This is a piece taken from a previous edition of Rover Report Monthly. Read and learn.
From what is happening in most relationships, it is obvious that although everyone talks of love, very few understand what it is. I want you to test how much you understand love. I am going to give you 8 habits of those who truly understand love and see how many of them fit you.
- Those who understand love hold themselves accountable to those they love. Holding yourself accountable to anyone is not easy and yet real freedom comes only when we are accountable to someone. And that is one of the blessings of a love relationship. A love relationship gives you someone to be accountable to and this goes for both men and women. It is therefore unfortunate that many people in a relationship do not see why they should inform their partners of where they are going and explain why they have not come home on time. Such people show by their unwillingness to be accountable that they do not really understand love. Some men just get up and leave home without saying anything to their wives. Now, picture the following. Imagine that when you leave home, someone comes looking for you and asks your wife, “Where is your husband?” How can your wife answer that question? Or what if something happens to you when you leave home. Where do your wife and family begin looking for you? If you cannot tell your loved one where you are going and why, then you are living a double life and you are a danger to yourself. Those who understand love know that to love is to be accountable because you recognize that someone also has a stake in your life.
- They are kind to their love – kind in their words, kind in their actions and kind in their thoughts towards their love. Kindness is missing in a lot of relationships. Many are not kind in their actions or with their words etc. but love is kind. Love does not aim to hurt and when love hurts, it is very eager to make amends and to ease the pain as much as possible.
- They are supportive. We yearn for love because we want someone who will be there for us and someone who will be supportive, someone who will affirm us over and over. And when our partners do not support us or affirm us, they undermine the basic reason why we entered into the relationship. Those who understand love understand that a key job description of a lover is to be supportive and affirming. You must be your partner’s biggest fan and cheerleader. Being supportive of your partner can come in many ways. It may mean that when your partner’s schedule at work gets too tight, you take on more of the household chores. It may mean making time to listen to your partner talk of his/her fears and insecurities and giving the necessary assurances. It may mean putting off the TV when your partner is studying for an exam. I hope you get the idea.
- They broaden their minds. Those who understand love do not stop growing and learning. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a relationship with someone who refuses to broaden his/her mind. Too many women stop growing and expanding their horizons once they begin having children. Some men stop growing and learning as soon as they begin to earn good money. Those who understand love know that love grows when those in the relationship are also committed to their continual growth in maturity.
- They give more than they receive from the relationship. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive and this applies in love relationships too. If you are receiving more from your relationship than you are giving, then something is wrong and you don’t really understand love. So, take a critical look at your relationship and ask yourself what your contribution is to the relationship. If you draw a balance sheet for your relationship can you balance the accounts? Find ways of contributing to the health and vitality of your relationship and you will be securing your own fulfillment.
- They do not sacrifice who they are. They may suspend their own programmes and plans for a season but they do not give up their dreams completely. Anyone who sacrifices who they are for a relationship eventually makes the relationship pay for the sacrifice. It is sad that many people, especially women, sacrifice who they are just to keep a relationship going. They give up dreams of going back to school. They give up dreams of pursuing a career. They give up dreams of exploring their creative selves. They may even stop being fashionable because their men are not comfortable with it. The issue is, when you give up so much for the relationship, over time, you will become resentful and it will come out in surprising ways and undermine your relationship. So, suspend your dreams in the short term maybe, to make time for the children to grow but as soon as the children are able to take care of themselves or as soon as you find someone to help with the children, reactivate your personal programmes. Now that you are in a relationship, the dreams may need some revision and adjustment but definitely not total abandonment.
- Those who understand love don’t take their partners for granted. One of the giant killers of a relationship is the tendency to take your partner for granted. This is where you get to the point where you don’t bother with the needs of your partner and don’t even bother to show appreciation. Love grows when you don’t take your partner for granted. When was the last time you added please to a request you made of your partner? Is it: Please close the door behind you or hey, close the door behind you. The first is respectful and shows that you are not taking your partner for granted. The second is rude and shows that you are taking your partner for granted. Give me money shows that you are taking your partner for granted. Can you please give me some money? This shows some respect. It is better to even say, Darling, do you have some money on you? I need some money. Can you please sort me out? When was the last time you said thank you to your love? Thank you for your love. Thank you for tidying the room. Thank you for the meal. Those who understand love do not take their partners for granted.
- Those who understand love don’t fight to win; they fight to save and strengthen the relationship. It is very easy to want to fight to win. The problem with that is that when you win, your partner whom you love loses. And if you really love that person then his/her loss is your loss too. So, victories in fights between lovers are always Pyrrhic victories. Where there is love, you don’t fight to win; you don’t fight to beat the other into submission. Your objective for fighting is to save the relationship and to strengthen it. Now if that is your goal then you will choose your words carefully in your fights. You will be careful with your actions when you are fighting because you have no intention to hurt the person you love but to call attention to what could be a threat to your relationship.
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