Positive Reinforcement. Because We Need More Than, “I Love You”
Girl meets boy; boy meets girl.
Both are so happy and giddy.
The compliments pour in:
“The dinner you cooked last night was amazing!”
“I love how you did that.”
Fast forward several months:
“You’re using the wrong knife to cut the meat. And why are these dishes over there?”
“Why can’t you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom?”
The trap that’s hard to avoid.
Everyone I know (including myself) falls into this trap.
When couples couple up, they automatically know how to make each other feel special, loved, appreciated, valued.
However, this seems to flip in proportion to the length of time the couple stays together. That is, the longer a couple stays together, instead of continually appreciating and playing together, they automatically comment more and more on the specifics they don’t like.
Why do we do this?
Even when a partner does loving things, the other tends to glance over that and focus on the “perceived” fault they find.
I knew a couple once where the guy did the laundry, folded up her clothes, and hung her outfits. Apparently, instead of expressing any sort of appreciation or being grateful for what he had done, she questioned why he didn’t hang her tops up in the correct location in her closet.
Hands up. Nobody can see you. How many of you are guilty?
When was the last time, you, the reader, reading this right now, remember telling your partner specific things you notice about him/her? Or thanked your partner for specific things they have done, whether for you or otherwise?
Come on. Get those hands up.
Adults feel valued with positive reinforcement.
While we do like hearing our partner say, “I love you” in heart-felt fashion, by the time we’re 30, 40, 50+, we’ve heard it a gazillion times.
Psychologically we need more.
We know that kids need praise for their specific qualities and behaviors. It’s just not good enough to tell our children, “I love you lots” when they do something good. What does that mean to them?
Kids need more.
“That was really good of you to share your candy with your sister.”
You know what? Your partner needs more too too!
“I love how charming you were with my friends.”
“You were so awesome in bed last night the way you …”
“Y’know, you looked super sexy the way you were drying the dishes.”
So if after taking a deep, unbiased look at your relationship, and have noticed you and/or your partner have fallen into the trap, don’t be ashamed.
Make a conscious effort to be the role model for at least a month, and get back to the basics before asking your partner to do the same.
Just do it.
You might feel silly, but try writing something as simple as, “I love how much fun we had together yesterday.”
Maybe the more you appreciate your partner’s special actions, maybe they will start reciprocating in kind.
Maybe the more you show your appreciation, maybe the more you’ll notice the good things you have together, and why you’re together in the first place.
Like attracts like.
3 simple steps to get started
1) Open up your email or Facebook
2) copy/paste the following in a message to your partner:
“I just wanted to say it feels really good the way you cuddle with me in bed. I can’t wait until we do it again.”
3) Click the SEND button.
Let us know what happens. 🙂