Putting Your Lover First...THE HOW
By this point, you may be thinking that there is some validity to this "putting your partner first thing," but perhaps putting this into action and literally making your partner your number one is still a tough pill to swallow?
That's ok. Putting your partner first begins as a state of mind. The manifestation or action of putting your partner first is a process.
It starts with baby steps. So today I will share with you some strategies and examples for HOW you can begin to put your partner first. We will go through an example of putting your lover first in the three big areas we've covered...kids, work and family of origin.
The Kids and The Work
The other day, one of my private coaching clients said to me "but when my 3 year old is melting down, I just don't see how I would put my husband first at that time."
Here's the thing:
Your ATTENTION is not the same as your INTENTION
What does that mean? Your ATTENTION goes wherever your attention goes in the moment. But the way you live your life, your INTENTION, is that your partner is your number one...and you are their number one! There are always going to be things that need your ATTENTION - kids, work, projects, pets, family members, community...that is life.
Your INTENTION is whether you come from the place that my partner is my number one, or my partner is further down on my list.
When you live with the intention, that my partner is my number one, then everything you do in life comes from that place of putting them first. They no longer feel like they need to COMPETE with the things that get your ATTENTION, because they know that in the end, they are your INTENTION.
I'll give you an example.
In the early days when Paul and I were dating, Paul used to work a crazy amount of hours. And there was no doubt in my mind, that I was NOT his number one. Work definitely came first for him. I was always competing with his work for his attention and looking for times when maybe he would choose me over work. It was often a point of contention for us.
Today, Paul's business is very demanding, and it often requires a lot of his time. But there is NO QUESTION in my mind, heart and soul that I am Paul's number one….bar none!
In a heartbeat, if he had to choose between me and work, there's not even a question...it couldn't possibly be anything but me.
Of course, I would never ask him to do that, because Paul is my number one, and I put him first. And part of my putting Paul first is that I completely understand what Paul's dreams and goals are. And with my whole heart, I want him to do everything possible to achieve those goals and live his dream….and the work that he does today is a part of that.
So today when Paul needs to do stuff for work, even if I feel like "playing" at that time, I don't ever feel like he's choosing work over me. He's just living out the decisions we made together. He's giving his attention to what we chose intentionally together. And I want that for him.
And the same goes for Paul with the work that I do. If the day comes that either one of us has a change of heart over what we are "doing" with our time, then changes would be made. Because we put each other and our relationship first.
Putting your lover first is who you are BEING in life. Where your attention goes is what you are DOING. A great man once told me, you are a human BEING, not a human DOING.
Often, what you are DOING will "look" very different than who you are BEING.
For example, last year Paul and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. When we first got married, we had always said that for our 10th wedding anniversary we would go back to the Caribbean Resort where we got married and celebrate. Well, due to many different schedules coming together, last year turned out to be the first year we could take our kids to Disney World. And the only month we could go was the same month as our anniversary.
Paul and I talked about it. We felt that an anniversary number was just a number, and celebrating in year 12 or 15 would be just as awesome. We both felt that no vacation or anniversary could ever be more important to us than our kids’ first trip to Disney World. I think the conversation lasted all of 6 minutes.
Notice, I do not put the kids before Paul, and Paul does not put the kids before me. Together we made the decision that our kids first trip to Disney was way more important to us than what number anniversary it happened to be.
From the outside, if you look at just the "DOING", it appears that Paul and I put our kids before our marriage celebration. But when you look who we are BEING, our intention, you see that we put our relationship and each other first...and made a decision from that place.
The Family and The Friends
When it comes to your family of origin, extended family and even friends, the easiest way to begin putting your partner first is simply to do just that….put them first.
If your mom, dad or sibling asks you to do something that you know your spouse would prefer you not do, then you must lovingly say no. Remember, saying no to another person is also saying YES to your relationship and your partner.
One of the most common challenges that I hear from my private clients is that they don't want to say "no" to someone, disappoint them or "rock the boat."
Listen sweetie, if you think for one second that saying YES to others, when you KNOW that it's not what your partner wants is avoiding conflict, you are just deluding yourself!
Every time you put someone else before your partner, you send the message to your partner that they are not your number one. In that moment, you are saying a big fat "NO" to your partner, you are disappointing them, and you are ROCKING the biggest boat in your world….your marriage!
Here are four common reasons why people will avoid conflict with others, and not avoid it with their intimate partner:
1. They think they can get away with more when it comes to their partner (they are both vested)
2. They are already in "trouble" with their partner, so they might as well take the easy road
3. They don't want to damage another relationship in their life or lose face with others
4. Especially if they have challenges with their partner, they want to be a hero or a "nice person" in someone's eyes
I'm just going to give it to you straight. I spend a good portion of my week helping couples Rescue their Relationship to either avoid divorce or prepare to happily co-parent as they move on.
I'm pretty confident that every single one of my private Relationship Rescue clients would tell you to GO AHEAD and disappoint your mom, tell your dad "no thanks", say no to that old friend who called and send a gift to your cousin instead of saying yes to that out of town wedding on your wife's birthday weekend.
Put your partner first NOW. Because your mom, your dad, your siblings, your extended family and your friends….they won't dedicate 24/7 to you until you are 100 years old. And one day, you don't want to turn to them for comfort over your failing relationship and hear them say "I can't right now, my spouse needs me."
So, where are you now?
The greatest evidence of whether your partner IS your number one right now, and the only evidence that matters, is how your partner feels.
When your partner knows that they are your number one, without a doubt, then it doesn't matter where your attention goes - kids, work, family, etc. They aren't competing with those things in your life, because they know that they are number one in your life...and you for them!
Bottom line….if kids, work, other family members, friends or anything else comes before your partner, then by definition you do not have an unshakable love. The only way to create an UNshakable love is for the two of you to BE UNSHAKABLE...united together and NOT divisible by anyone or anything.
Just imagine for a moment, that you are your partner's number ONE. For the rest of your days together, you will be more important to them than anything in the world. How special do you feel? How amazing does that feel? How much confidence does that fill you with? How much more power, energy and vitality do you imagine you would feel...stepping out into each day knowing that you are the most important thing in your partner's universe?
There's an old saying…"You have to give it to get it."
So, when would NOW be a good time to start making your partner YOUR number one...and showing it!
P.S. We go into a really deep dive on this topic in our Relationship Transformation Program. If you are looking for more on this, so you can integrate this into your own life, to create your unshakable love and unleashed passion, check out our Eight Step Relationship Transformation Program Here.