In a relationship, there are many instances where tricky questions asked (i.e. do I look fat?), difficult messages delivered (i.e. you have bad breath…), sensitive topics discussed (i.e. performance in bed…), heated disagreements and arguments took place, as well as various vulnerable moments shared (i.e. open heart to heart talk and make up conversations). Do you hold, carry out yourself with love, respect and consideration for your partner, do you choose your responses carefully and appropriately under these circumstances?
We are all humans and not all perfect; we have our own emotions, weaknesses, blind spots and ego. It’s so possible and easy, if we don’t stay focus on our partners or the subject and watch out for distractions, that a simple conversation may turn into a heated argument, or further into a physical aggression when we lost total control of ourselves. We may say or do things that we are not intended to or regret afterwards. This not only hurts our partners mentally or physically, but also indirectly harms ourselves and damages the relationship.
A healthy relationship is able to endure the rough patches within a couple, the unintended hurts or insensitive dealing of the situation. But when the frequency gets too often and the degree of damage becomes too severe, it wears down the relationship and the love for each other. An old metaphor: relationship is like a love bank account, when you give and show your love to your partner, it’s like making a deposit into the bank account, a little by little. When you do something that’s harmful or damaging to the relationship, it’s a withdrawal from the account, decreasing at a much faster pace.
There are four golden rules proposed below on how we could handle our partners with care:
- Find out what is the underlying reason(s) or goal(s) behind these questions, messages or conversations; it helps to know which direction and approach to take; conduct yourself towards and always stay in the direction
- Always have your partner in your focus; pay attention to his or her emotions, feelings, reactions, body languages and unspoken messages
- Listen to your partner more than you speak, try 7:3 ratio; ask more questions in a caring way to understand your partner’s hidden messages or concerns
- Slow to response, since it is important for your partner and yourself, take time to response, to choose the use of words and manners appropriately and smartly
The important thing is to handle the situation with tenderness and love, respects and patience, as well as consideration for your partner’s feelings. Make it another deposit made into the love bank account!
Example: say you find out the reasons your partner asks about if she is fat or not are (a) want your admiration on her figure; (b) your affirmation on your love for her irrespective her figure; (c) she has low self-confidence over her figure and wants some ego boost from you or (d) just want to know other’s view about her. Once you know the underlying reasons and messages, you don’t need to comment on ‘yes’ or ‘no’ so quickly, you may start with ‘you know you have a sexy body that attracts me lots’, ‘you are the right size for me’, ‘I like the way you are’, ‘I love you no matter your figure’ and offer some compliments, give some hugs and kisses. If she insists your answer, ask her ‘what makes her feel this way’ and just listen to her reply, lead her to the source of her own perception about self; perhaps through the conversation, she may realize something.
Today I love my partner by: (share it aloud to your partner)
Handling my partner with care, thoughtful consideration, love and respect.
For your actions:
(1) Take few events in your relationship and go through them in your mind, ask yourself if you have been handling your partner with care? How would you handle it better?
(2) Give yourself a chance to try different way of communication with your partner; use the opportunity to discuss with your partner on the topic of ‘how to handle your partner with care’ and to do some role play for fun.