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After 25 years do you still love me?

A couples first birth experience plays an important part in laying the foundations of their parenting relationship.  How they love, communicate, respect, support, accept, trust and care for each other as they transition into this time can indicate where the strengths in their relationship lye and where there may be work to do in the future.  

During the pregnancy is a good time to notice this and explore what steps can be taken to strengthen the relationship even further, because after the baby is born it can be a testing and trying time.  As can be the early parenting years.  Both women and men have a big change in life roles when they become parents:  Physical changes happen as the pregnancy ends and nurturing the baby from the breast begins, responsibility increases, deep love for this new person is profound and transforming, the needs of the baby can be consuming, the lifestyle often goes through an adjustment etc.  

When we are taken to the edge of what we know about ourselves we can respond in a way that is reactive or proactive.  Sometimes our habitual patterns of behaviour, that preserve our ego, are the easiest to express, and can limit the relationship to transform in the best possible way.  I believe that great birth preparation is to check in and see what can be done now to help your relationship be as strong as it can possibly be.   That means working on yourself as much as it means working on the relationship.  And often it needs to happen is in simple ways during our ordinary days.

My husband and I have been through some significant changes in our relationship over the 22 years together.  I still amaze myself at how some of our stubborn issues just wont resolve and yet how wonderfully better our connection to each other has deepened.  Never the less it’s been in the trying, in the committing, in the loving from our best place, in forgiveness, in the mundane of every day life and in the exploration of new perspectives that change has happened and good things come of it.

As a way to continue to make my relationships better and as a way to offer you something that has been very helpful to me recently I have an excerpt from a great book called ‘Choosing Happiness’ by Stephanie Dowrick.  It goes like this:

HOW

HOW TO LOVE GENEROUSLY

Love is not love except when it is generous. To become generous, your relationship needs fewer demands and greater acceptance. Love is never less than friendly. If you are unsure, ask yourself, ‘Is this the best that I can do?’ Or, ‘Is this kind?’

Here are some key ways to express and deepen love.

Let minor irritations go. Speak up about what’ s pleasing. Making this change alone could save many relationships from resentment.

Be slow to blame, quick to forgive.

Monitor the tone and content of your most routine remarks. Listen to your tone of voice. Watch your body language. Recognise what emotions they express.

Be sensitive to people’s individuality. Know which expressions of love work best for each person and in varying circumstances.

Release others from your hidden demands to behave in certain kinds of ways so that you can feel all right about them (or yourself). Accept them as they are.

Respect other people’s choices – even when you would have chosen differently for them. Take a lively, non-judgemental interest in their choices.

Don’t require other people to read your mind. If you want someone to know something, be direct about it. Speak up.

Express your feelings of love. Don’t assume they know you love them. Say aloud what you feel inside. ‘I am so glad you are in my life _____.’ ‘Our early morning walks give me a magical start to the day.’ ‘There’ s nothing I like more than seeing my family and friends sitting together at this table.’ Etc

Every day, see the people you love through new eyes. Remind yourself, ‘This could be my last opportunity to show concern or express love to this person.’ Take that opportunity.

If you did nothing else but take seriously these practical ideas about loving more generously, your relationship would change for the better. And you would be happier. 

TO LOVE GENEROUSLY

Love is not love except when it is generous.  To become generous, your relationship needs fewer demands and greater acceptance.  Lohan ndly.  If you are unsure, ask yourself, ‘Is this the best that I can do?’ Or, ‘Is this kind?’

Here are some key ways to express and deepen love.

Let minor irritations go.  Speak up about what’s pleasing.  Making this change alone could save many relationships from resentment.

Be slow to blame, quick to forgive.

Monitor the tone and content of your most routine remarks.  Listen to your tone of voice.  Watch your body language.  Recognise what emotions they express.

Be sensitive to people’s individuality.  Know which expressions of love work best for each person and in varying circumstances.

Release others from your hidden demands to behave in certain kinds of ways so that you can feel all right about them (or yourself).  Accept them as they are.

Respect other people’s choices – even when you would have chosen differently for them.  Take a lively, non-judgemental interest in their choices.

Don’t require other people to read your mind.  If you want someone to know something, be direct about it.  Speak up.

Express your feelings of love.  Don’t assume they know you love them.  Say aloud what you feel inside.  ‘I am so glad you are in my life _____.’  ‘Our early morning walks give me a magical start to the day.’  ‘There’s nothing I like more than seeing my family and friends sitting together at this table.’ Etc

Every day, see the people you love through new eyes.  Remind yourself, ‘This could be my last opportunity to show concern or express love to this person.’  Take that opportunity.

If you did nothing else but take seriously these practical ideas about loving more generously, your relationship would change for the better.  And you would be happier.

 
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