Is Your Love Taken for Granted?

Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by in Guest Posts: Relationships

Bob Quinlan 1-21-11 §          A lady once barked at me for opening her door, yelling, “I can open my own door!” This simple act of courtesy, and attempted chivalry, was not appreciated. Rather, it was condemned.

Believe me. I wasn’t trying to imply that she couldn’t open the door, that I was physically stronger, or that she didn’t deserve to make as much money as me for doing the same job. I was just trying to be nice but was emotionally slapped for being kind. Do you think what she did encouraged or discouraged this sort of civilized behavior?

Let me tell you, I was determined not to let this angry, insecure, or over-compensating woman deter me from being a gentleman. I still walk to the outside of the sidewalk when I’m with my wife. I still refer to her as My Queen. Our sons have learned to stand when a lady arrives at or leaves the table. These kindnesses are appreciated by M’ Lady. She enjoys the kindnesses I share and recognizes that they are not a matter of control or superiority, but of caring and showing appreciation for all of the kindnesses she gives. She rewards my gestures, which encourages me to repeat these behaviors.

Our society has changed dramatically. Perhaps much of the gender confusion stems from the fact that women are starting to become the kind of men that they used to want to marry. And maybe some women consider men to be expendable. After all, women are not being protected in the safety of their fortified castles, anymore, and most households have women working outside of the home.

I have written a book, Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love. It is quite different from other relationship books. That is because it uses basic business principles and terminology understood by both women and men—who are seen as equals in relationships as well as in business.

Yes, you read that right—men can understand romance! Sometimes we treat our clients and co-workers better than we treat our personal partners. But just as we cannot successfully take our clients’ business for granted we cannot take our loving relationships for granted and still be successful in love. Anything taken for granted, including love, is vulnerable.

The point is that you can have more love in your life—if you deserve to have more love in your life—and you can empower yourself to receive it. But just as you must earn your rewards in business, you must earn your rewards in your personal relationships. Obviously, the more you fill your customers’ needs, the more of their business you will receive. But sometimes we overlook the fact that the more you fill your loved one’s needs, the more of his or her love you will receive.

In Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love, I focus on three primary principles:

  • Love is an investment from which you are entitled to receive a fair and reasonable return—no more, no less. When you invest the behaviors necessary to earn the rewards, you empower yourself.
  • Once you demonstrate the necessary behaviors, you earn a return on your investment. This will make you more valuable to your partner and s/he will reward you, partly to motivate you to meet her or his future needs. This will encourage you to reinvest in your partner—actions he or she will find to be self-empowering.
  • The quality of the reward will be directly related to the quality of the investment. If you give less, you are allowed to receive less in return. The more you give, the more you are permitted to receive. You empower your partnership.

 Love is earned logically. List some one-word synonyms or components of love, such as acceptance or respect. Did you think of caring, affection, passion, or devotion? Aren’t each of these earned or unearned? Isn’t acceptance earned or unearned? Doesn’t unconditional respect even sound absurd? If each of the components of love can be earned or un-earned, then their collective sum, love, can also be earned or un-earned. Love is earned logically. 

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as unconditional love. It is a very nice goal that we can all strive to achieve. But do you know anybody who practices truly unconditional love without getting anything at all in return? Love is so deep and involved that it requires some kind of feedback, reward, or nourishment to continue. Love does not exist regardless of its circumstances. Love may lead to reciprocation, self-satisfaction, respect from others, good karma, or a place in heaven. Love is not humanly unconditional in the long term.

Unconditional love implies that love will happen unconditionally—regardless of any conditions. It suggests that you are completely powerless regarding love. You are not that vulnerable. Once you accept that you can influence your feelings, you empower yourself. You cannot control love, but you can motivate others to want to love you. Likewise, you can motivate others to love you less. Love can be enhanced or reduced; love can be earned or unearned.

The acceptance that there is no such thing as unconditional love is extremely empowering. Once you make love a priority in your life, you can choose to demonstrate behaviors to earn more love and its many rewards. Acknowledging this principle allows you to decide whether you get a little bit of love in your life or a lot of love in your life. The choice is yours.

Once upon a time, you earned your partner’s love and commitment. Selling him or her was the easier part. The real challenge is to repeatedly re-sell to your partner, service him or her properly, to confirm your partner’s decisions to stay involved with you.

So, ask yourself: What have you done lately to re-earn your partner’s love? How are you motivating him or her to want to meet your needs?

 Which perspective do you honestly feel will bring more love into your life: a) There is unconditional love and I will be loved no matter what I do or don’t do, or b) there is no such thing as unconditional love. It is up to me to earn it. 

The choice is yours. The question is: What will you do to earn it?

Bob Quinlan is the author of newly released (6/10) Earn It: Empower Yourself For Love. Nine years of providing psychiatric nursing, combined with twenty years of medical sales experience, demonstrated to Bob that there are many similarities between personal and professional relationships. Earn It uniquely uses basic business principles and terminology to provide a common understanding of relationships for women and men. If you want to learn to maximize your relationships at work and home, get the book!

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4 Responses to “Is Your Love Taken for Granted?”

  1. Holly Henderson 29 January 2011 at 10:19 AM #

    Wow, you really get it. I’m going to have my boyfriend read this. He say that if he texts me once in a while that’s all he’s got to do.

    • Dr. Billy Kidd 30 January 2011 at 11:24 PM #

      Oh, geez. I’ve heard this before. In fact, a therapist was telling me that same thing a couple days ago. Her young adult clients talk about the tuned-out texters. But people also tell me that they can say things in a text they can’t say very well when face-to-face with their partner. So it goes both ways. But yes–get Bob’s book and let your boyfriend read it.

      –Dr Billy

  2. Michael 30 January 2011 at 12:42 AM #

    Excellent reading.

    Your post grabbed my attention right away. While I’ve never had a woman snap at me for holding a door, I have received disgusted looks and many women pass right on by without even the smallest gratitude. It doesn’t change my approach. I still hold doors as a courtesy. I even do so for my daughters.

    Interesting note. My daughters once told me they saw a man hold a door for a woman, she breezed by him and he sought out approval, which elicited a cursing from her.

    As for earning love, let’s face it, we usually don’t offer it unconditionally forever. As humans we want to know we’re appreciated, valued and served. When you choose to be willing and diligent to giving verbally and with action to your partner the return on investment the vast majority of times is exponentially great. You get back so much more.

    Yes, some people in life will use you and rarely, if ever give back but they are the exception. Divest yourself of them(outside of a devastating physical or mental illness) if the equation is 80-20 or worse. If you can live with 70-30, you are special.

    It is easy to give little gifts of love in words and deeds. Serving others this way will ironically make you feel wonderful yourself.

    Michael Toebe
    http://www.behaviorandrelationships.com

    • Dr. Billy Kidd 30 January 2011 at 11:14 PM #

      Well stated, Michael. You’re right. We usually don’t offer love unconditionally forever. We may feel that way when we’re crazy in love–that we’d do anything so we could be with someone. But that fades and matures to reward love. That’s where we don’t dwell all day on our partner but, rather, feel rewarded to be with him or her. Lots of people don’t get that far. The research shows why: they don’t offer friendship, they avoid their partner during times of stress, and they’re not interested whether their partner achieves his or her life goals. And when it comes to sex its: me me me.

      The other side of the unconditional myth is that we’re supposed to be some sort of guru and love everyone or anyone just because. But let me tell you, even the Dali Lama probably has a bad day, now and again, where he’s not happy with hardly anyone and people have to earn his approval.

      I really appreciate your sharing your ideas, especially the vignette about your daughters.

      –Dr Billy