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The Practical Side of Romance in Love and Relationships

 

 

Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

www.katherinealbrecht.com

 

By:  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

Fort Fairfield Journal, March 5, 2014

 The Bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you, it's the basic golden rule and it's not just the Bible it's kind of a universal truth.  If you want the hearts and flowers and formality and big dinner, rather than sit back and wait for your spouse to do it, how about doing it yourself?  If you want the big night out and you happened to be married to a husband or a wife who isn't going to initiate that, then take the initiative and do it yourself.  Everybody has a difference in styles and I think this is something so few people understand.  Many people are of the mindset that the way they show their caring, their love, or the way they may behave, they tend to have this expectation that the other person in their relationship is going to do the same when that is not always the case.  We end up setting ourselves up for disappointment and others for frustration when they can't meet our needs. 

    It's not only the relationships that we're in now that we need to work harder at to make better and maybe give our partners a little bit of space and help them to meet our needs by meeting our own needs, but it's also ourselves.  For example, I don't think there's a person reading this who hasn't had their heart broken who didn't go through some early painful experience.  We need to let go of the pains of the past and focus a little more on the goodness of the present.  Beverly Flaxington, who has written a book on relationships, says that all of our pain comes from either ruminating and carrying forward something that really hurt us in the past or worrying about something that's coming in the future.    

   If you approach the person that you care about and you can really put the focus on right now, on this person, and not have some of that baggage you're carrying; or if somebody hurt you before, instead of continuing to let them hurt you in the present, to see that right now that person's not here, your life is good, it has gone on, then you can take the attitude of looking forward and put down that basket of prickly thorns you've been carrying around.  Why hold on to something that hurts you?  Make the decision that you are not going to let that hurt steal from you anymore, because that's not how God made you.

   Now there's a big element of faith in there, of trust.  To say even though the last time I tried this, years ago when I gave my heart to someone I was hurt, there is a huge element of trust to say I'm going to step out and I'm really going to love.  I'm not just referring to single people who are struggling with dating, or after a divorce, but I'm even referring to people who are five, ten, twenty years into a marriage.   For so many adults, a part of themselves that they hold back from their marriage  I think  starts from not wanting to be vulnerable, or they were vulnerable and got hurt, then it really deteriorates over time, if you're not careful, into thinking this person doesn't love me, they're not meeting my needs, they're not doing what I want, they're not doing what I need, I'm feeling untrusting and unloved.

   We women often struggle with this magical thinking that men are able to read our minds.  Of course, the husbands, the boyfriends, the guys out there, you get frustrated looking at us women saying, I can't read your mind, I don't know what you're looking for, I don't know how to do it.  I think we women can really help to ease that process by not putting these massive mind reading expectations on the men that we love.

   We really have to be careful what we say to the other person in our relationship.  Out of the mouth come the issues of the heart.  This starts in our heart, it starts internally and then if flies out of our mouth.  What comes out of your mouth, whether it's beautiful or ugly is a reflection of what's going on inside of you, that's self-talk.  So, the type of self-talk we are engaging ourselves in will eventually manifest itself verbally to the other person.  If  they’re good thoughts it will be constructive, if bad, destructive to the relationship. 

   Eventually it all gets back to the big picture, what ultimately do I want out of this relationship, in my home, or out of life.  That's really where we have to take hold of this self-talk with both hands.  A lot of it comes from messages we heard as children, a lot is from criticism we've taken personally.  We start believing some of these messages. We tell ourselves they are facts, when they may not necessarily be.  We need to grapple with that steering wheel and turn it away from the wrong thoughts to the right ones. We need to reframe our thoughts to be more constructive.  We don't realize how much power we have to put our thoughts through a different filter, to change our response and make it come out better for everyone.

   One of the things that occurs when relationships go sour is each person is waiting for the other to change.  If only he would start being nice, then I'd start being nice; I'm only acting this way because of the way he's acting.  Of course, he's thinking the same thing about her.  This is one of the hardest thing in a relationship for people to learn is you have to step out on faith and once you begin to put that level of constraint or restraint or warmth or love into a relationship, it takes time, sometimes weeks or even months, eventually your partner will begin observing your behavior and with the faith and confidence of keeping at it even when it doesn't seem to be working, things eventually can turn around.

   There's a passage in Proverbs that says love covers a multitude of sins.  This idea of love covering sins is so foreign to this 'me' oriented society. We want to know how are you going to meet my needs, how are you going to make me feel better, how are you going to get me the gift I want, how are you going to take me to the dinner I want to go to.  I think what we're really called to do if we want to have a solid and healthy relationship is we're called to use love to cover those shortcomings of the people we love.  Love can conquer all sins.  It's like a healing balm that can flow over not just marriages or boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, but really all relationships.  

   Even though you don't get everything you want—you're never going to, anyway—but you look at marriages that have gone sour, they're not getting anything they want either, nothing.  Maybe there's a husband one night that didn't get the dinner he wanted, but he was getting the marriage he wanted, so it was all okay and I think that is the bigger picture that we all have to keep sight of - what you really want.  What you really want is the marriage, the home, the security, the comfort, the love, the connection; that's what you really want.  Not the dinner, not the flowers, not the card, not the chocolates.  At the end of the day, what you really want is a good life.

 

 

This editorial was transcribed and adapted for print from a recent Katherine Albrecht radio program, by David Deschesne, with her permission.  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D. is a syndicated radio talk show host on the Genesis Communication Network. Listen to her program live daily, or download her podcast for listening at any time at www.gcnlive.com Katherine’s website is:  www.katherinealbrecht.com