So, let me start with a story (about how my life got flipped turned upside down…just kidding), on how this topic of how to improve a relationship came about. A couple of weeks ago, my wife got a package in the mail and asked for me to pick it up, “but make sure I don’t open it!” It was from her friend. I went to pick it up and I could tell it was a book. All I could think of was why would my wife hide a book from me? We are not one to keep secrets from each other, so it annoyed me that she didn’t want me to see it. I did my best to get a glimpse of it and when she wasn’t looking, I saw, not the cover page, but the chapter she flipped to. I quickly searched the chapter name to find what book she was reading. I picked the first link and I started reading the summary and realized she was reading a book about how to improve your relationship. Fair enough! I decided to do the same because I understand it takes two people to work on a relationship. The book I bought was the book used in the movie Fireproof. The link is to the trailer of the movie. (Great movie by the way.)
In my last blog post, I mentioned that I began each day reading this book about love. The book is titled The Love Dare. Each day, for 40 days, is a challenge to complete to give more love to your significant other, which, in turn, should allow the reader to receive love in reciprocation.
“Though unconditional love is promised at weddings, it is rarely practiced in real life. As a result, romantic hopes often fade into disappointment at home. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.”-The Love Dare
Let me give you an example of what these challenges are like. It actually starts out difficult for many people with the title “Love is patient.” You must refrain from saying anything negative for the day toward your partner. If you have nothing positive to say, then don’t say anything at all. This can prove to be very difficult because we all have sharp tongues at time and want to make other people feel our pain because misery loves company. Currently, I am only on Day 9, but I am excited to continue reading it because it makes me feel like a better husband for my wife and I know she deserves that.
Another book that I have read, that I highly encourage everyone to read is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. I normally don’t read books that fast, but I read that book in 2 days because it was that impressive. It explains that each person feels love in different ways and they typically give love in the way that they wish to be loved. The 5 different love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Physical Touch and Acts of Service. We have a primary and secondary language and relationships can prove to be difficult when we do not give our partners love in the way they most feel loved. For instance, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. Guess which one is the most difficult for my wife? The difficult thing for her is to express herself with words. Her love language is Quality Time, which can be frustrating when I work long hours. Both of us have to work together to make the other person feel loved to improve our relationship.
How do you show love with these love languages? One way we used to spend quality time together was when we would cook together. I never learned to cook and her cooking is one of the things I appreciate the most about her. When we used to cook together, if I did not understand something or would make a mistake, she would be very harsh with her words which would cause me not to want to spend that quality time with her anymore. But, love is unconditional. It’s something we have been working on and this week, we began cooking together again. I made some spaghetti and she made peach blueberry crumble.
But, this post is about RELATIONSHIPS, not just marriage, right? Love is how to improve relationships. There are 96 words for love in Sanskrit, 80 in ancient Persia, 36 in Eskimo and 4 in Greek. While reading The Love Dare, there was one sentence I came across that made me think about my work. The chapter was “Love is not jealous.” The sentence was “people will celebrate your success as long as it does not exceed their own.” That, is not love and that is what will damage work relationships. I am fortunate that my wife and I have never felt that way toward each other because we understand that we complete each other. Our strengths work together to form a better life. Our job in life is to help other people succeed, not up to our level, but up to their fullest potential. Don’t hold back other people due to your own insecurities and jealousy. Love is unconditional.
What ways do you express love to your partner and other people? What has helped you improve your relationships? Please comment below and don’t forget to follow! Thank you and have an outstanding day.