Are You Really Ready for Love? Expressing Love for Your Mate
- 2008 24 Jun
Walking through the park on an early Spring day, I saw a couple eating a sack lunch and talking excitedly with one another. They were young, and I presumed by their frequent touching, constant eye contact and genuine interest in what the other has had to say, they were in love.
“Ah, love is so nice,” I thought to myself. “Here is a couple who truly love one another and is able to show it.”
We are now in our fourth of a series of ten qualities needed to determine if you are really ready for love—the ability to express love, in words and action, for your mate.
At first glance, this quality may seem far too simplistic. Who is unable to express love for their mate? Isn’t that Requirement Number 1?
Yes. There is hardly any relationship that will proceed past the first date unless someone clearly expresses a desire to see that other person again. Then, after the first couple of dates, someone must take the risk of sharing their wish for seeing the other again—and again, and again.
Here’s where a problems arise. There can be a distinct, and disruptive, break in the action. You might feel loving, and genuinely care about the other person, but if you cannot show it, in language that is meaningful to them, you are in for a rude awakening.
It is not enough to feel loving. We must be sensitive to the others “love language.” You know the routine. For one person, love means gassing up their car and making sure the kids are picked up from soccer practice on time. For another it means a surprise weekend away. The critical issue is that you become sensitive to learning your mate's love language. A love relationship requires an ability to constantly set one’s agenda aside to be alert for ways to meet your mate’s love needs.
Sadly, the old joke—with more than a hint of truth to it—goes something like this:
She: I need to know that you love me.
He: Well, if I didn’t love you I wouldn’t have married you.
She: But, that was twenty years ago.
He: If my feelings changed I would have told you.
Or, how about this version:
He: I need to know what you would like from me to show you I love you.
She: Well, if I have to tell you, it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I have to ask you for flowers and a dinner out, I’m not going to do it. It doesn’t mean anything to me.
Love requires action – thoughtful action. It is not enough to feel it. Each of us wants to receive love in action. So, if you are really ready for love, you are ready for the work involved in learning your mate’s love language—even if it changes over time. You are ready to anticipate his or her needs.
Scott Peck, in his book, The Road Less Traveled, says that love means seeking the best for the other person. Love means wanting the other’s highest good. The Apostle Paul said love “is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13: 5).
Love, real love, takes work. It takes a tenacious attitude toward creating an atmosphere in your relationship where love will prosper, not simply survive. It is not enough to buy your mate a card on Valentine’s Day and a special gift for his/her birthday. Real love takes action—seven days a week.
Let me offer you a few action steps to consider as you determine if you are really ready to fiercely pursue love.
One, say what you feel. Learn the language of e-motions—energy in motion. Practice telling your mate, every day, what you feel, think and want. Learn to share the broad variety of emotions: sadness, happiness, joy, ecstasy, disappointment, frustration. Revealing these inner tides of emotions is a way to endear yourself to your mate.
Two, really listen to your mate. Don’t simply listen for the obvious. Listen for what is said, and what is not said that lingers below the surface. Help your mate give expression to what they really want to say.
Three, ask for what you need. Be willing to risk asking your mate for what you want. Perhaps you want more time with them—ask for it. Perhaps you want a lovely candlelight dinner out at your favorite French restaurant – ask for it. Perhaps you want to attend a different church service together—ask for it.
Four, share what really makes you feel loved. Don’t be reluctant to sit down with your mate and share, again, those things that are very special and make you feel especially loved. Encourage him, or her, to do the same. Make a vow to do those things that make each other feel loved.
Finally, celebrate every day together. Find ways to make each encounter special. Eat meals together. Pray together. Take walks together. Do not lose sight of the fact that each day, each moment, is a gift. It is a gift to be with one another, not to be taken for granted.
Are you ready to show your mate, in words and actions, that they are very special to you? If so, you may really be ready for love.
David Hawkins, Pd.D., has worked with couples and families to improve the quality of their lives by resolving personal issues for the last 30 years.
He is the author of over 18 books, including Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage, Saying It So He'll Listen, and When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You. His book, When the Man in Your Life Can’t Commit, released in February 2006. Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.