We get tired. We get busy. We get distracted. We get stressed out. And this is how, you might say, we fall into ourselves and away from each other and love slowly dies.
It’s not like taking care of a dog. You GOTTA take the dog out for a walk twice a day, or else. And if you don’t feed the dog, he’ll LET YOU KNOW. Beyond that, most dogs are down with what you’re down with, and routine is no problem for them, though of course they usually prefer play and exercise.
But with a person, this is love’s death sentence: the loss of interest and energy that grows over time, except for the ritual boost that comes with birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day (this Sunday, by the way!).
But if you were to tell someone, hey, bring the love back to life in your relationship, they’d have no idea what to do. And that’s the thing: none of us do!
And that’s why we offer the ultimate secret for bringing back love from the brink. Or from the doldrums. Or you could think of this as the ultimate way to celebrate your love by renewing it, and love needs constant renewal.
It’s so simple. You and your partner just sit down and write down the 7 things that make you feel loved.
“I feel loved when you...”
“I would feel loved if you...”
That’s it. You each complete either or both of these statements 7 times. You each offer your partner 7 ways to make you feel loved. 7 things they can DO to make you feel loved.
The only rule is that these things that you’re saying make you feel loved have to be specific and do-able.
“I feel loved when you’re nice to me” is not good because it’s not specific. I may not know what to do to “be nice” to you. But if you said, “I feel loved when you say please and thank you,” then I know what to do.
“I would feel loved if you could go out there and finally make a success of yourself” may not be do-able. It depends on what you mean by success. Not everyone can be a big success. Most of us are lucky to be able to earn a living! So this would have to be re-tooled into something much more do-able, like “I’d feel loved if I saw you working hard to try to earn more money.”
But as long as the “I feel loved...” sentences are specific and do-able, think of what you have. A treasure map! Now I know 7 things I can start doing now, today, to make you feel loved. And you know 7 things you can start doing now, today, to make me feel loved.
Most people put down a mixture of things their partner has never done or rarely does or hasn’t done for quite a while. So, okay. This exercise is all about who cares why the good stuff has gone missing. It’s all about let’s start making things better now.
It’s great if you don’t understand what your partner is asking for and query them about it. “What exactly do you mean when you say, ....” Good! Nail it down. Make sure that in the end, you know what they had in mind. It can be really helpful to both of you to make things clear. After all, this is about setting up expectations. If I know what to do for you, then you’ll know what to expect from me, and we minimize the chances for disappointment.
Second, it’s okay if there’s something you just can’t do. That’s why we have 7 things! “I would feel loved if you lost all that weight.” Well! Maybe I’d love to lose “all that weight” too, but based on my lack of success so far, I’d be a nut to promise anything beyond just another failed diet. So maybe here all I can say is that I understand why this is important to you, that it’s important to me, that I’ll do what I can, but that I can’t promise anything.
And if you’d feel loved if we tried out having a threesome, I might just say, uh, no.
Whatever you do, don’t say yes to anything you can’t and won’t deliver on.
Oh, and there’s nothing magic about the number 7. It’s just that you don’t want a long, long to-do list, nor do you want to be limited to one or two things.
But that’s it. Now you have in your possession the ultimate secret for bringing back love and keeping it alive. Some couples I’ve worked with do this exercise every year or so: after all, circumstances change, and so do our feelings.
How does Why Couples Fight fit into all of this? “More love” isn’t the answer when a couple is caught up in the destructive process of disempowerment, anger, and resentment. That’d be like fighting a fire by throwing candy at it. When two people in a relationship can’t get their needs met because they’re stuck in power struggles, they have to be shown a way to resolve their conflicts without pain and damage. That’s what Why Couples Fight does.
But as the bad stuff goes away, good stuff has to come in. The “ultimate secret” I’m sharing with you today, along with our previous post on the Rules for bringing affection back, will do the trick.
Happy Valentine’s Day!