My go-to relationship guru is NOT Dr. Phil, believe it or not (though he's pretty high up there). It's Kirk Voss of Amber Creek Counseling. I met him a few years back and have been a huge fan ever since! Seeing as how this is “Love your Love” week for our Focus on Relationships month, I asked Kirk to come give us some expert advice on how to TRULY show love to those who love us. The best part? Kirk is giving away $100! Be sure to read to the bottom to learn how to enter. Take it away, Kirk!
When was the last time you thought to yourself, “I wish my partner would stop caring about me and my feelings”? Probably never.
While we often mean well, sometimes we don’t manage to convey the love for our partners that we feel inside. I’m sure we all have stories about how a small (or large) act of kindness made a difference to us just by reminding us that someone cared. But how many times have we put off showing love to our partner because we’re too busy, or we’re afraid we’ll look silly, or, perhaps most common of all, because we think “they already know how I feel about them”?
William Shakespeare once said,“They do not love that do not show their love.” The truth is that human beings need repeated confirmation of things they already know… or they will stop knowing it. It’s that simple. That means that when we love others, we need to show them.
I know what you’re thinking… Life. Gets. Busy. It’s true that we don’t always have time to paint a picture or even bake cookies for our partner. But you can STILL send the message! Reminders of our love can happen in seconds, with very little advance prep or money spent. The key is to find ways in those few seconds to connect emotionally by being sincere, vulnerable, and tuned-in to your partner. Need some ideas?
10 Ways to Show Love in Just a Moment
Leave an “I Love You” note where your partner will find it—but make sure you say why you love them.
Send text messages throughout the day, reminding them that you love them and are thinking of them.
When talking during the day, or when you get home at the end of the day, stop everything for a few seconds, soften your voice, and help them realize that your attention is all on them.
Make it a point to give them a kiss before they leave the house… and when they return home.
Perform a small act of unexpected service to help your partner: iron a shirt, pack a breakfast, run an errand, or take a burden off your partner that they normally expect to carry.
Tell them how happy you are when you see them—and smile! Don’t be afraid to give a little cheer when they come in the door, no matter how late they may be, or how irritated or tired you might be. If we do that consistently, then coming home becomes a relief, a safe haven, and something our partner looks forward to.
Light up some candles after the kids are in bed for a candlelit dessert. Kids demand our TIME, but we need to make sure our partners receive our EFFORT.
Tell them how great they look… often!
Listen. Take an interest in what your partner cares about, even if only for a moment. It’s not about being fake… showing interest in what THEY care about shows how much YOU care.
Go on a walk and hold hands. Remember what life was like when you were first dating and before kids came in the picture? We should be reliving that closeness whenever we can.
… and there are so many more! The point is not to be the most creative, or the most amazing, or to spend lots of money. It's to find ways to go out of your way, even for a moment, to remind the people you care most about that you love them. They need to hear it. Even if they already know.
When my wife and I were dating, and I was still in college to become a therapist, I told her about a class activity I’d had one day in my training program. The professor had asked each class member to think of a metaphor describing their closest relationship.
I had compared my wife and myself to a nature scene common to the mountains near my home. The Utah canyons, full of aspens and pine trees, were a scene I often missed as I attended college in Maryland. I told my wife what the trees meant to me in the metaphor, how they related to our relationship and our personalities, and then we didn’t talk about it again. I thought she had forgotten about it. It was just one of countless stories I told her every week as we spent our free time together.
Two months later, as we exchanged Christmas gifts, I opened a gift from her that would become priceless to me. She had painted and framed a picture of aspen leaves, just as I had described in my story I’d shared weeks before. That picture has hung in our home for years, and just seeing it reminds me that she cares about me, that she remembers things that matter to me, and that I matter to her.
Why do I treasure a picture of aspen leaves so much? It isn’t because I’m a nature-lover. Even though I already know my wife loves me, the picture continues to remind me. A friend of mine once mused, “What would the world be like if, whenever we thought someone was amazing, or beautiful, or kind, we told them our thoughts? It would be a very different place.” Nowhere is this more true than within our couple relationships.
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Thanks kirk, so valuable! And remember…
To enter to win $100 from Amber Creek Counseling,
…just play along! It's so easy! Simply post status updates and pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook of how YOU are focusing on relationship this month, tag me so I can see it (@funcheaporfree), and use the hashtag #FocusOnRelationships to enter. You can enter as many times as you'd like before the end of the month, one winner will be drawn at random.
LOVE you all!