No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.
— Mary Kay Ash
Life is generally a pretty busy balancing act of daily living. Sometimes things that are important to us, I mean really meaningful and precious aspects of our lives, can get pushed out of the spotlight.
They can get relegated to the back of the line, often without us realizing it, and may remain unnoticed until something happens to make us sit up and be accountable. Maybe not the first time, it may take a whole bunch of times before we see it.
In relationships, specifically of the heart, this can be very dangerous. Yet so often we’re tired, exhausted, depleted from the other things that are ahead in the line, that sometimes we can so easily forget how we need to make time for our significant other…before they feel more insignificant than anything else.
I was thinking about this and digging around online about listening to and sharing with your partner. There’s a ton of stuff out there on this subject, but it wasn’t about exactly what I was focusing on.
It was about a lot of important aspects of listening and sharing, but it was mostly regarding listening when your mate is speaking to you and sharing their feelings, or it was about making the time to do things together…obviously those are very important parts to a healthy relationship. You might say essential to one!
But I’m going to put a little spin on this idea of listening to our partners. Stay with me here, I’m talking about taking the time, or making the time, to share actual things with each other; stories, articles, songs, funny pictures, humor, jokes, news, anecdotes…in other words the things that have interested your loved one enough that they are excited to share them with you. Literally using our ears and eyes to totally stop what we’re doing and focusing.
Those times when either they arrive home bursting with something to share, or you arrive home and they are just waiting for you with their thing. Or not home, somewhere else, it bears no consequence. Everyone has surely experienced this at times, right?
Then what happens?
What if you’re tired? What if you think you aren’t really interested in this topic? What of you were already in the middle of something?
What happens if you shut the other person down?
Let’s be realistic you’re thinking, sometimes we are bound to not be able to share immediately at that moment it comes up, life can get in the way of that, and we can take a rain check because it’s simply not feasible. This can definitely be the case.
Work, kids, pets, clubs, sports, hobbies…the list goes on and on. It’s that balancing act that was mentioned earlier.
But, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if we don’t stop sometimes to give our person our focus, our undivided attention, then said person might start to feel dumb, or silly, or embarrassed about sharing things with us.
They might, at some point, just stop sharing with us. Or feel resentful.
The message we send by not making time to share each other’s interests can be really hurtful. And if it was done unintentionally, we may not even realize we are doing it.
I can quote someone I know who told me that, “When my spouse isn’t receptive when I try and share with them, I feel disrespected.” It makes them feel just like it was mentioned earlier…insignificant.
I find that incredibly sad.
These are two people who are very much in love, but when one doesn’t make that time, or take that time for the other; to watch a short video, or listen to an anecdote, they end up invalidating the other’s importance. And it’s totally unintentional.
Again, we probably can’t do this every time, but when we are able and all it takes is a small amount of our time and energy, we can do this little thing for the people we love, and it can go a long way toward mutual respect and solidifying our relationships.
If we have children and we validate each other (and them!) by giving our time and focus, we can, hopefully, teach them about those things, too. That’s important stuff folks.
These are the kinds of things that can start out very small, but grow and grow into bigger issues within relationships. It probably won’t be the seed that leads to destroying it all, but it likely won’t help two people to be close. It likely will hurt their chances.
Not to mention the possible collateral damage done along the way [damage to things that are incidental to the (unintentional) intended or original target]. I don’t think most people would want their kids seeing daddy not making time for mommy or vice versa, then growing up and behaving the same.
We cannot get time back. We don’t get do-overs. Sometimes our actions will drive a wedge in our happiness. After a while this gets more and more painful.
I saw a list ‘shared’ on Facebook, Five Rules of a Relationship; #3. Respect Your Partner, and #4. Have Time for each Other.
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
— Ann Landers
Maybe it’s because I fell in love with my husband more than twenty years ago, or maybe it’s because by all accounts we seem pretty happy still, or possibly both, but I have been asked, “What is your secret?”
I’m going to state unequivocally that although we’ve both been guilty of this from time to time…it is fundamental to make your spouse (significant other, life partner, etc.) know and feel how important they are to you, in big ways and in small ways.
Don’t wait too long…
— Raina K Morton Sept 2 2014
*Today’s title, Love Takes Time could be from a Mariah Carey ballad…but it’s not, it’s actually from a kind-of-cheesy oldie by a band called ‘Orleans’…it just popped into my head as I was prepping.*