Some of you may have already heard that love is not one of our basic emotions. It may sound like heresy but love is not what you feel about another nor is it what you might say. Love is what you do. With the couples in my private practice in the East village of NY (www.eastvillagecounseling.com) and in my Couples Communication Workshops at Midtown Marriage and Family Therapy (www.midtownmft.com), I am trumpeting the news about love ad nauseum.
Invariably in my work, I hear either one or both partners say “well, I love him” Or “She knows I love her”. My response to such statements is “How do they know that?” You see, we can have all the sweet, soft, loving feelings toward our partners we want but if those feelings are not communicated in a manner in which they understand it’s all for not.
It is not sufficient to simply think or feel love for our partners, we must express it. Telling our partners we love them is not an adequate method of communicating how we feel either. While expression through words can be lovely and may do for a time, if the loving feelings are not transmuted into solid action sooner or later it all falls flat. More over whatever action we take to express love must also be something that makes our partners feel loved. I can bring my wife flowers everyday of the week but if flowers don’t translate into her feeling loved then my communication has missed its mark. It is our responsibility to find out how our partners feel loved and it must be our imperative to do those things.
Couples are continuously asking me to help them find the path to trust and intimacy. For me, the path to real trust and deep intimacy is loving action. When we tap into what makes our partners feel loved-when discover the specific deeds that they interpret as love we uncover the Rosetta stone to their hearts.