Some people grow up in situations that change their outlook on life. If you grow up seeing a behavior you are likely to repeat it or at least consider it normal. If your family always communicated with sarcasm, you are likely to use it to communicate also. If your siblings had a tendency of starting yelling matches to get a point across, it is likely you are also going to consider that a normal way of expressing your feelings. On the other side of the spectrum if you never experienced physical affection from your family, you are likely to not be used to someone hugging you or touching you.
So what is considered normal? When should the line be drawn between healthy and unhealthy love?
I think it is fundamental to a good relationship to find out how your partner receives affection. Some people feel good when someone else remembers a special date or detail that you two shared. Some enjoy that public display of affection that shows everyone that you are with them. Some enjoy someone that would listen and some someone that can talk. In the end I think everyone requires love in some form.
So what is the difference between tough love and abuse?
I have come to realize that very seldom do I have an answer that will work for everyone. It is even tougher when I realize that sometimes the answer I had for me needs to change. The good thing is that as humans we are adaptable and capable of change.
If your partner does not appreciate the sarcasm about the way they look, you need to stop it even if that is the way you saw your parents communicate. If you find yourself having arguments just like you saw growing up, it is also necessary to break that cycle because we should be able to say things without raising our voice. I know those are some of the things that work for me.
Also a simple way to make others feel loved is to smile. No matter what, try to smile. I know even when I am stressed or just tired and I try to smile, it makes me feel a little bit better.
It is actually kind of funny that someone might think there is trouble in paradise and think this has anything to do with the relationship with my wife. The funny part is that when I was in an unhealthy relationship I would never feel like I could post my thoughts here freely because anything that I would say would be used against me. I use this blog because it is cheaper than therapy.
My wife and I actually connect in many levels and can show each other love in many of the ways that Barry posted about in the comments. I actually have it a lot easier because my wife accepts love in every single way that that books lists (which btw Barry, I have heard about in the past.) So I am off to have some banana bread that my wife made this week, man is it good 🙂