A few years ago, I was walking upstairs to gather laundry from around the house, while my husband was watching highlights of UFC fights on Spike T.V. As I glanced at the bloody fighters in the cage, I wrinkled my nose, and yelled, “Ewwww, that is so disgusting!”
With equal disgust towards ME, my husband rolled his eyes and spoke some of the truest words I’ve ever heard, “You know,” he reasoned, “If you understood it, you wouldn’t hate it!”
I walked out of the room with my laundry basket and wondered why I would even care to understand a sport that grossed me out.
Several months later, a well-known fighter hired me as a mental coach, to help him win his next UFC fight. I was shocked by how smart and classy, kind and funny this guy was. He completely won my heart. I poured myself into understanding his sport, and sure enough, grew to love it.
That got me thinking…
Sometimes I think that marriage is like a sport. When we don’t understand it, it can become unappealing. When we don’t understand our mate, they can strike us as down right disgusting! In fact sometimes we get so confused about the rules of engagement that we mistakenly think our spouse is the opponent!
Here are 4 keys to understanding your mate so you can L.O.V.E. them more. These are also called “How to Love an Unlovely Spouse”
1. Listen to what is on their heart and behind their actions. So often we decide what our mate is thinking based on what WE are thinking. This is a good way to become defensive or angrier. Instead, gently ask questions that help you see beneath the surface.
2. Observe without judgment. Nobody likes to feel criticized. When we can observe our loved ones compassionately and without passing judgment, we can offer grace, acceptance and the power to grow. Did you know that if you take on your mate’s posture, countenance and even breathing pattern, you can find yourself in tune with their emotions? Try it and see.
3. Visualize your self through your mate’s eyes. Would YOU want to be married to you? Ask yourself what part you are playing in any tension and just as a curious experiment – make a change. Decide what kind of person you want to be and then come to your spouse from your best self.
4. Express love in a way that means something to your mate. As Gary Chapman famously described in The Five Love Languages, not all of us give and receive love in the same way. You may feel that your actions surely display your love because you are speaking your own love language, but they may be meaningless to your mate.
Basically the Love Languages are:
Acts of Service
There’s even a free quiz you and your family members can take over at 5LoveLanguages.com. I highly recommend it.
The more you understand your mate’s love language the more you can connect in a way that is meaningful. Anger often turns into compassion then, and disgust can even be transformed into delight.
So there you go, L.O.V.E – Listen, Observe, Visualize, Express.
You probably won’t see those tips outlined on ESPN, or SPIKE, but they’ll help you win at love and marriage, and achieve peak performance in the process.
Now, I gotta go. Its time to practice my best rear naked choke hold. ( or was that buck naked…?)
Anyway, have fun! I believe in you!
P.S. – Have you checked out The Sexy Marriage Solution yet? Learn the same mindset techniques that I use with all my athlete clients, only on your most intimate performance to transform your sex life!
Gina Parris is an international speaker, performance coach, wife, mother of four, and a champion for the Sexy Marriage. She is dedicated to helping people heal their sexual and relational issues. Throughout the past 28 years, Gina has served on staff of several large churches and encouraged thousands of people -privately, in groups, through television, radio and other media. She also speaks to organizations on topics dealing with home and work balance. Gina combines the best of Sports Psychology, Energy Therapy and Biblical promises to help people enjoy a Love Life marked by victory.