What happens when that sweet guy you married has seemingly run out of sweet things to say? Recently, I got a call from a friend who was upset that her husband was no longer saying all the nice things or complimenting her like he used to when they first met. In fact, he even hurt her feelings with some less than complimentary feedback. What was even more confusing is that other men were showing interest in her…but she couldn’t get the attention she wanted from the one man she wanted it from the most. I don’t have to tell you how dangerous this situation is if it’s left unchecked, right?
Repairing the damage. Rebuilding the relationship.
In order to diagnose the exact problem and repair the damage, it’s important to understand each partner’s specific love or attraction strategy. Basically, every human being has their own specific “formula” or recipe that triggers a loving or attracted response. Think of it as a combination on a vault. When you know the combination, you can crack it open at will…when you don’t…you are “locked out” of getting the desired response. I created an audio product a few years ago called The H.U.G. & K.I.S.S. Hierarchy that explains all 7 unique strategies and by utilizing this tool, I was able to help her understand quickly how to repair the problem.
Defining the problem for her
Clearly, my friend’s primary love strategy was not getting “cracked open” nearly enough – and that was the very root of the problem. In The H.U.G. & K.I.S.S. Hierarchy, her top preference is clearly KIND WORDS & AFFIRMATION which represents the K in the acronym. When she fails to get complimented, she literally CAN’T feel loved and supported in the way she wants to feel it. Then when you add on the criticism…well, you can see that things are moving in the absolute wrong direction and it only compounds the problem.
Forget the Golden Rule & Remember the Platinum Rule
One of the key mistakes we make that causes trouble in a relationship is that we love our partners the way WE want to be loved which is essentially known as the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The problem is there’s a Platinum Rule in relationships and it goes like this: “Do unto others as they NEED to have done unto them.”
Defining the problem for him
If both partners have the identical love strategy, the Golden Rule will work just fine. However, when the partners have different love strategies, as is often the case – it doesn’t work at all. That was clearly the case here in my friend’s marriage. My friend complimented her husband all the time…but since it wasn’t HIS preferred love language, it didn’t really register. It was bad enough when he seemingly shrugged off her compliments…then it got even worse when she started to resent that also. When I outlined the other 6 preferred love strategies, she soon realized that her husband had a far different top need…one that is actually quite common in men. His love language is the H which stands for Human Touch. Basically, he experiences love through physical contact, kinesthetic touch and love-making. As you might expect, when that’s what you really need to feel loved, a few compliments aren’t going to do it. Can you see the disconnect?
So how do you fix it?
Beyond helping her identify exactly what was missing – and how to give her husband what HE needs – I also gave my friend some new strategies on how to effectively ask for what you want in a way that makes it more likely that she’ll get what she wants. Her usual pouting, resentment and silent treatment only makes the problem worse. Those two things will totally shift the dynamics of the relationship and create even more love and understanding…but there’s an even deeper piece that will permanently shift everything for her and make a profound difference in every aspect of her world.
Creating lasting change for a lifetime
In human motivational psychology, there’s only 6 reasons why we do – or don’t do – everything and this “operating system” controls it all. To make a long story short, it became clear in our discussion that my friend’s top need is for significance…which partially explains why she loves compliments so much. Here’s the challenge though: when you go through life and you “can’t get enough compliments”…you become addicted to them and need more and more. Worse still, you don’t even fully take them in or acknowledge them when you receive them so you find yourself saying things like “oh, you’re just saying that” and other similar “deflective” things. Plus since you didn’t fully appreciate the ones you got and it’s never enough, those closest to you actually experience “compliment fatigue”…so they gradually stop giving them. After a while, they discover the futility of trying to fill a bucket with no bottom. Does this sound familiar?
Here’s the great news
By simply acknowledging the problem and its challenges, my “new” client is now free to simply update her operating system and choose anew in a way that will still meet her needs and work for her infinitely better. That’s right. She doesn’t have to be stuck with the “factory default” that isn’t meeting her deepest needs. That doesn’t mean she won’t ever got complimented again or won’t get to feel significant any more. On the contrary, she’ll probably start to get many more compliments…and they’ll feel even better. That’s the beauty of making new, more strategic choices that are far more effective. Rather than struggling to get what you what you want, you end up getting pulled TOWARD what you want…with far less effort and struggle. If that sounds good to you, let’s set up a time to talk. I’ll show you how to set up a game you get to win easily and often!
Most people wouldn’t consider standing at the top of a steep flight of stairs and hurtling themselves downward, tumbling and bouncing painfully every step of the way until the forces of gravity and inertia are exhausted and they come to a stop. In the best case scenario, they’d lay there woozy, sore and possibly injured. In the worst case scenario, it could even be life-threatening. Those two painful scenarios are usually enough to stop most people from attempting a stair dive.
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