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Why "Love Me Better" Fails

I'm unhappy. Love me better."

That's not exactly how we put it. We ask for more time at home, more romance, more appreciation, more help around the house, or more evenings out.

Usually, what we ask for are things we received lots of us at the start of the relationship. We just want to go back to those good times, to feeling loved.

Feeling that loved again is a perfectly reasonable wish, definitely not out of reach for most of us, UNLESS we try to get there by pleading, "Love me better!"

"Love me better!" shuts off love. It doesn't get you more. The love is still there. Today, it might take the form of a steady drip into your retirement account, instead of chocolates and flowers. It might take the form of family time with the kids, instead of date time with you. It might even be lurking just below the surface, waiting for any sign you would actually welcome a hug or some hand-holding.

When you announce, "Can't feel it; love me better," it is a slap in the face. It's a denial of all you are being given. Because your mate cannot tell you want what you want instead of something else, that you are not even looking at all the other forms of love offered to you, it comes across as a demand to fill an apparently bottomless pit.

What can you do instead? Pay attention. Savor the love you are getting. Appreciate it. Say thank you, and be specific about why you are grateful.

"Love me better" creates resentment for both of you. You resent not having what you put on your marriage checklist. Your spouse resents being asked for more than what he or she feels capable of. And resentment snuffs out love. "Love me better" snuffs out love.

Get to work on filling the holes in your life that make you want more. Need more conversation? Make new friends or call the old ones. Need someone to appreciate your cooking? Invite your family over. Want to dance? Find an instructor. You may even find your wife or husband willing to help you find the people who can help you.

Get creative. Want more together time at home? Rearrange your schedule to be fully present when your mate is home. Pay someone to do the chores that cut into the time your spouse is not working. Learn a skill that pays better or take a risk, so less of the burden of paying the bills falls on your spouse. Instead of asking your spouse to spend less time at the office, make his or her time at home more enticing, more urgent to hurry home for.

Does it sound like work to give yourself what you need, on top of everything else you must get done each week? Then imagine how much harder it sounds to the love of your life, who knows a lot less than you do about what would actually please you.

Reopen the flow of love that made those early months so wonderful. All you have to do is pay attention to ALL the ways you are loved. You married someone very special, with his or her own way of loving you. The moment you appreciate what you are given, instead of resenting what you are not, love will rush back in. Enjoy!

Comments

It is my own responsibility to create the world I want to live in. I've seen quotes like this in dozens of different places and I can't remember a single reference now -- but if there's something I want to be different, even in regards to another person, it's not asking them to change that results in a solution. It's changing myself. It's been proven to me over and over again.

This is a great post, man. I love it. :}

Thank you, Megan!

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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