How do I love thee? Let me show the ways…. Recently a team of researchers at the University of Virginia surveyed thousands of married men and women and discovered something a lot of us intuitively know, spouses who are emotionally generous with each other are happier.
Emotional generosity sounds good but what exactly is it and how can it be applied to daily life? The researches defined emotional generosity as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely an abundantly.” So does this mean a guy can have flowers, candy or perfume delivered daily to his wife and win the husband of the year award?”
Perhaps, because spontaneous gifts are always a good idea but other gestures such as small acts of service, hugs, kisses, forgiveness, patience, and a willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to look past annoyances into our soul mate’s heart is equally as important.
A wise man, who had been happily married more than 67 years said, “I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man (or woman) who will make his wife’s (or husband’s) comfort their first concern will stay in love with them throughout their lives.”
You can make your spouses comfort paramount by spending time each day reflecting on the other person’s needs. Take an honest inventory of moments where you are aware of their needs or times where you have been neglectful. Check to see you are as interested in meeting their needs, as you are your own.
How do you know if you are a succeeding in your partnership role? As a child we were taught to be on guard with the phrase, “Stop, look and listen” and the saying works equally well for assessing relationships. Stop and be mindful of your spouse. Look and see their fears, concerns and needs. Listen by asking with phrases such as, “How can I better serve you? What would you like me to pay more attention to in our relationship?”
It has been said, “Touch a woman’s mind, you get her interest. Touch a woman’s heart; you get her love. Touch a woman’s soul; you get passion beyond your wildest dreams. Touch all three, you have a lover for eternity!” You touch your lover’s soul by deeply loving and giving. The film “Titanic” is considered one of the greatest love stories ever. Why? Because the unlikely hero, Jack, gives his all including his life to Rose demonstrating unselfish love.
Another great example is from the movie, “The Princess Bride” where Wesley wins the love of the fair maiden with the famous line, “as you wish.”
Because of their station in life, both Jack and Wesley were unlikely to capture the heart of their love. But they accomplished an enduring relationship by putting their companion’s needs first. A slight twist to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet would read,“How do I love thee? Let me SHOW the ways.” Show your love by paying attention to your lover’s needs, comforts and fears for that is the heart of emotional generosity and that is true love as you wish.
Camille Curtis Foster LCSW
Classic love song for woman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlDmslyGmGI
Another post on romance: http://www.utahmentalhealthservices.com/relationships-why-high-risk-romances-are-so-attractive/
Relationship quiz: http://www.utahmentalhealthservices.com/concerns/relationship/ Another post from me on relationships:
Additional tips: I think this article expresses some amazing concepts. I highly recommend it.http://m.theweek.com/article.php?id=99512
A TED talk on the subject of the sex starved marriage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep2MAx95m20
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Sources: 1. In Lois M. Collins, “Generosity with Spouse Key to Why Married Parents Happier than Others, Study says, “Deseret News, Dec. 12, 2011, www.deseretnews.com 2. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of Gordon B. Hinckley”