Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know (Extreme 1991)
The Day to Celebrate Love
As another Valentine’s Day arrives, we will try and make a special effort to show our partner how much they mean to us with chocolate, dinner, and flowers. I will admit that I love to receive all of those things. Then I asked myself, how will I make an effort the other 360+ days per year.
One day to keep our relationship fresh?
It’s hard to imagine one day would be enough. It can be hard to always find quality time in our fast-paced lives to make time regularly to show our partners how we feel. We fill our time with the chores and obligations of life waiting for the quiet moment that rarely comes.
Sustaining our needs with small gestures
Small moments showing love such as:
- A loving smile from across the room
- A quick text just to say you are thinking about them
- A gentle touch as you pass them
When the concept of love enters our world, we look to people around us as models of a healthy loving relationship. More times than we like to admit the role models we have as children do not reflect what we come to desire in a loving relationship.
Putting our Foot in our Mouth Should be Expected and Kept in Perspective
No one ever taught us how to breathe and love seems like something we should just be able to do. Feeling love for someone in your heart is the easy part, but how we express that love in a way that is understood can be a learning process.
When we fall in love we are compelled to show our partner how we feel about them, but the message isn’t always received loud and clear even when to us the message is in high definition. When our partner doesn’t get the message, it is easy to feel rejected by our partner. Never realizing that the message is being misinterpreted by our partner. Feelings of anger and passive aggressive behavior can quickly enter the relationship. These feelings can pile on each other until we spend more time feeling defensive and insecure. Eventually growing closer in our relationship starts to take a backseat. Being vulnerable with our partner and telling them when we feel hurt or misunderstood clears the out hard feelings. Taking accountability for our missteps keeps the walls down in our relationships. We need to keep perspective on what is most important in our relationship, each other.
Understanding the Love we Give
Learning that everyone receives love differently can be surprising.
- Do our partners need gifts, words, or acts of service to be fulfilled?
Talking with our partner about what they need to find fulfillment can answer that question. It’s important to find the time to talk before we feel hurt. Once we are hurt, our emotions can be perceived as a criticism to our partner. Expressing to our partner how important they are and asking how we can better show them love. Leads into telling them our needs without coming across as something they need to fix. Remembering that the success of our relationship relies on each of us to be fulfilled. Sometimes this means putting our partner’s needs ahead of our own. The natural way our partners express love is likely the way they want to receive love. So our partner may not understand how they are not meeting our needs when their approach works so well for them. Meeting their needs first may help them understand. Knowing our needs change overtime and we should continue to talk with our partner about our needs.
Change Can Be Uncomfortable
Being uncomfortable to make ourselves vulnerable especially when our concerns have been dismissed by our partner is to be expected. We should not resign accepting that our needs will never be fulfilled. We just need to change our approach in the way we talk to our partner about our needs.
Engaging a impartial 3rd party into the conversation can help . Counselors who focus on relationships or on individuals will provide an unbiased perspective. Sometimes it just takes someone putting our feelings in words that our partner understands to make all the difference.
Until we feel comfortable with our needs we may give indirect clues on what we need to feel loved. Expecting our partner to be more direct with their needs is not fair, so we should look for indirect clues from them as well.
Have you ever heard any of the following from your partner?
- I tell you I love you every day and you never say it back
- You used to get me flowers
- I am so busy all I want from you is to help me with the dishes
- Can we sit together later and watch the Bachelor?
Although indirect these clues can indicate a desire from our partner. We may just hear them as a complaint about us as a partner or just see them as another thing they want us to do. Both thoughts are correct they are complaining and they are asking us to do something. The challenge is for us to realize they are asking us as their partner to show them love in a way they need to receive it.
Back to Celebrating Love
So as Valentine’s Day passes and our grand gestures are eaten and wilt, let’s resolve to make everyday a day where we are open to loving our partner by doing, showing and telling them in ways that allow them to feel appreciated and understood. Let’s understand that the spark that brought us together doesn’t need to die, but can be kept alive with taking the time to notice and talk about our love. Because at the end of the day our love is unique to us and not like anyone else’s it deserves special effort every day of the year.
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