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An Act of Love

It's clear that creating a deeper connection with your spouse requires more than just knowing them; it also involves actively making them feel loved. When your partner feels loved, it fills up their cup and inspires them to be more generous. 

How do you make your spouse feel loved? Sometimes, we neglect our relationship because they know we love them. Do they receive the compassion you show your friends, the concern you show your children, or the care you show your neighbors? Do they have any unmet needs? If you are uncertain, ask them. The best way to find out how others need us to show up, what gift they’ll appreciate, or when they need us to be a soft spot to land is to ask them. If you are unfamiliar with this level of vulnerability, it may be difficult at first, but the more you strengthen those communication skills, the easier it becomes to have uncomfortable conversations. 

I am big on wishlists and believe that we should all have them as a way of being a good friend and partner. Don’t make someone guess what you might like. Don’t make them recall a passing conversation from 11 months ago; gift-giving should not be a test. Share what you need for your current or future self. When I asked Derrick for his birthday wishlist this year, he sent me a video of a puppy we’d been discussing. I didn’t want to get a dog; nonetheless, a puppy two weeks before Mardi Gras, three weeks before a weekend trip, and during the height of his travel season for work. But I asked, and he answered. Sometimes, it's not about us but what our partner needs from us at the moment.

Derrick knows I love him, and I intentionally show and tell him regularly. But what did he need from me at that specific moment? A dog.  Would he have had a pleasant birthday without a dog? Yes. Would he have moved past the disappointment of not getting this dog? Yes. Did I have the ability to express my love in a way that fulfills his deepest desire at the moment? Yes. 

So, I contacted the seller and asked them to tell Derrick that someone had purchased the dog. He was so disappointed after that call. I drove 9 hours in a day to get her, when a trip of 45 minutes exhausts me. That’s love. I ordered supplies sent to a neighbor's house so he wouldn’t get suspicious. The presentation of the puppy made it all worth it. The look on his face when he met her was priceless. His surprise, pure joy, and delight would cause me to make that decision daily. 

Because I didn’t want a dog, I initially told myself this would be his dog to care for, but that doesn’t reflect how we love each other. So, we have a 13-week-old boxer that we are all bonding with. Frequently, I share that I can do what I do because of Derrick’s love and support. Likewise, I show my love and support for Derrick by helping to care for our new dog. 

I would be interested in hearing your expressions of love.

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