John Thurman M.Div., M.A., LPCC
It is sometimes tough to love someone else. It is even pretty difficult to love your family. One middle-aged married man told his wife that if she loved him, she would have married someone else.
In the past several articles, we have taken a very brief overview of the nature of intimacy. In this closing posts, I wanted to give you some hints on how to love others.
Listen. It is impossible to be a better lover unless you listen. Many of the issues couples face stem from not listening. A young couple was meeting for dinner on the patio of a local restaurant after a crazy day at work. As they were settling into their chairs, he was tweeting, and she was on Facebook. In the midst of their multitasking she said, I’m so proud of you.” He responded, without missing a beat, “I’m tired of you, too.” Multitasking may be something good in the workplace, but not so hot if you are building a relationship. Listen to your partner as you would have them listen to you.
Overlook. Most of the things that can annoy us can be ignored. Our tendency is to retaliate. A friend of mine told me that his neighbor called him one morning at 3:00 a.m. to tell him that his dog was barking. He went on to say he called his neighbor back the next morning at 3:00 a.m. to tell him he didn’t own a dog.
If the person you are in a relationship with does something that annoys you overlook it. It takes a lot less energy.
Value. To value, people means to acknowledge their real worth as humans and a as unique individuals. An older pastor friend of mine who performs several weddings a year, recently told me about how he answers the question many young grooms ask. “Pastor, how much do I owe you for performing the ceremony? My friend just smiles and says, “Just pay me what you think she is worth.” Needless to say, he had a good income stream from weddings.
Encourage. You and I will never completely understand human behavior when you go to Cliff’s Amusement Park with your child, and you put them on the merry-go-round and try to get a cold drink. Every time you try to leave they call out your name, and you have to stay and watch, Why? Because we all have the need to be encouraged and appreciated as individuals.
These are the essential components of being a better lover. Listen, Overlook, Value, and Encourage. Do it every day, and you will demonstrate love to your partner, children, co-workers and others.
I hope the Shades of Love series has been helpful.
Next series: Get a Grip on Stress, Anxiety and Worry. Question? Did you know that Stress, Anxiety and Worry are the leading behavioral health issues in America. In the next several posts I will show you proven principles that will help you push back on stress, anxiety and worry.