Honesty is the key
to a relationship.
If you can fake that,
Esther Perel, sex and relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says we often confuse love as a state of enthusiasm. “To love” is a verb, and verbs are dynamic implying action, intention, and responsibility. If our ability to love ourselves well determines our success in loving another, what can these verbs mean for our relationships?
To Give. Is it better to give what we believe the other person should have or what that person wants? True giving is being attuned to someone’s needs, to make that person feel special and that they matter. Assuming your partner is not a self-absorbed despot, giving from a place of confidence and generosity frees us from the chains of expecting acknowledgement or getting something in return. With this we allow ourselves the freedom to feel complete joy and empowered by a simple action. Giving when we’re at low points of our lives can also be therapeutic, too, lifting up our own spirits when we channel our energy towards seeking out those who need our help most. Of course, giving to ourselves first is essential to replenish the well.
To Receive. How do you respond to a compliment or a kindness? If you feel obligated to respond in kind or wonder what that other person wants in return from you, take a moment to feel worthy and simply say “Thank you.” Being a gracious receiver is a gift in itself. Allowing others to give to us lets them feel good about themselves, too.
To Take. Women can learn a few things from male assertiveness and entitlement. Assertiveness is what we need to land jobs, get a better deal in negotiations, and evolve our (sexual) relationships. Since only you know what pleases you best, share that knowledge with your partner. We save ourselves a whole lot of grief when we surrender to the reality that mind reading is not a very common talent.
To Refuse. From the kitchen, the boardroom and the bedroom, women do things to please others that they don’t necessarily want to do and end up not liking themselves for it. Say no without closing possibilities by giving options and alternatives. If establishing boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship, should it be a stretch to say “I feel free to be speak my mind around him?”
To Play. Playing lets you be creative and dream together, circumventing the hardships of reality. The ability to laugh and play strengthens a couple’s bond, especially amidst the incessant demands of parenting. Being silly, mischievous and unpredictable is a big factor in keeping your sex life fun. The freedom to be unselfconscious around someone is empowering. When you feel like you’re in a stalemate, think of ways to create happy memories and new adventures together. Great for couples, but even more necessary around moody teens. I grew up hearing “The family that prays together, stays together.” As a mom, I now realize “The family that plays together, stays together” is big.
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