What to do when you do not feel cared for by your partner?
It is very difficult to be a caring partner when you do not experience some form of reciprocity. Unfortunately, sharing this information with one's spouse often leads to defensiveness or an argument and it becomes easier to avoid such discussions which then leads to resignation, disappointment and disconnection
Here are my four suggestions to remedy this challenge:
1) Utilize the soft start up and say something like." I know that you care about me and love me. I would like to ask you to consider adding a daily hug and a weekly date night(or fill in your need for these two behaviors) for us to the ways in which you express your caring to me.
2) Invite your partner to have a discussion about the ways in which you each feel cared for. Let him/her go first and listen in a non-defensive manner. When it is your turn, attempt to say everything in a positive way(what you want) and avoid negative or attacking comments(what you do not want)
3) If you have not made any progress, suggest to your partner that you sign up for my year long program in gift giving in order to strengthen your relationship. If he/she appears resistant, suggest that you can do it for a few weeks and then both evaluate whether it is helpful so your partner does not feel trapped.
You can do this by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting to participate.
4) If this does not work, sign up for the course and model it for your partner and ask after a month if she/he is feeling cared for by you. This is the hardest to do but often has the most profound effect since it shows you are ready to care even if your partner is not able.
Next Week: Exploring the Roots of Caring