Are you experiencing all the love you want?
Is your heart ALL IN for love?
There are as many reasons as there are individuals who hedge their bets when it comes to being “all in.”
Are you holding back your love? I am continually surprised at how many people feel betrayed and can never open their hearts again to love. They stay closed and miss out on the best part of life because they can’t work through the hurt.
Do you avoid the feeling of the love you’re receiving? Sometimes, it’s so scary to open your heart to love that you don’t fully take it in. Your partner loves you completely, but you are unable to receive it.
My dear mentor, Dr. Deborah Anapol, who has now left this life, wrote an outstanding book called, The 7 Laws of Love. She explains that the heart is a door and a muscle:
The more you use your heart, the better it works. Love is a practice.
It’s easier to give love than to receive it, and most people can actually feel more of the feelings of love by loving—so love as much as possible to experience more love in your life.
Don’t wait to be loved—start loving, and you will experience the benefits of love.
The door swings both ways—the deeper and more intensely you love, the more it hurts when the love is lost. But you experience feelings on both sides, which makes life worth living. So don’t be afraid to feel.
Why do many of us struggle with love?
THE CORE VALUES IN A RELATIONSHIP
Many people struggle with love because half of us were not securely “attachment parented.” You end up with one of a set of core fears that keep sabotaging you. Another of my mentors, Dr. Susan Campbell, explains how to recognize what core fear might be holding you back from a life of love.
Sometimes we don’t have a model for what love looks like. We undermine our intimacy (consciously or unconsciously) when it comes to being “all in.”
Could you love MORE?
Do you feel deeply loved?
No matter the “reason,” holding back has a significant impact on every aspect of a relationship, sex included.
Sure, in the early stages of a relationship, when you’re essentially checking each other out, it’s natural and healthy to take your time going “all in.”
But if the “checking out” is laced with the other person’s judgment, the impact will be felt.
I didn’t know it at the time, but radical honesty and acceptance played a significant role in the rescue operation that saved my marriage.
See, I was brought up by a mother who repeatedly told me: “Never trust a man. Always stay in control of your finances so you can get away whenever you want to.” Mom was trying to protect me. I don’t blame my mother at all… She always acted in my best interest. However, when I COULD trust my husband, that fear of not being able to trust reared its ugly head and almost bankrupted the love I should have had and could have had.
I absorbed her belief not to trust men and did as she’d advised when I married Tim. I didn’t know then but now understand that my core relationship value is antithetical to my mother’s belief.
She’d chosen poorly. But I decided well. So, holding back almost ruined my marriage.
Beneath the fearful conditioning, I wanted my man to take care of me, including managing the finances. Security, including financial security, is my #1 relationship value. I wouldn’t be in a relationship if I couldn’t have financial stability.
But having been spoon-fed feminist values, I couldn’t admit—much less accept—my desire to have a man take care of me for many years into my marriage. Far from being “all in,” I had one foot out the door for much of the time.
It’s a bit paradoxical given that I recognized Tim’s business savvy very early in our relationship. A guy with fiscal muscle handled money with competence and ease. And yet, I couldn’t imagine merging our finances. “Get a joint checking account? Why in the world would I do that?” It took a long time for me to examine this belief and even longer to accept that he enjoyed managing our finances… And I sucked at it.
We were eleven years into our marriage and amid a 3-year rough patch when I said to him: “I’m not sure if I can stay with you. I want my husband to be financially successful so I can relax and know I’ll be safe.”
This added insult to an injury Tim was already suffering: our sex life was just plain dissatisfying. I’d become bored with sex, and I couldn’t have orgasms from intercourse back then. Even having an orgasm at all required a lot of effort. Now and then, I’d give him “mercy sex,” which didn’t help at all and made him feel even worse about the relationship, so he checked out emotionally. His motivation to take care of me was at an all-time low. Neither of us could see any way through this painful impasse.
We were on the brink of divorce when we realized that breaking up our family was not an option. At that point, I said, “All right, I’m gonna have sex with you and try hard to have orgasms.” It took some doing, but I could bridge the Orgasm Gap and start to enjoy making love in time. Tim began to re-attach to me emotionally. But I still had a lingering fear that he wouldn’t make enough money to keep me feeling secure.
I was 45 and put him on notice, saying, “I’ll let you know by the time I’m 49 if I can fully commit to our relationship, and it hinges on whether or not you’re doing a good job taking care of me.” His anger at my lack of intimacy had driven a wedge between us. I let him know that school was still out for me on the matter, saying, “I don’t want you to think I’m completely committed to marriage. I’m not.”
I realize that is a truly shitty thing to say. But one of Tim’s top four relationship values is honesty. He’d rather know I wasn’t “all in” than be blindsided if I decided to leave our marriage.
By then, we had learned the power of understanding each other’s relationship values. When you know what your partner needs most from your relationship, you can prioritize your actions to make them incredibly happy.
I would go on to write Relationship Magic — a workbook for discovering your own top four relationship values. This book has helped thousands of singles and couples become deliriously happy and satisfied with their relationships:
Discover Your Top 4 Relationship Values ⇐ Nearly 25,000 Copies Sold ($9.95 discount link for my fans only.)
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When I turned 49, it hit me: “Oh my god, did I say that to him?” After almost losing our house, we’d just been through a financial disaster and were pulling up from the bottom. We’d put ALL of our life savings into Personal Life Media. We literally couldn’t make the next house payment, and we were so afraid our house wouldn’t sell. It did. Thank goodness. So like a lot of people, we had to downsize. We moved to a less expensive town and rented while we figured out how to make our business support us.
It truly amazed me when I realized that I’d come to trust Tim with our finances. We had to hit bottom together to appreciate that if anybody could pick up the pieces and put us on solid financial ground, it was my darling husband, 110% having our back. We’d become a team. Through thick and thin. Through all odds. Through near divorce. I was committed to him and had radically accepted our relationship for its ups and downs.
OUR WEDDING DAY in 1993
I said, “He’s my man; I’m all in. Whatever weaknesses he might have can be filled in with my strengths. We know each other’s foibles, and I’m confident we can make this work if we stick together.” I let go of expecting him to do it all and took responsibility for doing my share to make us successful as a couple.
I finally grew up!
After 29 years of marriage, I have relaxed into our relationship. I am going to stick by him no matter what. Once I radically accepted him and myself for what we brought to the table as a couple, everything got better, and better, and better.
As I hope you can see from my story of maturation, radical acceptance and radical honesty can work magic in a relationship. Like unconditional love, radical acceptance is a precious gift to give and receive.
You may be missing a ton of happiness and love by not giving your partner your all.