As this is a vacation week (alright THE vacation week), I am going to make sure that my post is about what goes right in a relationship rather than what can go wrong. Although both must be considered at times, I want my mind and spirit directed towards the positive.
As I get older and wiser, I am becoming more aware of wanting to make Nan happy, not just be willing to compromise my selfish desires. It’s a different motivation. I have heard that codependents actually operate from a selfish place, wanting to make others happy so that they can feel happy, or at least free from stress. That’s not the same thing as wanting to truly see another person filled with joy.
I am hoping that this has not been a struggle for you. I know that for some it is not. Or perhaps this was easier when the relationship first began, but things have changed. I do know this: as a couple when you have the other person’s happiness as your goal, when both of you try to out love your mate, it is likely you both will also feel personally joyful.
What this requires, of course, is being a student of your partner. It requires studying them and really knowing the things that make them happy. What are on their list of favorites? I am not just talking about material things, but experiences and interests and colors and entertainment choices, etc. What does he like to read (does he like to read)? What is her love language?
Nan loves to stare at water – any water: beach, lake, stream, river. If I want to make her happy on vacation, it will include some kind of water. She knows for me that a vacation must include an opportunity for solitude. A high-rise hotel just won’t make it for me. Shopping is not important for either one of us (except food), but don’t deprive us of good coffee. We know this about each other and try to plan accordingly.
When a couple is able to dream together, it creates intimacy. Can you dream with your partner and feel understood? It may be that your dreams are not always aligned, but can you lend energy to your partner’s vision even if you cannot support it? When Nan and I dream together there is a point where we become divergent, but we try to stay with the parts where we can agree.
Have you ever asked your partner what makes them happy? Have they ever asked you? I know some of you out their want your partner to “just know”. But it is a fair question, especially if you really want to be known. Don’t get mad or be frustrated by that question. It may not seem all that romantic, but neither is having a mate that misses the mark all the time. This is an important aspect of good communication.
One last comment about vacation. I know at least several couples that get along so well on vacation, but struggle at home. Whatever you tend to do on vacation that makes the difference needs to be figured out. And then do your best to make the necessary changes. It might just be as simple as carving out a few minutes each day to talk to each other.