How Love Grows– Part 2
The next stage of love’s growth could be described as “Love Performs.” Or to say it similar to how Bernard said it, “I love you for what you do for me.” Obviously, part of our experience of love at this stage is the good feelings we each have as we do things for each other.
Sometimes the doing for each other is defined by role assignments. The husband takes care of providing and for doing things to the outside of the house, and the wife takes care of the kids, food, and things inside the house. At this stage, the sense that we are emotionally close isn’t felt as an issue. The good feelings I have as you do things for me help me feel emotionally close to you. Things have to be negotiated and that takes time. If both spouses work, the question of who makes dinner is to be negotiated.
But eventually resentments begin to develop. If we are trying to be 50/50 on our division of doing things, it doesn’t feel so good if I feel like I am doing 55% and you’re only doing 45%. There is also the problem that behaviors that feel good to the other person, but are repeated over a period of time, become expected. They are no longer rewarding. And for a while we have to keep thinking of new rewarding behaviors to keep the feelings of love alive. Eventually the “Thanks so much, honey. You’re so helpful,” becomes “I can’t believe you didn’t take out the trash this morning.”
When we reach this point, staying stuck at stage two and not adding the third stage to the growth of love, we begin to lose the sense of connection. That’s when a couple often comes to counseling with the complaint, “He/she doesn’t meet my needs anymore.” Obviously, these couples need to recapture the benefits of this second stage of love before they can move on to the third stage of love, which is our goal. Here’s when the husband often needs to initiate change.
You can begin by talking about your expectations. You can also make a list of caring behaviors your spouse could do for you to show they care. LIttle things that are observable make a difference. And third, talk about your sexual relationship and especially talk about your hopes and desires for the future.
Question: Where is your marriage relationship in connection with this stage of love’s growth?
I personally feel we need counseling we just can’t afford it; therefore divorce is almost always a term used in an argument. I believe my husband feels trapped he’s not handling the transition from being single to married well. In our arguments he mentions his contributions and because of my job title belittles me and my contributions. I am not one for arguing I tend to sit back and evaluate the situation and try to understand where he might get his thoughts from then I ask to be sure I am on the right path. I tend to tell him I understand what you mean or how you feel but I do not agree with it. We are two different people I happen to be more optimintic and think out of the box. For example if the car breaks down we don’t have the money to go purchase another as we are financially strained. I suggest take the car to a shop my husband will tell the mechanic what is wrong with the car omitting the most important details; when things go wrong he panics and then blames me for the failures. I in turn try to not step on his toes but insist that the car is ran through a diagnostic before any repairs are gone I would like to physically see the problem areas google local prices negotiate and check when service are complete. My husband then says that is why he married me I am the brains. I am left upset because even though I solved our issue it caused me too much stress in being yelled at and then trying to calm him down enough to think rationally is a job in itself. Later that evening with me spending all the time with the car and he watching ESPN I will be at fault if dinner is not ready if the kids make too much noise while he rest before work, and if he wakes up late after turning off the alarm. He often get an attitude and is very negligent no hugs or kissing or words for me at all just grabs and goes and speaks negatively to himself. If I ask what’s wrong then he loses it and compares our jobs his working in a warehouse 8-12/hrs a day me a security guard making very little. I respect his work ethic just feel we will never get past this in our marriage. He works sleeps and eats, I work cook, clean, rear children, and handle all financial business, repairs, communications on our behalfs, I do my homework and class work as well as his. I spend money on his clothing and the children but I have nothing for myself. I try to be as selfless as possible but it doesn’t seem to be enough.