This one is uniquely for married people or those who are in long-term partnerships. If you aren’t, as you read, consider how you might practice this in the future or might encourage those who are married or in long-term relationships to love in a similar manner.
Occasionally, our partner may ask to hear a loving expression of our affection. One of those solicitations may be an innocent question such as “Why do you love me?” Perhaps we’ll recount the ways they help us feel special or the special gifts they give that bring a smile to our face. There are so many ways we can answer. And if our heart is in a loving place, most of our replies will put a smile on our partner’s face. However, we can also love them just because they are our spouse or our partner.
When we tell our partner we love them because of their excellent cooking or because they take such good care of us, it can be inferred that if our partner stopped doing those things, then we might love them less. This, of course, isn’t a definitive correlation. But it is reasonable to consider the potential connection we’re making.
I want my wife to feel affirmed, loved, and appreciated. I don’t want my wife to believe that there is something she can do that will lead to me loving her less. Therefore, in my relationship, I share, “I’m with you no matter what you do.” This is a powerful statement and a declaration that reflects my connection and commitment to her and our relationship. It is intended to relay my desire that she coexists with me with confidence and comfort.
I wish for her to do her best while not living in fear of what I might do or say as a response. I may miss the mark at times. I may react with anger or irritation. However, given my declaration (“I’m with you no matter what you do.” ) I have limited my reactive options, as I intend to work out whatever our challenges are within the relationship. I am also reminding myself that my intent is to remain in the relationship … even when I am challenged.
Taking this idea a step further, we have the opportunity to love of partner because they are our partner—the individual we have decided to love moving forward, if that is what we have decided to do, even if (and when) they change. We get to assure them that, even if they stop doing something we like or start doing something we do not like, we will love them. We will continue to love them because they are our spouse, and we have decided and committed to being loving to them.
This isn’t an easy game to play or strategy to live by. However, it has its benefits. One of the benefits is our understanding that we reap what we sow. People who are uncomfortable or anxious often react differently than people who are at peace and assured. People who are uncomfortable or anxious are often working to protect themself from what might happen in the future. People who are at peace and assured may realize they do not have to be protective or defensive in their relationship as there is no partner who is interested in attacking them.
If we create a hostile environment, the people living in it will be prone to hostility. If we create a loving environment, the people living in it are more apt to be comfortable and loving. I definitely want to be comfortable in my relationship. I believe my wife does too; and I begin the culture of comfort in my relationship with how I conduct myself. I must give her comforting words and actions. It is my charge if I wish to receive the same.
If my wife asks why I love her, my response will probably be, “I love you because you are my wife. I love you because I am committed to loving you. I love you because you deserve to be loved. I love you because our relationship deserves to be fed with love by the two people in it. And I insist on going first.”
A friend and frat brother, Marvin Chambers, of Marvin Chambers Coaching, A Built To Last Solutions Company (marvinchambers.com), recently posted a meme that says, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they’re worthy.” I agree. My wife certainly is the first in line to receive that quality of attention and love from me. I feel safe in my belief that your partner deserves it first from you too. A that is quite loving.
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Frank Love coaches individuals toward creating a loving culture in their family. 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.