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Kindness First: Holding On to Love and Letting Go of Expectations

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A lot more goes into loving a partner
than getting good at getting them off.

Let’s say you’re in a relationship for a few months and things are going really well. The usual red flags seem nonexistent, or at least very well hidden. There are some bumps, but you’re really feeling the groove and comfort with this person. How do you keep from fking it up?

  • What are the actions we can take?
  • What are the intentions we can set?
  • What are the promises we can make to each other and to ourselves?

We don’t choose to fall down the well of indifference, ennui, restlessness, and frustration. It happens over time. Even with the best of intentions, we can get off track. Are there ideas and commitments you can establish with your partner to prevent the separation that leads to discord and eventually a breakup?

Loving the Process of Loving

Let’s take love-making for a minute. If you are committed to this partner, you’re both going to have to get good at asking for what you want as well as being flexible when your partner might not be in the right place for full-on connected sex. Here’s the thing about sex. It’s the icing on the cake. It’s the spice that can energize and build deep connections with your partner. But the rest of the time, the majority of your time together, might be even more important.

A lot of us have learned to believe that sex is everything. That sexual chemistry is a must-have. And that great sex is always the goal. These are interesting ideas, but a lot more goes into loving a partner than getting good at getting them off. And in my experience, great sex was often not a reliable indicator of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Sex, once it got hot, actually, obscured and overshadowed the areas of concern when they became obvious. My thinking went something like this, “Well, I could bring up this issue, or I could keep quiet and have great sex tonight.” I kept opting for stuffing the bad parts under the bed and hoped the good sex would carry us through. It never did.

I am learning that time together (all of it) is equally vital to building connections. The little texts when you are apart that say, “Hey, just loving you for a moment.” The thoughtful rejoins when you do get back together after a long day. Even your flexibility to listen and respond to your partner’s energy is a critical skill that we can hone and attune to in the early stages of our relationship.

Hearing someone tell you why they adore you is quite powerful. How well are you at giving loving affirmations to your partner? What kinds of things does your partner respond to? Can you both have clarity and intention around each other’s energy? Can you learn to go with the flow of the coupleship, the pace and needs of both of you, rather than just what you want?

Pausing to Appreciate and Honor Your Partner

Let’s say you’re just home from work. You have some catching up to do. Take those first moments to acknowledge your partner, give them a moment of your absolute attention, perhaps a hug and a kiss. Breath in a few moments together before you speak about your day. This moment of silence does a number of powerful things.

A peaceful moment of presence says, “I am here with you, and you are important enough for me to stop everything else to give you my attention.” A silent hug says, “Welcome home, welcome back to me. I am glad you are here.” Pausing together in silence gives your spirits a chance to synchronize before you begin the logistics and process of mapping out your evening. If you’ve got kids, include them in the pause and rejoin. Learning to greet and meet your partner just where they are, is a powerful life skill that will serve them over their lifetimes.

Giving Kindnesses, Giving Love

My approach at this moment, in this love affair, is to pay attention to my own acts and words of kindness. I can give my time and attention as a gift to my partner, as a meditation on our co-created future. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to have ecstatic sex every time we fall into bed together. But we must always be kind. Even in our misunderstandings, we must be kind. What I am learning, is that kindness, time, and attention are more foundational than sex. If we love spending time with this person, and they continue to bask warmly in our presence, we are doing the best we can do.

Be together. Be kind. Consider your partner before making plans. And always give them the benefit of the doubt. We build trust by being trustful and trustworthy. Kindness is the core skill in showing your affection and care for another person. Bedroom chemistry and sexual connectedness can be established and cultivated over time. Kindness is a way of life. Look for a partner who always leads with kindness. Then, lead with kindness yourself.

Bask in your kind time together, regardless of what you doing. Love with kindness first.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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