I often work with couples who are so ready to feel loved by their partners. They have dreamed about it, waited for it, fought over it and longed for it. As a couples counselor I see this hunger for love in many shapes and sizes.
It breaks my heart a little when I witness this among the clients I work with. And that’s why I feel so passionately about my work. I believe all couples who are together, who want to stay together, long to feel loved.
Couples Lose Perspective by Focusing on Negatives
So why is it so hard for people in relationships to feel this? I believe it’s because couples start to compile lists of what’s wrong with their mate as soon as difficulties occur. Pretty soon the list gets so long that there’s no way around it and the relationship begins to feel hopeless. Then there’s this feeling of overwhelm that there’s just too much to do in order to make the relationship workable again.
Usually that’s when couples call me and ask to come in. They say they want to make sure they have tried everything and that if couples counseling can’t save the relationship at least they can know they tried everything.
What to Do After You’ve “Tried Everything” to Make Your Relationship Work
I have heard this so many times I stopped counting. Most couples wait until they are really broken before they seek counseling. It would be great if people could say to themselves when the misunderstandings begin, “Honey, let’s learn how to communicate so we don’t get into difficulty with each other.”
I know people don’t think like this or talk like this. I can teach this stuff, but by the time I usually see people they are pretty angry at each other. In many cases they have waited a long time for their partner to change. And when that doesn’t happen they might begin to feel angry or resentful towards their person for not changing.
Loving from the Inside Out: Changing Perspective & Seeing the Big Picture
And that’s what I would like to talk about right now…how to love from the inside out, instead of the outside in. What does that mean? It means this; when we love from the outside in, we stay waiting for our person to make us feel better. Something has to come from outside of us to help us feel important. Our partner has to give us something; attention, nurturing, focus, something to fill us up so we feel loved.
When we wait for the other person to do something so we can feel better it might be a very long wait. Most people in relationships don’t know how to make their partners happy. If they knew we would have fewer divorces and breakups.
So to flip this equation, think of loving your partner first. Consider loving the person you are with. When we give love from inside ourselves to our mate and it is received we feel great. When we share love and goodness to anyone we also feel pretty good. We share our zest for life and our kindness and that becomes contagious.
In a relationship it doesn’t matter who steps up first. Be the one in yours to show your love. You might be very surprised to receive something soft in return, and that’s what most people in relationships are hungry for; feeling safe, happy and loved.
Keep Your Love Strong
Check out Linda’s new book about getting the most out of your relationship: Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It’s full of tips that will help keep you love from the inside out and may help your relationship thrive!