Is it natural for you to be affectionate with your mate? Is it easy for you to say, “I love you” to your spouse and mean it? Has it been a long time since you have gone out of your way to show your appreciation to your partner?
The leader of a women’s seminar on sustaining long-term relationships asked the participants these questions…
- How many of you love your husbands?
- When was the last time you told him?
Then the leader suggested that each woman text her husband right then and there with these words, “I love you, sweetheart”. She then asked the women to exchange phones with another person near them and to read out loud the text messages that came back from the “I love you sweetheart’ text.
Below are 12 of the replies!
- “Who the hell is this?’
- “Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?”
- “Yeah, I love you too. What’s wrong?”
- “What now? Did you crash the car again?”
- “I don’t understand what you really mean!”
- “What the hell did you do now?”
- “Is this a joke?”
- “Don’t beat around the bush. How much do you need?”
- “Am I dreaming?”
- “If you don’t tell me who this message is for, someone will die!”
- “I thought we agreed you wouldn’t drink during the day!”
- “Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn’t she?”
I hope this made you smile. I don’t know if it is a true story or not. It popped up on my Facebook posting one day. It made me laugh. I immediately shared it with David and we had a good laugh together.
Now I want to ask you a similar question.
When was the last time you initiated a genuine and warm, “I love you” to your mate?
I sit with couples in my marriage counseling office that haven’t expressed or heard these words in a long time. They have let months if not years pass since the last “I love you.” They are at a stand off. They are waiting for their partner to make the first move.
It is my perspective that individuals often withhold the “I love you” if their spouse has disappointed them in any way. Neither is willing to push past their pride to compassionately express that much warmth. Instead, in the name of protecting themselves, they often hide behind a protective, brittle and impenetrable wall. Their mantra seems to be, “You are never going to get to me again!”
That is a tragedy! At that point we become withholders. We become controllers. We forget this important truth.
When I Withhold Love From My Mate It Brings Out The Worst In Me!
God created each of us with a need for love and connection. So why do we purposefully withhold what is within our power to give? Usually we do it because it works. It puts extreme pressure on our spouse to do anything they can to get back in our good books. It is done to get our mate to do what we want. It is one of the most powerful forms of control. Yet control and love are incompatible. Control is an attempt to take away our mate’s freedom and choice.
Love cannot exist without freedom.
Freedom means that we won’t always get our own way. At times it means that we will be disappointed and even broken hearted. We will need to grieve. We will need to forgive someone who might hurt us again.
Control means that we will crush and eventually lose our spouse’s heart. They will see us as manipulative and they will be correct. They will resent us. They will hide all vulnerability from us. Trust will be destroyed.
It’s strange that the very thing that is guaranteed to kill love can seduce us into believing that when we do it we are safer and more protected. Do you struggle with a tendency to withdraw your heart from your mate? Your marriage will starve without a genuine expression of love, affection, and appreciation.
Can you express your love to an imperfect mate who is guaranteed to disappoint you and at times even hurt you? Why don’t you try it right now?
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…