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LoveLesson Five

If I were to ask you if you know how to get your partner upset, could you do it? Of course you could. We all know how to do or say those irritating things that will get under our lover's skin. But if I were to ask you to make your partner feel loved, could you do that? The answer may surprise you. You may think that you know what will make him or her feel loved, but I caution you against being a mind reader. Before you can make your partner feel loved, you have to know what is loving for them.

For example, some female clients of mine tell me how annoyed they feel when their husbands affectionately pat their fannies or come up behind them to give them a hug while they're doing the dishes. They complain, "All he thinks about is sex!" Other women say, "I don't feel attractive to him anymore. He only wants to make love in the same predictable the bedroom. Why can't he be spontaneous and affectionately reach out to me when I least expect when I'm washing the dishes or cooking." I bring this up to illustrate that the same gesture can have very different meanings depending upon what is loving to you.

Couples often get their signals crossed in this way. Here's another example. She says, "I'd love it if you brought me flowers." He thinks, "That's easy...I'll have my secretary call FTD and send her a bouquet of carnations." The next day he comes home thinking she'll be ecstatic about the flowers. Instead she's cool and mildly appreciative. After some prompting she confesses that she was hoping He'd pick up a bunch of flowers and surprise her with them personally. Her way to feel love included a bouquet of wild flowers (anything except carnations because she hates carnations), a warm embrace, and a handwritten note that says something like, "...because I love you." That's what she wanted...but he didn't know that because she didn't tell him the important details.

If your husband wanted to make love on the living room floor would you consider that to be a demonstration of his love or his sexual drive? Perhaps the fact that you've worn the same nightgown forever makes him feel you don't love him--when all you're trying to be is comfortable. "After all" he might think, if she cared about me wouldn't she want to wear something attractive? We've all heard couples lament, "If you loved me you'd...." We don't all feel loved by the same things. Furthermore, what we believe about what is loving gets translated into how we act.

We often (not always) treat others as we wish to be treated. If what we believe and what we receive doesn't match up, we grumble that our partner just doesn't care or is selfish. There's so much variation in what makes us feel loved. For some people its hearing the words, "I love you." For others, it's more important that love is shown and the words are insignificant. And most of us are unaware of what really matters to our partner. We may cook him/her a meal or put on some romantic music but feel confused or irritated when our efforts go unappreciated. By knowing exactly how your partner feels loved, it becomes much easier to create loving moments.

Now you might say, "If I tell my partner what I want, it won't be spontaneous." So whatÉisn't intimacy the goal here? What are you waiting for?

The purpose of this lesson is for each of you to discover and share what is loving to you and your partner. Use the Loving Actions LoveTool and the Loving Moments LoveTool as a guide.

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