One reason why relationships are so difficult is because each individual has their own concept how they interpret love.
The way a person feels love is different from the way another person feels love. Until one can figure out how to give love to receive love, than a relationship is going to be difficult.
There have been numerous books written on how to love your man or how to love your woman. The fact is hard to argue that most men and women process emotion differently. There has been enough evidential research done to substantiate that this is true. There is also the difference of hormones for men and women that play a part in the way a person feels.
“The concept of loving is so individual, depending on how a person was raised, religion, cultural influences, communication and sexual intimacy”…….
It boils down to understanding how one needs to feel loved and expressing that to ones partner and for them to communicate how they need to feel loved. This sounds easy but it can be complicated.
Cases in point:
Client Steve and Karen:
Steve and Karen came to see me for Intimacy Counseling because their sex life had grown non-existent. Steve grew up in a home where his mom showed him affection by doing his laundry, cooking for him, but was not overly affectionate. To him this was a way of showing that she loved him. Karen grew up in a home where her parents were very affectionate with her, hugging, saying I love you, but did not do her laundry and her mom was not organized and a terrible cook. Karen’s idea of loving was hugs, kisses and affection. The idea that cooking or doing laundry as showing love was the furthest thing from Karen’s mind as to how she thought to express her love to Steve.
Steve never expressed to Karen his idea of showing love or how he saw “loving” because he never really thought about it, but assumed that if Karen loved him this is how she would show him. He was not terribly affectionate but did see that his wife liked the affection and was more than willing to give her that, but when she did not show him it back by making him dinner and doing his laundry he started to give her less affection, and then she began to feel like Steve did not love her and their sex life began to suffer. Neither of them was very good about communication and they kept their feelings to themselves. Once they both understood the process of loving and how to express that to each other, the relationship began to get better along with their sex life.
The five ways to go about loving and being loved…
- Start with oneself: Write down how to feel loved……Be completely honest, this is where people run into problems. If feeling loved is having someone cook for you then write it down. Perhaps feeling loved when a partner hugs and kisses you every day. Maybe feeling loved when a partner wants to make love to you, and finds you attractive, and shows it.. Perhaps feeling loved when a partner takes over in the bedroom (this is not gender related). Be very clear when writing down how to be loved (action).
- Partner participates: Tell a partner to write down how they want to be loved, and explain to them the concept, along with being as honest as possible.
- Communicate with a partner: This is the second biggest problem that people have. Be very clear to a partner about what makes you feel loved. If it is going out to dinner once a week or fixing things in the house, than tell a partner that. If a partner want to show love by rubbing ears and massaging your head then tell a partner that. The point is the more one knows about oneself and the clearer at telling a partner about it, the more you will be loved the way you need to be loved. A person cannot read each others mind, they need to be told in a positive way how to love. The biggest mistake that people make is thinking that because they feel a certain way about how to be loved, that the other person does as well, and this is simply not true or possible. We are all individuals with our own unique past, DNA, mapping in our brains of past events, how we react to pain or pleasure, what cause us hurt, rejection or fear. We have to communicate that to our partner, not just in words but with touch, an open mind and a love and acceptance of ourselves first…..
- When a partner is telling how they need to be loved: Listen, have an open mind, try not to judge or insist on changing the other person. Understanding that what they are saying they may never have told anyone before. If a questions arises then ask them, in a positive way. Truth be told not everyone can accept how another person needs to be loved. That is why knowing how one needs to be loved, and finding a person who can love and accept you for who you are, will make for a better relationship.
- Always remember that if one does not love or accept oneself, then it is going to be hard to ask another person to love and accept you first…..Part of the exercise is working on loving oneself, accepting of who one is and the way one needs to be loved. Get over the embarrassment or shame, fear or rejection, because if one truly want to be loved the way one needs to be loved then one has to be honest with oneself first.
Start with yourself:
Write down what makes you feel loved. If feeling loved to you is having someone cook for you then write it down. Perhaps you feel loved when your partner hugs and kisses you, write it down. Make sure to be extremely specific when making your list! (action).
Have your partner write down a specific list on how they would want to feel love from you. What you can do for them to shows that you love them.
Communication is extremely important in letting each other know how you want to be loved. Read the lists that you both wrote to each other and talk about how to work on the action of loving.