectations on our partners without verbalizing our reasoning.

Millennial Magazine - Alexi-Looks-at-Preston-2

This notion was a breakthrough for Alexi and Preston who both recognized that experiences lead to different views and by communicating these varying perspectives their relationship could deepen.

The couple highlights a powerful line that Michael Beckwith, the presiding minister, said during their wedding. Preston quotes Beckwith, “He said, yes we are governed by the State of California, we have a license to be married, but our marriage is not governed by the state, it is governed by the state of our consciousness.”

Falling in Love with the Work

The two could not have grown up more differently. Preston grew up in Long Beach, Calif. and fell victim to the gang violence that occupied his neighborhood. Alexi on the other hand grew up in Erie, Penn. and landed an international modeling career by the time she was 12.

Millennial Magazine - Partners-in-Shine-2

Yet they each found themselves drawn to personal development and spiritual wisdom – Alexi since she was eight years old, and Preston after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition in his early 20s. While the two may have taken separate routes to the same destination, they ultimately found themselves headed in parallel directions when fate crossed their paths in 2013.

Joining together as a powerful voice for love, Alexi and Preston were offered book deals to provide tactile steps for those who are looking to better flow with life’s energy. Alexi’s 50 Ways to Yay empowers readers to connect with their bliss. “I want people to take this tool box that I have created for myself with all my knowledge and studies, I wanted to bring it down into 50 actionable and practical tools that people could use right now to access their inner yes, their inner soul, their inner yay.”

Millennial Magazine - Quote-2Preston’s Love Louder: 33 Ways to Amplify Your Love is intended to help bring out the best parts of the reader. “Whatever you practice more of you get more of. All of life is a practice. The purpose of the book is to allow people to have tools that help with these practices.”

Preston reminds us, “we are constantly sitting in the student chair.” He insists that if we want different results – whether it is in relationships, works, or financials – we have to be willing to do things differently. “We don’t get what we want in life, we get what we are,” he says with sincerity. “What you resist persists. The moment you let go, it comes in.” Alexi adds, “We all know this stuff intrinsically. Preston and I are just facilitators to help remind people on their journey of who they are.”

To learn more about Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles visit their websites, follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel and check out their books!

Grab the MiLLENNiAL Monthly

We care about your inbox. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive a little dose of aspirational culture, exclusive invites, and big company announcements.