DOES YOUR PARTNER OR SPOUSE KNOW YOU LOVE THEM
On the eve of our 8th wedding anniversary this week, with all the lockdown restrictions I can’t help but reflect on the road that got us here. It hasn’t been all roses, there have been thorns. It definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing, as we’ve endured some not so desirable storms along the way.
All this reflecting got me thinking. We often assume that our partner or spouse knows that we love them, right? We throw in the ” I love you” here and there and assume it is enough. Is it enough though for our partner to know that we love them?
A positive from our time in lockdown has been that the husband and I have spent so much time together. Over the years we’ve spent time together daily, but mostly that time was limited to when we weren’t at work or the gym etc.. Since the end of March 2020, we’ve literally spent 24/7 together. Thankfully, we’ve actually enjoyed this time together, like we have a choice, and it’s actually brought us closer. We speak more. We love more (get that mind out the gutter).
Maybe not the norm, but often when one is in a relationship today, our defences are up high and we make a conscious decision to only let our partners in, up to a certain point, a mechanism that is supposed to protect us from pain. Fearing that if we let them in too far, we’re opening ourselves up to being hurt, but is that how we should be living? Is that how relationships should be built? Surely not!
“A RELATIONSHIP WHERE YOU CAN BE WEIRED TOGETHER IS YOUR BEST CHOICE.” – Paulo Coelho
Listening to friends and our own experience, today more often than not, opt-outing of a relationship, when things seem to not be going well, is too regularly the default response. I’m not referring to abusive relationships here. Opt-out of a relationship then we mope around for a month or two because we yearn for the other person. If the relationship is worth fighting for, is it not worth trying to work it out, instead of opting out as your first step of defence?
Darren and I have been there! After a few attempts at trying to work things out, we finally agreed to walk away after 7 years of living together. For a whole year we lived separate lives but under the same roof. It was weird. It wasn’t always easy. Somehow, we survived the year and found ourselves back with each other a year later.
“YOU CAN’T JUST GIVE UP ON SOMEONE BECAUSE THE SITUATION IS NOT IDEAL. GREAT RELATIONSHIPS ARE NOT GREAT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO PROBLEMS. THEY ARE GREAT BECAUSE BOTH PEOPLE CARE ENOUGH ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT WORK.” – Everyday Power
What we learnt from that year apart, are important relationship lessons that are applicable to both LGBT and heterosexual relationships…
Let your partner or spouse know often that you love them, but show it too in your own love language. Don’t ever assume that they feel loved. Say “I Love You” often, especially before you sleep and before you leave each other for work. What if one of you never returns home God forbid, alive?
Make every effort to go on date nights where it’s just you and your partner/spouse … NO KIDS! It’s an opportunity for you both to reconnect. Date nights are a must, and you don’t have to leave the house, a picnic in the garden or pizza and a movie on the sofa cuddled up is just as rewarding. You need time where it’s just the two of you sans the kids interrupting, giving each other undivided attention. Not competing with work or the likes.
“RELATIONSHIPS INCLUDE: FIGHTS, JEALOUSY, ARGUMENTS, FAITH, TEARS, DISAGREEMENTS, BUT A REAL RELATIONSHIP FIGHTS THROUGH ALL THAT WITH LOVE.” – The Love Bits
A thorn in many relationships is the lack of honest and open conversations between spouses or partners. We often fear to say something or share our feelings out of fear that we may trigger an argument or open old wounds. Bolocks! If the relationship means anything to you both, and it’s worth fighting for, you should be free to talk openly about what isn’t working and what you want to change in your relationship to improve it. The other partner/spouse needs to also be receptive and willing to hear and listen to the concerns being raised and willing to make a change. This is so essential for the health of any relationship. Silence and trying to be a martyr will achieve the opposite.
Darren and I have two different sets of love languages, and I love it! My love language is food. Be it creating a meal or baking a cake, that’s how I share my love. It’s not always perfect, but it always comes from my heart. Darren’s love language is the gift of giving. He gives unconditionally to those he loves. His time. His attention, etc. He loves to give. So make an effort to learn your partner’s or spouse’s love language as we don’t all perceive love in the same manner.
“I THINK FOR ANY RELATIONSHIP TO BE SUCCESSFUL, THERE NEEDS TO BE LOVING COMMUNICATION, APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING.” – Miranda Kerr
I often read about how couples “never go to bed without making peace” KAK! I find it really hard to believe that you can go from flaming hot to cool as a cucumber if the reason you’re mad is something you’re passionate about. I know we’ve gone to bed mad with each other a number of times, eventually, we both cool down, address the issue and actually find a way to resolve the things or work at making it better for us both. Go to bed mad, but don’t ever force peace when it’s not time! Time apart to breath is known to assist in you calming down and clears your thoughts. When I say apart, I don’t mean in separate houses or someone else’s arms! We tell our kids to go to their rooms to cool down, why shouldn’t that same concept apply to us as adults?
Openly let your partner/spouse know what made you mad so that they know what caused the rift. This way you both learn from it. If you’re apologizing, say what you’re sorry about and how you will do your best to be different next time. If you’re mad, state your case, just don’t bottle it in and hope the world around you will change because you’re silent.
“A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS ABOUT TWO THINGS: APPRECIATING THE SIMILARITIES AND RESPECTING THE DIFFERENCES.” – Unknown.
Honestly, I don’t believe for a second that there’s a relationship out there that is permanently in the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship. You will hit a slump. You will get bored. It’s normal for relationships. When you hit this phase in your relationship, it isn’t an opportunity for you to look around and try new things with someone new. It is time for you to put more effort into your relationship. Try new things with your partner or spouse. That said, if after all your efforts to make a relationship work you’ve mutually accepted that it’s over, walk away. Walk away knowing that you have tried to make it work for you both, just do not do it for the kids’ sake. It doesn’t work.
Relationships don’t always balance out, but they do in the bigger scheme of things. Does that make sense?! You will find that some days you will have to pull more weight than your partner or spouse, and vice versa. Or there’s a period when one gives more than the other, then something happens and it shifts. Don’t give expecting the same love in return. We don’t necessarily speak the same love language.
“A PERFECT RELATIONSHIP IS NOT PERFECT, IT’S JUST THAT BOTH INDIVIDUAL NEVER GAVE UP.” – Everyday Power
Shit happens in life, and some individuals internalize it, while others want to share it with the world. Make every effort to check in with each other so you know where their head’s at. Don’t be sharing it with the world, your followers aren’t the ones in the relationship.
A mistake Darren and I made was not to speak about money, the same way we did when we decided to buy a house together. This isn’t one of those topics you hope will just work itself out! It’s an extremely important one, especially if you’re deciding to move in together. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other about your financial goals and what your expectations are where finances are concerned right from the start of your relationship. Note I said the start of your relationship, not when you’re dating.
Do you find that you both get to bed, but instead of speaking to each other your noses are on the phone as you browse through social media … aimlessly. Why not put that phone on silent and turn if over, then speak to each other. At the dinner time, our son loves to ask us “So how was your day dad?“, why not have similar conversations with your spouse or partner as you both unwind before turning in?
“GOOD RELATIONSHIPS DON’T JUST HAPPEN. THEY TAKE TIME, PATIENCE, AND TWO PEOPLE WHO TRULY WANT TO BE TOGETHER.” – Unknown.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, share your softer side, be there for each other regardless of the consequences, most importantly love each other. Relationships are never easy. They require effort from both parties.
A relationship with love can be beautiful and one hell of an amazing ride if you both want it to be!
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional relationship counsellor, these are my own thoughts based on my own relationship experience.