Have you read the book “Love Anthony” by Lisa Genova?
I read it a year or so ago, and really enjoyed it.
More than that, there was a paragraph or two that really struck home with me.
Not because I’m familiar with autism, or a cheating spouse – but because it discussed perspectives.
I get so caught up in my own head, that more often than not, I don’t consider other’s perspectives.
In the book, two characters are seeing a marriage counsellor, and he poses a question (p.193);
“(in this marriage) you both want to feel wanted, happy, secure and loved, yes? Fair to say?”
“Yes,” says Beth.
“Yes,” says Jimmy.
“Then this is what we’re going to work on,” says Dr. Campbell, slapping his thighs.
“Here’s your homework. I want you each to get out four pieces of paper, one for wanted, one for happy, one for secure and one for loved, and I want you to write down specific actions and words that you need to see and hear in order to feel each of those things. Come up with as many as you can. Don’t hold anything back.”
“Uh, like, what do you mean?” asks Jimmy.
“Well, these four feelings are necessary to both of you, but they probably mean different things when actualized. For example, feeling loved to you might mean a hug and a kiss from Beth every time you come home from work. It might mean cigars and slippers. It might mean sex.
For Beth, it might mean the same things, but it also might show up as doing the laundry or taking her out to dinner.
Love, happiness, security, feeling wanted – these are the basics, yes? And because they’re so basic, people often assume that they should happen automatically. But what floats your boat, might not float hers. We’re all different.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I have no more and no fewer problems in my marriage than any one else.
This isn’t about reconciling a damaged relationship in my case. This is about determining what works and being conscientious of it.
I’m not going to post our sheet
1. because it’s personal,
2. because I haven’t done one and
3. because I haven’t talked Hubby into doing one.
These are the answers the couple from the story gave;
(his in blue, her’s in pink)
I think this would work in any relationship.
e.g. What criteria do you need to feel successful at work? What does your boss consider success within your role?
(with different headings – maybe expectations, performance etc).
What about with your kids? Change the terms to freedom, responsibility, love and happy and see what they come up with versus what you would have thought.
This concept has really struck a chord with me and I think it would be a valuable exercise.
Hey Hubby, completing this chart would help me to feel “loved.” lol