A Side of Love, Forgiveness and Patience

   You're at your favorite date night restaurant, and you've been looking forward to it all day. You order the salad with dressing on the side and wait patiently as you sip your glass of wine. Finally, the waitress comes over with your delicious salad bowl, and you dive right in! It takes you about a minute to notice...she forgot your dressing. A little dismayed, you flag her down when she's near, and politely let her know. She's is so sorry! She was buzzing around and it simply slipped her mind, she asks that you please forgive her. You tell her it's no big deal at all, you just wanted to remind her. You offer a reassuring smile as she scurries to go get your dressing. Within seconds, it's on the table and you go right back to your meal. It is delicious and you are once again reminded as to why this is your favorite place. 

     So why when your significant other doesn't listen to what you're saying or forgets something, are you not as forgiving and friendly as you were with the forgetful waitress? Surely you love them more than the waitress, so what is keeping you from being just as kind? Maybe because it's a common thing, and you feel as though you are constantly reminding, and repeating yourself. If that is the case, ask yourself this: when is the last time someone had to remind me of something? In today's world, I can guarantee it wasn't that long ago. 

    Communication comes in two primary forms. Verbal, and non-verbal. It seems that in times of frustration or stress, many of us remember our verbal communications well, but what about the non-verbal? Have you ever said something was 'okay' with your mouth, but your face and that long sigh said something else? "It's fine, I'll just run to the store myself and get it." You say, as you snatch the keys and shove them in your pocket, marching towards the door. Body language says everything when your mouth doesn't, and it can be one of the main roadblocks to proper communication. Reactions like this can bring such unnecessary stress into your relationship when one of you feels they have to walk on eggshells and have the memory of an elephant. The solution to this is something that must be practiced, and it involves three words. Love. Forgiveness. Patience. 

   There are many times during our day that I am sure we wish we had more patience. At the minimum, can we try to give our loved ones the same courtesy as we do our waiters and waitresses? All of us know what it is like to be human, and we should try to remember that the next time we say something without saying it. Do we want to be sure that we aren't doing this all for a show, right? Let's not smile through the conversation, and lament in our heads for the rest of the evening. Forgiveness not only releases the person, but it frees you as well from the burden of agonizing over it. The most important of the three is love, and it is my favorite. No matter what, you should always speak to your significant other out of love. This is a great way to keep yourself in check, and in times of frustration, you will be shocked at the results. Their reaction to being spoken to out of love rather than irritation will not only ease them but bring you both happiness in solving the issue together. Try it. Practice it. And be kind to everyone you meet, waitress included! 

Relationship Love Bank

All couples experience disagreements, this is a part of being two different people with emotional needs. What if there was a way to improve your relationships by using the balance of giving and taking everyday? 

You are in luck, there is such a thing! The concept of a "love bank" can be applied to how many times love is deposited and withdrawn from your relationship. Deposits can be compliments, actions, words of kindness, spending time together and positive ways in which you make your partner feel special. The withdrawals on the other hand are harsh, negative criticisms, attacks and insults. In order to maintain a well balanced "love bank" you must have more deposits daily rather than withdrawals. 

Now, what if a withdrawal is made and it is irreparable? This is a possibility with couples who have experienced a trauma, such as infidelity. The couple must decide if the relationship is worth fighting for and if the "love bank" can be once again filled. In this instance couples therapy can assist with the couples decision making to reflect each persons needs. 

Depositing into your own love bank and spending time with your own friends is also necessary for your relationship. Find time for your own interests and take time to connect with yourself outside of your partner. This will help you feel more complete and may lead to wanting to spend more time with your partner after you miss them. 

The "love bank" concept can help couples during negative times. Having increased positive deposits can make you a stronger couple and may make difficult moments more bearable. Depositing positive memories into your relationship "love bank" can help you and your partner feel more emotionally connected. 

The Bachelor: Is finding true love that easy?

The craze with The Bachelor seems to be never ending and thousands of viewers tune in weekly to watch the drama unfold. Many of us wonder, is finding "true love" that easy? Well for starters, what is "true love?" Many of us believe "true love" is the happily ever after kind of love and our eternal devotion to our partners. However, knowing that the divorce rate in America is between 40% to 50% for your first marriage, we may be looking for the wrong kind of love for the wrong reasons. 

Love and infatuation are two different factors. Infatuation seems to be what The Bachelor loves to show us every week. The butterflies in your stomach, traveling to new exotic places and the lust of wanting each other. The Bachelor does not show us "true love" and it is misleading. We have to remember The Bachelor only films for six weeks, that is barely enough time to form a new habit for most of us, let alone get to know a potential partner. 

The truth is most of us will experience some sort of boredom in our relationship and may want to stray away. How do you overcome this? Step back and focus on you. Ask yourself, what is the real issue within me that I am bringing into our relationship? You will be surprised after some soul searching. You may realize you feel unattractive, you may be stressed at work or your family may be the source of unwanted turmoil. Relationships fluctuate and that is natural, do not let go just because your prince charming (or Bachelor) does not meet your checklist of all your requirements at all times. Be patient and unlike the speedy six weeks of The Bachelor "true love" means "true work."