January 14, 2022by Frank Love0

I don’t care is easy. I care is not. Have you ever felt like it’s easier to dismiss a situation or a person by just declaring, “I don’t care”?

During one of our recent Thursday Zoom calls with men who are interested in being more loving in their relationships (Black Men: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationship; from 7pm to 8:30pm EST at FranksWeeklyCall.com), a brother noted that his partner wasn’t living up to her agreements in their relationship. He shared that at times he has said to her that he didn’t care what the reasons were or what she was dealing with. He just wanted her to do her part.

It’s surprising how often I hear people say something along the lines of, “I don’t care” or “I don’t give a fu¢l<.” We act as though it’s a badge of courage and strength to “not care.” What’s more amazing is the frequency and fervor with which I hear this said about someone’s partner. “I would like us to go to the concert this summer.” “I don’t really care about concerts.” “I would like us to save money.” “I don’t care about saving money.” “I want us to visit my parents next week.” “I’m not really interested in visiting your parents.” We are often wounding our partners’ spirit and our relationships in our own homes.

This reminds me of a conversation I had in the late ’90s while working at a popular club in D.C. – Republic Gardens. The club was run and owned by well-known D.C. club aficionado, Marc Barnes. I wasn’t at Republic Gardens long, but I was there long enough to have a valuable conversation with Marc. A conversation that I have replayed in my head hundreds of times over the years.

One day, with bravado and pride, I was running my mouth to Marc saying how I didn’t give a fu¢l< about something or other. I don’t remember Marc’s exact response, as over twenty years have passed. But the idea was: I care about everything. I have to care about everything because everything can affect me and can affect how things that are important to me run, whether they are helped or hurt.

I didn’t say anything at the time, but what a powerful statement! How responsible is that perspective?, I thought to myself. Someone who cares about everything is someone who cares about nuance—how the little things can change a bigger situation.

For example, if there was a fight in the club, or even outside of the club, Marc would work to mediate the dispute between the conflicting parties. He knew that if the dispute continued, the name of the club would show up in the negative media coverage.

Why is attention to nuance important in our partnerships? Because every single issue and/or person that is in our partners’ lives can affect ours. By paying attention to the details, instead of saying, “I don’t care,” we can make conscious decisions that take care of our partners and create peace in our own lives. A life that says, “I care,” demonstrates attentiveness and patience. It supports our understanding of how our partners feel and what they want to experience. And we can work to create loving culture that our partners may adopt and direct towards us. Our children. Our world.

By living a life and having a relationship where “we care,” we can eliminate the ever-present element of frustration that many of us hold. How? When we pay attention to the details, we have the information we need to better manage our lives so that they look as we envision and desire them to.

The next time we are tempted to tell anyone, particularly our partners, “I don’t care,” think of the sentiment that Marc shared and the potential power that lies within us to care about everything. It can positively affect everything and change the course of a potentially challenging situation into one that is positively resolved.

My message for my brother on the call was simply “care.” Please care about what your partner says she is going through. Even care about what she is going through that is unsaid. Care about her fears. Care about her justifications. Care. As you care more and work to make a positive difference, your leadership will grow. Your creativity will grow. The resources that are at your disposal will grow . . . and you may grow too.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

Frank Love coaches individuals who are in (or wish to be in) a relationship on ways to be more loving. He is also the author of “Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway)” and “25 Ways to Be Loving.” To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.

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