Want to make your partner feel more loved? Making your other half feel cared about is straightforward, honest! Here’s 4 simple but important ways of doing it.
1. Show Up
You will have been in one of those situations that has resulted in you saying, “I’ve really found out who my friends are with this”. That’s what I’m talking about. Being there when the shit hits the fan and they need support.
Showing up involves attuning to your partner and knowing what’s going on in their lives. You find this out by talking to them.
No really, I’m not being facetious. So many couples I have worked with as a couples therapist in Manchester just don’t talk to each other. They know bugger all about what’s going on in each other’s lives.
If this is you in your relationship, it’s time to talk to your other half about how they are doing, what’s going on at work, how they feel about the kids or family. Start by asking “How are you?” like you want to know the answer.
Which brings us nicely onto…
2. When You Are With Them, You Are Present
Oh, the curse of technology! I
love hate mobile phones and yet I too am addicted to staring at mine. It tells me about stuff and if I’m lucky, I might get a “like” on some social media platform somewhere, showing that I am a worthwhile human being after all…
Stop it! If you want your partner to feel loved, pay attention to them when they are talking. The person who is most important and most worthy of your attention is often in the room with you.
When you attune to your partner, you are sending a message “you have meaning to me, you are important”.
You can’t attune when you’re multitasking, so get off instabook and pay attention. Your reward will be a better relationship.
3. You “Get” Your Partner
When your partner feels that you “get” them you touch the core of their being. The part of the brain that monitors this has no concept of time and so that feeling of being “got” links all the way back into the past.
This is why validation is so important in Imago Relationship Therapy.
You want more than anything for your loved ones to validate you, often in childhood they will have invalidated you instead.
“You’re not hungry, you’ve just had your dinner”,
“You don’t hate your brother, you love him”,
“You’re not angry, you’re tired”
are all great examples of invalidating statements that might have come your way as a kid. You might even say these things to your own offspring as an adult now, playing them back from childhood.
Invalidating statements like this are confusing for kids and frustrating as hell to adults.
Think of how most of your arguments start now. Often you get into conflict because you don’t think your other half is understanding what you’re saying and you work hard to get your point across.
How To Validate Your Partner
A key skill here is to listen to understand, not to be understood. Put yourself aside and pay attention to your partner. Go into your partner’s world and leave your own behind. Get fascinated about what it’s like on their planet.
You don’t have to agree at any point because it’s not about you. If they have a different perspective to you, then get curious about it rather than defensive.
Curious = their planet
Defensive = your planet
When your partner feels validated their brain will relax, see you as a safe person and Voila! Connection!
4. Your Behaviour Shows That They’ve Been Paying Attention To Them
If you’ve read any of my posts, then you can see that the constant theme in all of them is that it’s what you do that counts.
What sends the strongest message of all about how you feel about your partner is how you behave towards them.
It can be simple things regularly that make all the difference. Here’s a few examples of what I mean
- Paying attention to your partner as I have outlined in this post;
- sending them appreciations every day;
- giving them the best seat when you go to the restaurant;
- telling them how great they look before that night out;
- seeing them.
The opposite of all of this is autopilot. Plodding along in your relationship and paying no attention at all. Autopilot is the enemy of connection and results in breakup, so wake up my friend!
You’ve Got This
So, what I’m suggesting here is that you show up, pay attention, validate your partner and do small things that will make your partner feel seen, loved and cared about.
It’s hardly rocket surgery, but if you’re like me, you will need to shake yourself sometimes and make sure you’ve not slipped back onto autopilot.
What you will notice if you do these things is that your relationship becomes easier, your loved one feels closer, there’s more fun and connection in your life and we all could do with more of that.
Read The Book
The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work* by John Gottman and Nan Silver is a great book for nailing the basics of relationships. It gives you a nice walkthrough of simple things you can do to become more conscious in your relationship, including a lovely “quiz” to find out more about each other.
Do The Course
The “Getting The Love You Want” weekend workshop is all about understanding what gets in the way of having a closer relationship and how to move towards connection and joy. The workshop is based on the book of the same name written by Harville Hendrix and Helen, LaKelly Hunt.
The “Getting The Love You Want” workshop will teach you how Imago Relationship Therapy can transform your relationship into total awesomeness! Click here if you want to find out more.