Seeing vs Loving
This blog post was featured in the Huffington Post on April 20, 2017.
This blog dedicated to my dear wife, Nurit, who taught me to love.
When your loved one tells you: “You do not love me! You do not see me!” What is going on?
You feel as if you are getting unfairly accused. You DO everything you can for your loved one, and it is not enough. They want to be SEEN.
What the hell does she or he mean with “You do not SEE me!” From this, they somehow assume: “You do not love me!” Is there any relationship between loving and seeing?
Did you ever have the experience that you are looking at something but you don’t really capture what you are looking at? How come?
Your mind was somewhere else. You were seeing what you were thinking of while you were looking at what is in front of you.
Looking is not necessarily seeing.
We see what our mind is focused on. If we have problems, our mind is where the problems are and what we are looking at does not get registered.
In order to see, rather than to look, you need to be present. Your mind has to be where your eyes are.
It happens less and less in modern society. Why?
We are busy. Busy, busy. Stressed. The result is that our mind is all over the place, in the past or in the future but rarely in the present.
And that is true for males and females. With female liberation and women trying extra hard to break the glass ceiling, their mind is no less occupied. They are not present either. And now the man feels neglected.
This phenomena that mind and eyes are not in the same place at the same time happens when a child is born. There can be tension in the marriage. What happened? Her mind is on that new born baby. She stops seeing her husband. He feels it; she is not as available to BE with him as she was before.
So here we are. Our mind wanders. Too many external stimuli that kidnap our mind away from our loved ones.
Have you ever experienced making love and feeling that your partner’s body is there but his or her mind is not? You will lose your interest in continuing the sexual experience. It will bring a lot of stress into the relationship.
To be loving you must be present, and for that you must stop thinking. Stop cold. Focus on the person in front of you and start noticing what they wear. Feel them if they are happy, sad, angry or inquisitive. Whatever. Just study them. Feel more think less. HAVE EYE CONTACT (especially when making love). Yes!!
Now the problem: We cannot be present all the time, especially during the day, whenever we are with a loved one. Impossible in the modern world with all that is expected from us, men and women. Impossible. An expectation that cannot be realized. If we have this expectation, it will increase the stress in the relationship because it is impossible to realize it.
What to do?
Allocate, secure, time, religiously, an evening every week, when you will have a date with your loved one. You two. Alone. Forbidden to talk about any problems you two have. Only talk about subjects that make you laugh. Laugh a lot. You can not laugh without being PRESENT. Your mind must be where you are if it is going to be funny. Furthermore, people that laugh cannot at the same time have negative thoughts. There is enough negativity in our life. Have one evening, for goodness sake, for positive thoughts.
Go to a favorite restaurant. Just the two of you. Leave the rest of the family at home. And do not invite any friends either. Just the two of you. Alone. Find a subject to discuss that is not going to make you upset. Thus, if you are supporters of different political parties, politics is out. Talk about your children. About your friends (OK to gossip). Talk about anything exciting that happened to each one of you during the week. Hold hands as you talk. Go home and make love, telling each other sweet things that are true and force your mind to be where you are.
It is not easy to love and remain loving in the stressful world we live in. It should be handled like a very valuable asset that needs to be protected. How?
Well, how do you protect your material assets? You insure them. For that you must pay a premium and the more valuable the asset, the higher the premium. Furthermore, the higher the chance of fire, flood or robbery, the premium is even higher.
Consider this, once a week get together, away from work, children, friends, any attention-grabbing parties, as a “premium to pay” to protect your asset called marriage or steady committed relationship.
If you travel a lot, are employed in a position that is very stressful, the danger to your asset is higher than normal thus your “premium” should be even higher. Once a week a secluded get-together might not be enough. You might have to carve out of your schedule more time to be present and be loving with those you claim to love. Walk the talk. Take one weekend off, leave home and go somewhere with just the two of you. And take once a year, two weeks, to go on a honeymoon, again, just the two of you… One honeymoon is not enough for lifetime of marriage.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
(May I recommend reading my new book: The Power of Opposites: How to Succeed in your Marriage and Family Not in Spite of, But Because of Your Differences. (Available from amazon.com or join courses on the subject at www. Adizes-sfc.com)