How Love Grows – Part 4
It is important to remember, if have been reading these resent posts, that when we get to the third stage in the growth of love, we are not extinguishing the first two stages of love. We are simply growing and adding another facet to our ability to love each other. There are three ways we can experience this third stage of love;
1. There is always a mystery in our fully knowing anyone, even ourselves. We all have had the experience of being surprised by a thought we had or a behavior that surprised us. Where did that come from? we ask ourselves. If there is a lot about me that I have yet to discover, that is also true about our spouse.
Back in l955, the Johari window was developed to be used in helping us describe who we are. There were four panes to the window. The first pane represented what we know about ourselves. The second pane was about things I know about me that others don’t know. The third pane was what others know about me that I don’t know, and the fourth pane was the “unknown”–what I don’t know and what you don’t know about me. It’s an interesting way to describe and think on the “mystery of personhood.”
2. Remember and talk about the early days in your marriage. How did you meet? What attracted you to your spouse? It’s good to have this conversation with each other, maybe do it on your anniversary. It’s all too easy to forget the good things.
3. Examine your expectations from your spouse’s perspective. You can begin a conversation on this by saying something like “You know I have this expectation for us, and I expect this from you. But I know it stirs up some issues for you. I think some of the issues might be . . . .(and then relate some of what you’ve heard your spouse express about your expectations in the past.)
What happens when we love in this way? For one, our ability to trust grows broader. Then our commitment grows deeper, and our connection grows stronger. And then we also experience the fourth stage of love’s growth, when we begin to love ourselves more because of how our spouse loves us! Our goal is stage 3, but the consequence of reaching stage 3 is that we may even begin to love ourselves more.
Question: What has it felt like when you have been loved for who you are, not for something you did?