If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time saying the words, “I love you,” to your partners, family members, and friends. But to me, it sometimes feels like the words don’t do what I want them to. They almost feel like they’re disconnecting me from those I love because something is missing.
Love is not just a feeling, it’s an action, a choice you make every moment of every day. If you’re not acting in alignment with your feelings, you may find your partner drifting away from you as the action of love is lost between you.
D. Hutton of Balance by Deborah Hutton recommends you stop using the word “love,” and switch to “nurture” instead. The shift will help your partner understand that you intend to take action toward their happiness in the relationship rather than hoping to smooth over issues with the word Love. Hutton’s suggestion is based on the idea that when we say we want to be loved, we really mean we want to be nurtured. We want our partner to see us as we see ourselves and help us become that person in our day to day life through their support. When we use the word nurture with our partner, they hear that we will “listen, be present, mindfully attend, make a cup of tea, and provide comfort and support,” to them.
Hutton goes on to explain that because we understand nurture as an action verb, something we actively engage in and do for someone else, it’s easier to come up with specific actions we can take on a daily basis to show our partners that we are actively nurturing them and engaged in the relationship.
Using “nurture” instead of “love” in your relationships can also, according to Hutton, help us shift any negative associations we have for the word love to those more positive associations we have with nurture. For many of us, we saw the first example of two people who supposedly loved one another in our parents. In my home, I can say without a doubt that I found it terribly confusing that love meant fighting, yelling, and divorce. I spent a significant part of my own life looking for love that didn’t hurt. Didn’t mean an end and a sense of abandonment.
Hutton, D. (2017, February 20). The secret to real relationship transformation. Retrieved February 02, 2021
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