"You look beautiful!" "Wow, you really threw down in the kitchen tonight!" "Thank you for listening". "Thanks for understanding my feelings". "I really appreciate the time you spend with the kids." "You are so strong!" "You got this, I know you do!" " I love the way you love me." "Come here, let me give you a hug!" When is the last time you've heard those words FROM or said something along those lines TO your boo? When is the last time you felt a warm embrace or got a little love tap on the butt? When is the last time you gave or got a back rub (not from the Spa). It's so easy to get caught up in the everyday that we don't think about it. We just know something is off in the relationship.
For some, giving out a compliment & showing affections comes as easy as Sunday morning, for others, this may be HUGE deal. Do kind words of affirmation and appreciate roll off your tongue? Are you always looking for instances where you CAN give a compliment? Or, are those words held tightly under lock and key, only to be broken out on extra special occasions? Would you rather keep your hands to yourself?
What about your significant other? If you can count on your hands the number of times you were on the receiving end maybe it's time to do the hard job of finding out why? Whether we choose to admit it or not, we all need to feel appreciated and valued for what we do & for what we bring to bring to the table. Relationships thrive on Intimacy. Where do you and your significant other fall in? Do any of the following apply?
1. Upbringing: Give this some thought. Some people were never complimented growing up, out of fear that they would become arrogant, conceited or think too much of themselves. In some households it just wasn't done. Affection wasn't a "thing". For this reason you or your partner may simply feel uncomfortable with showing affection or giving compliments. It may be awkward, or one may think this shows vulnerability or weakness. This kind of thinking leads to a lack of confidence. "Don't put myself out there & I won't be rejected, embarrassed or get hurt. Break The Cycle.
2. Cultural Differences: In some cultures it frowned upon and even discouraged. It doesn't mean the person doesn't love or care for you, it is just not acceptable and it is far from the norm. Short Story - We had a friend visit us from Japan because he wanted to see what family dynamics were like in the Western culture in preparation for starting his own family. Through the broken English we each learned a lot...In the Japanese culture public displays of affection (even holding hands) is considered rude, and that applies not only to those dating, but also to family members as well! So you can imagine his surprise ... hugs given out freely among friends & lovers, hand resting on another in conversation, and the public kiss, gasp! It was a whole new world for him & he loved it, he left America a new man, traditional Eastern values with a little Western flare!
3. Personality Traits: Are you outgoing & bubbly or are you reserved and closed off? The classic Introvert vs Extrovert scenario. Of course if you are an extrovert that comes with hugs, smiles, touches, lots of words. And on the other hand if you are an introvert it may be even difficult to express your inner feelings & thoughts?
4. Life: Yes, life can just get in the way! Between work, family responsibilities, kid pickups & drop offs, team games, friends, pets, taking care of house & home, dealing with your own personal "I wish I had more time in the day" battles, sadly you may forget or even be too worn out to think about a compliment or a gentle touch.
5. Complacency: Yup, I said it. You are just used to the same 'ole same, it's comfortable and you see no need to change it. Or better yet, you don't even REALIZE that you need to change it! Complacency might be the easiest thing to remedy. But what can you do about the others? This will definitely take some work but it all boils down to two things.
The Secret? Talking & Being.
Talk About It. Be About It! 1. It's time to have a genuine heart to heart. Share your feelings, listen to theirs. Try to do this without accusation or judgment. Open mind. Open Heart. Remember, change may not come immediately, but as long as you are both working on it, change will come (albeit slowly). And please, whatever you do, Do NOT harass your significant other! "No Nag Zone" should be full effect!
2. If you are the one that has the issue, do some self reflection. How can I change? What can I do to overcome my past trauma or negative feelings related to affection? How can a I retrain my brain? If it's too deep to unpackage on your own, do not be afraid to get some assistance from a Professional Counselor or Therapist. Since the onset of Covid, many companies offer therapy sessions as part of your medical benefits so contact your H/R department! And if that is not up your alley, consider having some Couples Therapy with a Life Coach or Relationship Expert. It may be a great experience for the both of you!
And now for the easy stuff:
3. Make a point of giving one genuine compliment a day. You've got 24 hrs, surely you can find SOMETHING to give a compliment about. Look for the good!
4. A hug a day, keeps the blues away. I made that up, but you know it's true... a good, long, hug can melt all the stresses of the day away, even if it's just for a moment.
5. Did somebody say date night? It's time to start planning! Rekindle the love & affection you had when you first met, think about all those sweet nothings you used to whisper in each other's ears. Flash that smile. Throw that wink. Send that card declaring your undying love...need I say more?
And, until you put those things in motion, how about you start with these three little words...
I LOVE YOU!