Bonnie walked in looking upset.
Because I had seen her many times over the past few months, I guessed that the source of her concern was her relationship.
She sat down and opened her heart …
She was having issues with her husband Todd.
Todd liked to hang out with the boys, but when she wanted to double date with her friends, he didn’t want to leave the house.
Clients often ask me how they can change their partner.
The answer of course is that you can't change anyone - especially someone who doesn't want to change.
But we can change the relationship - the way we are relating.
How do we do that?
We change ourselves.
If there are two people in a relationship and you change yourself, the relationship changes.
What do you change?
You change how you love.
You change how you love the other person, and how you love yourself.
You may decide to live by the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love?
This rule says that you make your decisions based on what is the most loving choice for everyone concerned.
If you live by the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love, and you are loving someone else at the expense of yourself, you will stop always putting yourself last.
If you live by the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love, and like me, you are a little too selfish sometimes, you start putting the other person first more often.
That's the “Non-Discriminating” part - whoever needs to be a priority comes first, sometimes that may be you, sometimes that may be them.
Bonnie was a strong independent woman, so she told Todd that if he didn’t want to come out with her, she would go out by herself.
I love the sitcom Will & Grace.
Grace is a bit of a diva, but her Mother is an even bigger diva, so Grace relies on her best friend Will to tell her the truth and “keep it real.”
In one episode Grace and her Mother are meeting for lunch, Grace is complaining to her Mother that her current boyfriend isn't paying her enough attention, she feels she is putting in all the work and likens herself to the “relationship gardener.”
Her Mother doesn't really pay any attention and just keeps talking about herself, while Grace tries to get her Mother to listen.
This goes on back and forth, until Will arrives and bluntly informs Grace that she is not the “gardener” but the “rose” – who needs constant love and attention!
In most relationships there's usually one person who loves more and needs more than the other.
Both parties feel this, and that knowledge forms a part of the relationship dynamic - sometimes the rose and the gardener change places depending on their needs and the situation.
In spite of Todd hanging with the boys, Bonnie was the strong independent one, the “rose,” and Todd the sensitive husband who wrote poetry, was the “gardener” who would do just about anything to please his wife.
So whilst Bonnie agreed that she would live by the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love for six weeks, she also had to bear in mind not to hold her position as the “rose” over Todd, and make sure they made decisions about whether to go out or stay in, together.
Bonnie had a quick mouth so during the next six weeks she said she was going to be mindful not to tell Todd “how it is” without considering his feelings.
You should also know that Bonnie had been the “gardener” in previous relationships.
She had loved “too well” without firm boundaries and been taken advantage of, so she had developed a tough exterior, but deep down, beyond her wall and past her defenses, she was just as sensitive as Todd.
Although she gave him a hard time sometimes, she said she was sure that Todd was the “love of her life.”
When Bonnie started to live by the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love she found an amazing thing happening – she began to love and appreciate Todd more, and she also began to love and appreciate herself more.
The next week she burst through the door and with a massive smile said, “I double-booked a client at the dentist today – I'd usually beat myself up about that - but I didn’t put myself down, the client wasn’t worried and we even had a laugh about it together!”
As Bonnie began to get the hang of the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love, her relationship improved outta sight!
She explained it as, “if I feel like going out and it's more compassionate for me to stay in with Todd because he’s had a tough week, we stay in, and I'm happy.
And, if it's more compassionate for me to honor my needs and go out with my friends, I go out, without feeling guilty if he chooses not to come.
But I've discovered that when he doesn't feel like he has to come out, he does more often – sometimes he agrees to pick me up and stays for the last hour or so!”
I think Bonnie would agree that the Rule Of Unconditional, Non-Discriminating Love has revolutionized her relationships.
The Rule says that “you make your decisions based on what is the most loving choice for everyone concerned.”
You can apply this rule in your relationships with your friends, workmates, family and if you're really feeling up to a challenge … how about the in-laws?!
wishing you the best of days!
Harley M Storey
"The Life Coach Toolman!"