You're giving to your spouse ... but is it for the right reasons?
We all know that giving to our partner is part of a healthy, loving relationship. But is there a point when the things we do "in the name of love" actually become detrimental to our marriage? And where is the line between being caring versus being downright co-dependent?
YourTango Host and Senior VP Melanie Gorman recently sat down with psychologist and couples counselor Dr. Stan Tatkin; premarital, marital and infidelity recovery counselor Jim Walkup; couple therapist and author Colene Sawyer Schlaepfer; and individual and relational recovery therapist Argie Spuck. She asked them to help clarify the line between healthy giving and when that tips over into "too much" territory.
The Experts all agree — Giving to your partner with an open heart is a beautiful gesture of love.
"My husband has healed me in so many ways," says Colene Sawyer Schlaepfer, "by just being admiring and sweet and giving to me ... It's a wonderful, wonderful thing to [have] that give and take."
Argie Spuck agrees, with a caveat — "If you're not neglecting yourself, being generous to your partner is a beautiful thing."
In the video above, the Experts discuss:
- Whether your partner even wants you doing all of these things for them
- Signs you're gestures of "giving" are about your emotional agenda, not your partner's true needs
- Why mutual self-care in a relationship is essential to sustaining a loving partnership
- How knowing your personal attachment type helps balance the give and take exchange
- The importance of assertively speaking up for your own needs in the relationship, too
One crucial thing to remember is that relationships grow and evolve.
Dr. Stan Tatkin says, "Secure, functioning relationships really are two-people psychological systems based on true mutuality. Therefore we agree that we're going to do these things for each other and when we don't, we invoke a phrase like 'I thought this is what we do'."
So, if things between you and your partner feel unfairly balanced, it's not necessarily a sign that your relationship is in trouble. Instead, you and your partner might just need to lovingly adjust your relationship agreements to align with the evolution and growth of the relationship itself.
But what never works is keeping score.
So, watch the video above to hear the brilliant advice our Experts shared on this topic to ensure resentment doesn't take hold in your marriage.
And if your relationship still feels out of balance, or you need help renegotiating those spoken or unspoken agreements you have with your partner, reach out to one of our Experts on the panel. They'd be happy to help you bring your relationship into happy "give and take" alignment again.