Sunday, April 4, 2010

~Dare 18~ Loves seeks to understand

When a couple first starts dating they tend to seek to find all knowledge and understanding about their partner that they can. The new couple loves learning what makes the other one 'tick', what their favorite (and least favorite) foods are, what they can do to make the other one comfortable. Over the years we tend to let go of that because we feel that we know everything about our partner, or because we are no longer interested for various reasons.

What we need to remind ourselves of is though that just like we have changed since we first started dating, so has our partner. New situations in life can and do add new layers and remove others that used to be there. In order to stay 'up to date' we need to continue to ask and most importantly listen to what our partner is saying in words but also through their actions and non-actions. We are able to stay up to date on the latest in Hollywood/our favorite sports team/our best friend. So why is it so easy to forget to do the same for our spouse? We want to know that they care about us and especially women want to be shown that without asking. I believe that men have that same wish though even if they don't necessarily verbally express it. It makes ME feel good to have a wish/hope granted without having to have said it recently. Why would a guy not feel good about it as well?

When we stop trying to understand our spouse we stop growing as a couple. When we stop trying to understand we are unable to empathize and small differences start leading to fights simply because we don't UNDERSTAND our partners reasoning for their actions. We hate feeling misunderstood. Just like we need to ask and listen, we need to be willing to TALK when we are asked.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you know his or her greatest hopes and dreams?
2. Do you fully understand how they prefer to give and receive love?
(A great book to learn about that is The 5 Love Languages)
3. Do you know your spouse's greatest fears and why they struggle with them?

I know for us, the understanding is a daily struggle. Loving someone with a mental illness is not easy. I can only read up about what it is like and listen to what he is willing and able to share with me. And even then there is a HUGE difference between theoretical knowledge and living with bipolar disorder. What counts is that I am trying to understand and that I acknowledge that I do not understand. Not understanding does not have to be a negative as long as you are aware of it and take that into account in your daily life.

For today's dare, set aside time for just you and your partner without any interruptions and make it your goal to learn about each other again and to get to know each other better again. Make it an enjoyable date for you and your spouse!


Ann said...

I really love that idea of really (like REALLY really) knowing all the dreams and hopes of your partner. I know the basic, obvious ones...but I do need to get in there and really learn more about what he sees for himself and us.

Kris said...

Ann, good luck in rediscovering your partner! I've learned that by learning new things about others you tend to learn a lot about yourself as well

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