Inspiring Reminders to Think, Live and Love Well

Inspiring Reminders to Think and Live Well

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Does Love Mean to You?

     Define LOVE:  "A profoundly tender feeling of affection and warmth towards another person".  That's a common description if you look it up.  Notice the emphasis on "feeling".  Certainly we can feel the emotion of love,  but I would suggest that our feelings are not what's most important.  It's what we do and how we act that really matter.  So, yes, love is a feeling, but it's also a set of behaviors.  When it comes to relationships, it's our actions that count.  Are we expressing our love in the most effective way?  Valentines Day is quickly approaching.  If you feel love for someone, you may be thinking of what you will do to show that tomorrow.  But do you really know what love means for your partner?  What are the things you can do that are the most important and significant, that show you really do know your partner inside and out?  Roses, chocolates and a mushy card are what we're told to buy.  But what if your loved one would really feel more valued and cherished if you washed the kitchen floor, or walked hand in hand with her in the park instead?  
     In new relationships, we're usually so eager to please that we do just about everything and anything we can think of to act out our love.  At least some of the time, we get it right, and the interactions feel good and are well received.  Then, most of us get a little lazy, and we do fewer and fewer of those loving behaviors.  As we grow and change as individuals, some of the things that are meaningful expressions of love will change with time as well.  What's most important is to keep talking about it.  In my therapy practice, clients often exclaim, "I shouldn't have to tell him what love means to me - he should know by now!"  Or, "if I have to tell her, it means she doesn't really love me!"  Some people would prefer that their partner could read their mind.  I haven't seen that strategy work yet.  What I do see all the time, though, is disappointment and frustration when needs are not met. 
     Have you first asked the soul-searching questions of yourself?  What does love mean to me?  How would I like my partner to express his caring?  What specific ways would I like to be shown affection?  What words work the best to make me feel important and valued? What actions from her really hit the target - really bring out the best in me?  You've got to know yourself first.
     Once you know your own needs, can you communicate these with your partner in a positive, warm, inviting manner? Instead of, "you never support me", can you say, "I'd love for you to sit and cuddle with me on the couch, and just listen to me talk about my day."
     This Valentines Day, why not give each other truly wonderful gifts - the gifts of knowing what love means to each of you. 


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