Recently I read something by Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, where he said, in essence, if someone is important to you then what is important to them should be just as important as they are to you. Kind of confusing wording, but what he meant is this: If you love someone, then the things they really value will be important to you also. I got the point.
I read this idea several times these last few day, and it stopped me in my tracks every time: I stopped and imagined telling my husband, “You are so important to me,” then I compared what I was feeling to how I felt about his interests*. I have to admit, those things didn’t feel as meaningful to me. Since his interests didn’t feel quite as important to me, I imagined shifting my feelings about him toward the things that are meaningful to him.
It felt weird.
So I’ll probably have to practice this more often to get the hang of it. And I think it will help him feel even more valuable to me; to leave him feeling like, “You don’t just care about me. You care about my world.” (I asked if it would have this impact. He agreed.)
But then I thought back to when we were really in the mess a few years ago, to those times where I held my heart out to him, pleading, “Please just love me. Please just hear me. This broke me. This wrecked me. This hurts so much I can barely speak. This is not about you right now. Please just love me.” It would have been so healing if he’d honored what was important to me in those moments.
How many years could we have saved?
Because I believe it’s true: If we treat as important the things they hold dear, we will speak volumes about how important they are to us.
*Note: I am talking about healthy interests that help our mates and the relationship. I am not talking about destructive interests.