Shelle asked a question in What Would You Rather: Episode 14. “Would you rather your significant other tell you they love you with words or never saying it but showing it with their actions?”
My experienced self is here to tell you that both are important, but maybe not in the way you think. Do you know how your mate responds to words? to actions? Do you know which actions and words mean the most to her? Do you even know what means the most to you?
“I love you” is the standard example for words you use to tell someone you love them, and there is a lot of different variety to that, but there are thousands of different ways to show your mate you love them, using actions. I’ve learned that discovering the actions that your lover appreciates the most is one of the most complicated aspects of a relationship. Mixed in with that are the words. People react differently to “I love you.”
I can’t imagine any relationship where either mate would prefer words and no actions, or vice versa, but those are the extremes. There is a huge variety of combinations between them and any one of us could land at any point along the scale. I firmly believe that discovering where your lover lands is crucial to a fulfilling relationship.
This complicated discovery process is something that my ex and I (of a 10 yr marriage) failed miserably at. Neither of us made any attempt at actually learning how the other saw love. Until it was too late, that is. Did she see love as a series of selfless acts, regardless of what I said? Did I see words as being as important as actions, if not more?
From my perspective (which is biased, I know) I thought I did ok at saying “I love you” on a regular basis. On the flip side, I didn’t spend the time discovering what actions meant the most to her. I was lazy about it and expected her to tell me what she wanted. Fail.
From her is was just as bad, if not worse. I could count one hand how many times she actually said the words, “I love you.” That hurt. A lot. More than I ever imagined actually. On top of that were her actions. She thought she was acting in a way that showed me love. Well, hate that it happened, but whatever she was doing was lost on me. There at the end she explained to me what she did to show me love. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t imagine anyone seeing what she did as being ‘acts of love’. My conclusion was that she just has a warped sense of reality, but maybe not? There might be someone out there that thinks her ‘protecting’ them would be seen as love? ...maybe not.
That was the one and only serious relationship I’ve ever had and I’m still not sure what kind of love I would really respond to. I know words are important to me, but what kind of actions? I hope someone takes the time to find out someday. I’d love to do that for them too.
How about you? In what ways to you appreciate being loved? Do you know what your mate likes?
1 year ago