You want not just a good but a GREAT relationship. More than that, you want to feel LOVED like you once did. But now defenses are up, and nobody is feeling heard. You have no reason to think their intentions aren’t good, yet for some reason you’re on two sides of the isle. You may think they should “Know how you feel,” “Know your romantic key,” “Speak your language,” “Know what you want,” etc. The problem is married partners often default to loving you from the perspective of what THEY need, because instinctively that is hardwired to what they know. Problems start when you are not loving them that way (and they are not loving you YOUR way) that’s when the defense are up and everyone holds back and/or lashes out. Spouse whisperers belong on reality shows not in marriages. Learning to communicate exactly how you want to be loved and understanding how he differences of how your partner wants to be loved will set the stage for the great marriage you are truly looking for.
What have they done in the beginning that you miss or want more of?
In the beginning of your relationship when dopamine was flowing free, it seems they knew what you were thinking, orgasms were in unison, you felt “in-tune” and you were both exceeding each other’s expectations, what was your partner doing more of? Make a list of at least 10 things that they either once did and it was meaningful to you (but has now dropped off) of that they occasionally do even today but you would love more of it.
What have you seen your parents do that you want to repeat (if anything) ?
Recall the relationships you witnessed growing up. What did you learn from that in terms of what you want today? Also, consider relationships from people that you admire today. What is it about that relationship that you want more of in yours? At this point your brain may be focusing on what you DON’T want … but keep that outside of this task. Re-focus into the images of the way you would like things to be, paint a picture and add that to your list.
How Will This Help Me Now?
Remember that in the beginning when we were exceeding each other’s expectations and things were new. Overtime in small ways, life went back to normal and these patterns fell off and the current patterns in your relationships developed. The more each of you dropped off these loving behaviors (due to jobs, kids, life, etc.) the more the relationship go engrained the way it is today. The way to make BIG changes happen is in the small tasks from day to day. It is literally reversing the process that had occurred but in an escalated and surgical system.
How do I communicate this to my partner?
Challenge your partner to come up with 10 items of things that YOU used to do, but it has either dropped off the map or they would like them even more. These things should take 1-2 minutes and be free or cheap. Don’t be defense, see these items as gifts because they are important pieces of the puzzle that are need to start turning things around.
After the complete the 10 items – exchange lists and conduct an experiment. In the next 24 hours, see if you and your partner can both track how many of these behaviors they did from your customized list. It is not about you tracking how many you did – YOU (both) have to notice what THEY are doing. This is important to start bringing down the walls for the re-model of the relationship you both desire. When you see your partner doing things from your list, smile, praise them, let now know how much it means to you. Encouraging each other is part of the process … and it feels good.
What if I am too hurt and don’t FEEL like it
Just like caring for your child when they are having a “bad day,” it takes more love to start these behaviors with your partner when you are NOT feeling it. It truly shows your commitment to each other. The feelings will certainly come … just not before.
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