We each have resources available to us. Internal resources, such as our genetic potentials, developed talents, memories, personality styles. Motivations that animate us intersect with external resources — including time, money and energy — accessed through or heavily influenced by our environment at any moment. We constantly make decisions, consciously or unconsciously, about ways in which we use our resources. When we choose to use them in the service of a relationship or of someone we care about, we are showing love in powerful ways.
What resources can we use to show love?
- Internal resources. Are you musical? Write a song or record one. Are you good with language? Perhaps a poem or a love-note. Sense of humor? Can you provide a daily smile? Good with detail and/or methodical? Would you like to take on scheduling, reservations, household tasks and inventories, organizing anything specific from the kitchen to the computer? Creative? Surprises can provide delight and a special shared intimacy.
- Externally influenced resources. Can you assign priority to your loved one in your spending of Time? Money? Energy? Can you limit commitments so that a Sunday afternoon together can be more important than individual tasks or lone pursuits? Can you use financial resources in the service of the relationship? Perhaps by hiring help or by financing nourishing activities during time off? Can your energy be used consciously in the service of priorities?
How can the use of resources show love?
- Their allocation reflects commitment. With commitment, one can “do family” rather than engage in transactional relationships. The former views the communal unit as primary — see last week’s post on Recognizing the Relationship — whereas the latter reflects a “what’s in it for me?” or “what do I get in return?” mentality. The trust that the group or the couple will take care of its members can only take place when a commitment beyond self-interest has been established.
- Use of available resources can reflect shared values. A relationship can thrive on more than the pursuit of pleasures. Rokeach’s schema of values offers a way for two people to negotiate what priorities will be highest in their relationship. Honoring those ideals by devoting resources to them together can bring a huge sense of meaning and satisfaction into the relationship.
Resources can be used to amplify pleasures in the relationship. Those positive feelings that come from being in the relationship in the first place remain the key to keeping it vibrant. Whether time and money are devoted to a romantic evening out or to a day spent volunteering for a cause close to your heart, the potential good feelings strengthen the sense of love between two people.
- Individual or joint resources can be used to nourish each member so that the well is replenished. At times, the best thing for the couple can be for each individual to replenish his or her own reserves. Using joint resources to take care of personal needs can assure each individual that they will be supported by the group or couple.
- Prioritizing the allocation of resources can provide comfort, help, celebration. Whether a couple needs a moment to pull back and rethink where they are going and want to go or are in the middle of implementing their dreams, mindful use of available resources can assist by making the journey more comfortable, adding more help, and celebrating triumphs
Are you and your loved one aware of the conscious and unconscious choices you make as you spend your time, energy, money? Are those choices aligned with your individual values and those that you choose to pursue together? Do you have a process to realign your efforts when either or both feel that a personal need is unmet?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower First published, PsychologyToday.com, Life, Refracted