This Bend Marriage Counselor Asks: Would you like your partner to take an interest in you?

December 7, 2012 by

If you want your partner to take an interest in you, start by taking an interest in them

This is how our brains work. When we show an interest in our partner they will experience our interest. Our partners brain will relax, letting go of anxiety and tension, and respond in kind. The Platinum Rule for making love last goes something like: “Do unto your partner what your partner wants done”. When you target the behavior your partner wants instead of giving your partner only what you want to give them you will dramatically up the odds that your partner will reciprocate. The paradox here is we often unknowingly coerce our partner with demands, expectations and messages of entitlement to get our needs met. More often than not we are unsuccessful. Plus, this method leads to conflict, defensiveness and distance in the relationship.

Sometimes people think they are using the principal of “do unto your partner what your partner wants done” and get discouraged, saying it doesn’t work. With further investigation we find their partners heard what was said much differently. They often picked up resentment, judgment, putdown or criticism instead.

As my workshop colleague, Norene Gonsiewski has said: You are giving your partner “gold with garbage wrapped around it.” Harville Hendrix, designer of the Imago Dialogue model, says it this way: “When your amygdala (the part of our brain that protects us from danger) senses judgment it wakes up and says: there is an enemy in your house and reacts defensively.”

This Bend Marriage Counselor invites you to examine yourself first. If you have tried to show interest in your partner and it hasn’t been successful, reflect on whether you wrapped it in the “garbage” of resentment, judgment, putdowns or criticism. If after some reflecting you don’t come up with anything, ask your partner how your attempt to take an interest was received by them. Then try to adjust either your behavior or attitude or both to reflect genuine interest and empathy for your partner. You will be glad you did when you notice your partner becoming open to your needs and desires

To find out more about learning the tools to create lasting love think about attending the Getting the Love You Want couples workshop. Also check-out free resources and sign-up for my monthly enews on my website.