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Thoughtfulness, the Key to Feeling Loved

Do you know that love thinks? It's not a mindless feeling that rides on waves of emotion and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that loving thoughts precede loving actions. When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. You spent hours dreaming of what your new found love looked like, you wondered what they were doing, and probably rehearsed impressive things to say. There was a time where you couldn't stop thinking about him or her. Sadly, for many couples, things begin to change after marriage and sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, and yourself. After a while you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your spouse. The fact that marriage has added another person to your universe does not change who you are. Therefore, if your thinking doesn't mature enough to constantly include this person, you catch yourself being surprised rather than being thoughtful. "Today's our anniversary?" "Why wasn't I included in that decision you made?" "Don't you ever think about anyone but yourself?" If you don't learn to be thoughtful (even in the little things) you end up regretting missed opportunities to demonstrate love. Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a relationship seeking for love. Doing little things for your spouse will turn out big dividends. To be honest, men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget the rest of the world. It really does take conscience effort for him to focus on whether his wife might be present in the same room. Men tend to think in headlines and say exactly what they mean. Between men conversing, not much is needed to understand the message. His words are more literal and shouldn't be over-analyzed. A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. She has the ability to do many things simultaneously. A woman also thinks relationally. When she works on a project, she is cognizant of all the people who are connected to it. Women think and speak between the lines. They tend to hint at something, so a man often has to listen for what is implied if he wants to get the full meaning. If a couple doesn't understand this about one another, the fallout can result in endless disagreements. He gets frustrated wondering why she speaks in riddles and doesn't just come out and say things. She is frustrated wondering why he's so inconsiderate and doesn't add two and two together and just figure it out. A woman deeply longs for her husband to be thoughtful. It's a key to helping her feel loved. A wise man will listen like a detective to discover the unspoken needs and desires a woman's words imply. If, however, she always has to put the pieces together for him, it steals the opportunity for him to demonstrate that he loves her and she then feels a bit less loved. As much as we don't like it, women's feelings often control our actions. This also explains why women will get upset with their husbands without telling them why. In her mind she's thinking, "I shouldn't have to spell it out for him. He should be able to look at the situation and see what's going on here." At the same time he's troubled because he can't read her mind and wonders why he's being punished for a crime he didn't know he committed. Love requires thoughtfulness on both sides, the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks. A husband should listen to his wife and learn to be considerate of her unspoken messages. A wife should learn to communicate truthfully and not say one thing while meaning another ( we don't mean to come across that way). But all too often you become angry and frustrated and, follow the destructive pattern of "ready - shoot - aim." You often speak harshly and determine later if you should have said it. If both of you stop and think things through, the thoughtful nature of love teaches you to engage your mind before engaging your lips. Love thinks before speaking and will filter your words through a grid of truth and kindness. Great marriages will come from being attentive to your spouses needs. Work at being patient before you speak, this will allow you to think before voicing your opinions (My thoughts with The Love Dare, pages 16-18). Sherry

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