Here’s one important lesson marriage counselling in Toronto will teach you.
Resolving marriage problems is easy.
All we need is to give love rather than expect it from the other person.
Today, I’ll break down this principle so that you can improve your relationship today.
You can also listen to a companion podcast episode:
The biggest mistake couples make
In my marriage counselling practice in Toronto, I often see how couples misunderstand affection.
We must love unconditionally and inspire our partner to love us back.
However, most people have it backwards.
They withhold love until they receive it from the other person.
Falling into this trap is so easy and I was guilty of it myself.
How I ruined my marriage
I love my ex-wife a lot.
We were together for a total of 11 years.
As a person who clings to people and things, the more we stayed together, the more I loved her.
There was a problem, though.
I focused on instant gratification rather than a long-term vision for our relationship.
I wanted more attention, understanding, and attention out of it:
- I demanded that she joined me in doing things that I liked such as self-improvement work.
- I ignored her needs like watching a movie together because I didn’t care about movies.
- I wasn’t taking her out much.
- I wasn’t engaging her in deep conversations.
I also resented her for abandoning the business that we had started together (a Russian translation agency).
So I stopped talking to her about the business.
Over time, that led to fewer conversations and talking less about everyday things.
As if that weren’t bad enough already, I would also give her the silent treatment occasionally.
Our communication problems and resentment made me think I didn’t love her.
I was demanding love and didn’t want to give it.
Giving vs. receiving love
In my practice of marriage counselling in Toronto, I see couples making the same mistake that I made.
They think of love as something you either feel or don’t feel.
They believe they have little control over love.
It’s what the other person does that determines how much love for them they have.
To some extent, this is true of course because you do want to receive love from your partner.
But you shouldn’t focus on receiving.
You need to be proactive: you are in a relationship to give love.
How could I’ve been more affectionate?
This is what I would teach my younger self to make my wife and I become happy again:
Forgiving my ex-wife for quitting our business
When you feel huge resentment, you need to either forgive and move on or part ways.
You can’t remain stuck somewhere in-between.
If I had forgiven my wife for abandoning our business, I would be able to:
- Talk to her more.
- Discuss problems with her rather than give her the silent treatment.
- Tell her about the business more.
And this would’ve improved our communication.
We would’ve talked more about everyday things such as where we were going, when we were coming back, etc.
Eventually, it would’ve led to deep conversations.
The next step should’ve been stopping what Tony Robbins calls trading, or whoring.
I should’ve done things for my ex-wife rather than expecting things from her.
A simple example is giving her a massage instead of asking for one.
To do that, I needed to nurture my love for her.
Stephen Covey said:
“Love is a verb.”
The actual work of loving comes first and the feeling comes second.
The feeling is a result of the process of loving.
It reflects one fundamental principle of life: you need to give in order to receive.
Here’s a metaphor to help you remember this principle.
Imagine that your love of your partner is a small child.
Small children need love to grow and develop.
And so does your love.
The more love you give to a child, the bigger and stronger it gets.
The more affectionate and caring you are to the other person, the more love you feel.
Specific examples of showing affection:
- I should’ve given my wife more physical touch during the day.
- I should’ve written her messages telling her she meant a lot to me. A great thing to do would have been leaving handwritten notes.
- And while doing so, I should’ve focused on feeling love so that she could feel it coming from me.
Why does giving love work so well?
It works because giving love is a need that all people share.
We often get stuck in lower-level needs such as getting comfort from food or sex.
But love is a higher-level need than both food and sex.
When we focus on giving love, we step into our higher selves.
And we feel more fulfillment from it than from fulfilling our lower-level needs.
Specific tips about how to give love
Start having deep conversations.
A good time for this is meals.
Say less and listen more.
Ask quality questions to show that you’re listening.
These conversations will deepen your relationship and open up your partner.
And then take them further: go for a walk for a few hours.
This will allow even deeper conversations, connecting you on a whole new level.
Another way to improve an intimate relationship is to make sex more exciting.
This is especially true for men because they place a higher value on sex.
Here is a quick video about how to please a man in bed:
Get marriage counselling in Toronto.
If you struggle with your intimate relationships, check out my marriage counselling services in Toronto.
I’m not a home-wrecker.
I’m all about saving marriages.
Let’s stop the pain your relationship causes you.
And turn it into something that brings you the most joy in your life.
It’s an introductory conversation that’s totally free.