What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If today happened to be your wedding day all over again or the day you made a life-long commitment to your partner, what would you say? With knowing what you know today, would you change your vows?
This isn’t about having regrets for what you should have said, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunity you have each and every day to reconnect and to restate your commitment and love. We don’t need a formal ceremony to do this; we can do this over our coffee and corn flakes, too.
Love in the beginning can be very idealistic and naive. It is full of hope and promise, but with very little information that would tell us how our partner needs to be loved. The key to a lasting relationship is to accept and support your partner’s needs. Your commitment to those needs makes all of the difference in your partner’s happiness – and your own.
Experience gives us a more precise lens to see the world. Experience in our intimate relationships tells us where the landmines are located and where the joy and pleasure can be found. Use this experience as an ally to better understand and appreciate your partner. Use this experience to give your partner more of what they asking for and more of what they need.
So, we come back to the question “what would you say today?”
- Would you tell your spouse the love you give is unconditional and will never have to be negotiated?
- Would you tell your partner the garbage and wounds he or she carried into the relationship will never be used as a weapon?
- Would you tell her that she is entitled, and encouraged, to have a life independent of your own?
- Would you tell him that during the times when you were trying to sabotage the relationship you were really just trying to prove, once and for all, you were not worthy because that’s what you were once told? Would you tell him you were really just asking for help?
- Would you tell your lover you are now ready to loosen the grasp on a damaged heart you have griped tightly for too long? Would you tell her it’s okay to peel your fingers back, one by one, so your heart can be shared?
A matter of trust
Sometimes a well-timed comment here and a compliment there can be just the positive energy our partners need to be filled-up with love and encouragement. Sometimes what we say has significant power. We must chose to use that power carefully and tenderly – it’s a matter of trust.
In some ways, these comments can carry more weight than the vows we memorized and recited to a person who we were still getting to know. Instead, the passing comments uttered in the context of everyday life (yes, even over a bowl of corn flakes) are often times experienced by the other as being more loving and much more credible because they are coming from someone who now better understands what the other one needs.
Try to find an opportunity today. You don’t have to look far to find one, you just have to make the effort to look. When you find one, what would you say?
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