I learn a lot from advertisements. One that’s taken my fancy recently shows a male Italian model practicing his ‘listening-face’ as he cooks Italian food. You can check it out here
It makes me smile every time I see it as it parodies what I think many of us say we want from our partners (although I suspect faced with it we’d be driven wild in a fairly short period).
Most of us have had enough experience of relationships to know what we don’t want and, influenced by feminism, rom-coms, chick-lit and self-help books, have pretty high expectations of how we should be loved. We’ve been encouraged to believe we deserve more – more emotional connection, more listening, more understanding.
Yet these expectations of more can come packaged in such tight parameters that our partners don’t have much latitude to express their feelings in ways that are authentic to them.
I’m not disagreeing that we deserve more. I just think we’re allowing our own (or perhaps others) filters to define what love should look and sound like.
Just because our partner may not listen in the supportive way our friends do, or has a somewhat more action-oriented approach to helping us resolve our problems, doesn’t mean they don’t care.
Especially when I’m busy and feeling overwhelmed, my expectations of how things “should” be tend to come to the fore. I want my Beloved to see and acknowledge how hard I’m working and the efforts I continue to put in around the house. I want him to commiserate with me when I’m feeling tired. I want him to pay me unsolicited compliments.
The irony is I want him to do all this while he is also working hard, continuing to put in effort around the house (albeit in different ways) and doing so without requiring either commiseration or compliments.
At times like this I can overlook the many ways my Beloved shows me, day in and day out, that he loves me: noticing a TV programme he thinks I might enjoy and recording it; ordering, chopping and stacking more wood for the winter than we need because he knows I feel the cold; doing the nasty jobs around the house I don’t want to touch (he would say I refuse to!); seeing a brochure for a concert or a course he thinks I might like and bringing it home; leaving the outside light on when I’m out late; always saving the last sweet in the bag and offering it to me; critiquing and, as a result, improving my writing; starting a sentence with the three most dreaded words in our relationship “I’ve been thinking …” because he’s been pondering how I might resolve a gnarly problem I had mentioned to him earlier.
I can quickly get myself to a place of scarcity if I’m only listening for my Beloved to show me he cares in line with my expectations. Yet with a small shift in what I pay attention to, I can so easily feel abundant with love.
If you were to make a small shift in your attention, what ‘acts of love’ would you notice? How do they make you feel?
Join the conversation.