People around me know how committed I am to keeping things simple. It’s not easy to do because things can get complicated really fast. Committed relationships can quickly become a tangled web of unhappiness when, really, they are remarkably simple and meant to bring us joy. Relationships teach us how to give and receive Love.
I think that is the great Life lesson; learning how to give and receive Love. Maybe that is why we are here. Maybe we are supposed to learn how to put Love into everything we do. Giving and receiving Love is not a new or complicated idea but it’s really, really hard to do and takes a lot of practice. When we get it right, it’s a Life lesson that stretches us, grows us and makes a huge difference in our personal lives AND in the world.
So, it doesn’t matter, really, whether we’re at a conference table or a dinner table; managing an executive team or a household, coordinating a carpool or running a business, bathing the children, drafting a blog post or meeting with friends, colleagues or clients. It just doesn’t matter. When what we do is infused with Love, human beings connect in a really meaningful way.
Paradoxically, one of the hardest places to learn this lesson (and practice it every day!) is in our long-term committed relationships — with the people we Love the most. Go figure!
Maybe it’s because people get caught up in the world of making a living and the daily tasks of life. Maybe it’s because partners loose sight of Love and move into fear; they can take each other for granted or become an easy target for judgment, coarseness or disrespect.
There is a lot of research going on in the field and social psychologists and neuro-behavioral scientists and are hard at work. What’s clear is that when couples disconnect, their relationship gets caught in a downward spiral and they can’t seem to stop it. And it hurts. A lot.
Fortunately, there is a way out and I want to share 3 simple tips that can help you and your partner get the emotional connection you want:
1) Cultivate Kindness: The best of us miss the opportunity to cultivate kindness in everything we do. Snippy Mean Girl and Macho Jerk attitudes are completely over and über destructive to relationship. Caring partners know Love is in the simple things. Getting your partner a glass of water in the middle of the night, saying please and thank you — the magic words we all learned in kindergarten. Holding hands, opening doors, listening deeply and speaking up powerfully without being harsh are other acts of kindness. Listening is one of the kindest things we can do for another human being.
2) Practice Presence: Check in with your partner daily. No cell phone, no iPad, no laundry, no kids, no TV. No distractions. No nothing. Just for a few minutes. Be there and consciously give your partner your full attention. Ask about the person rather than events or activities. You might ask: “How are you doing?” instead of “What did you do today?” Then listen with a curious mind and an open heart.
3) Speak Your Mind. Remember, your partner is smart but can’t read your mind. So, if you’re thinking “He should know.” Or “I thought she knew.” you are in for a rough ride. Having to read minds stresses everybody out. So turn it around and make clear, gentle statements about your Self. Use words that reflect exactly what you want your partner to know and simply tell the truth. For example “I miss you and I want you to know.” “I’m upset and I want you to know.” “I thought about you today and I want you to know.” “I was wondering if we could plan a weekend together and I want you to know.” “I was hoping we might watch a movie together and I want you to know.” Stay loose, expect the best and watch what happens.
Emotional connection is the key to a happy long-term committed relationship. So invite your partner to join you and make your relationship supportive and special. Start by filling it with a conversation about simple, caring acts of Love.
© 2013 Wellness Counseling Center PC
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR eZine OR WEB SITE? You can as long as you include this complete blurb with it: B. Anne Hancock Psy.D. is the founder of Wellness Counseling Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and North Carolina and makes an affirmative impact in the world by helping couples connect. To get free information about relationship or to learn more about Wellness Counseling Center please visit our website, www.TheWellnessCounselingCenter.com or contact us.