I was asked recently about withholding hugs and kisses to encourage a husband to be more loving. I don’t think it works, and I sure don’t think it would be much fun.
Why sculpt the marriage you want by manipulating the person you love? Or by avoiding what makes your marriage enjoyable to you?
What should we withhold?
- That which we will later regret, like knee-jerk responses to words or actions we don’t yet understand. Assume Love so you can see the loving if it’s there before you react.
- Anything we feel resentful about giving, because resentment suffocates love.
- Revenge. Much better to find a Third Alternative to our disagreements. Pain or loss never engenders love or brings us closer together. A Third Alternative does.
Great point, Patty. Manipulation never brings more love. Even when I am at my grumpiest, CJ tries to sneak in and get a kiss. He thinks it’s a challenge to see if “my little Tasmanian devil will get me.” It usually turns my mood around instantly. Love begets love.
It is painful for me to withhold kindness and love from Tammy. Why would I ever purposely hurt both of us? What a perfect way to destroy a good thing.
They will destroy a good thing when used as a strategy to manipulate a spouse into giving you something you want. But when we give them with resentment, they also destroy that good thing. This was a tough lesson for me to learn.
Instead of giving any particular kindness with resentment, work first on losing the resentment. You seem to have done a great job of cutting resentment out of your marriage and your llife, CJ. And that is why you have such a good thing.