In my book, Love Tips and Trips for Gay and Lesbian Relationships, I have identified 50 Ways to Keep Your Lover. My post last Friday offered strategies 15-16, this week I am sharing strategies 19-20. Look for more strategies next Friday!
50 Ways to Keep Your Lover: # 17-18
17. Be Curious, Not Critical. When you become frustrated with your partner about something he has done, is your first instinct to stop and ask yourself, “Now I wonder what is going on with him that he needs to take a nap every day and when I come home he’s asleep on the couch?” Or is your instinct to say “You are sleeping your life away, and mine too for that matter! Every day I come home I find you on the couch, asleep; the dishes are dirty, the house is a mess, the bills need paid, there is a lot of stuff to do around here and what are you doing? You’re sleeping!”
If you do one thing different in your relationship starting today, I encourage you to shift your entire perspective about how you see your partner. If you find yourself having critical thoughts and feelings about her on a regular basis, it is time to turn those criticisms into curiosities. Criticisms are toxic, negative, hostile thoughts and expressions that lead to anger, resentment, and frustration for both parties.
Let me ask you this. Are you more likely to stop taking naps if A) someone belittles and criticizes you, or B) someone expresses heartfelt concern for your behavior and its effects on your partner and your relationship? I don’t know about you, but I’ll take curiosity over criticism any day! Try it. It works!
18. Be Loving. In order to feel love, you must be loving. Think about the start of your relationship and how you were driven to express your love. Perhaps you wrote notes and emails, sent flowers, called, left voice messages or text messages, you left gifts and surprises or arranged special outings. It is by expressing our love, and by being loving, that we in fact experience love.
Love is an ever-changing resource that encourages our growth and our healing, and it is both a motivation and a reward for the expression of our care and concern of others. In a committed relationship love must be nurtured through action. For love to sustain and grow, it must be treated as a verb, not a noun. Love is a constantly changing emotion that has the capacity to expand and contract in accordance with the rhythms of our life and our actions.