She steps out of the fitting room, still fidgeting with the dress. He can see the question on her face before she says anything.
“How does it look?” she asks.
They’ve been at it for more than an hour, trying to find the perfect dress for the party. He’s having a hard time telling one from another. And, honestly, he thinks this one looks as good as the last three. He tells her so.
“Looks great,” he says without hesitation.
She turns away from him and looks herself over in the full-length mirror.
“I don’t know,” she says. “I think I’ll keep looking.”
He sighs, and the shopping expedition continues.
The above scenario is a common one. So much so that researchers from the University of Arizona used this very example to describe their findings in a recent article. “…men cooperate to avoid conflict,” the article states. “Women, meanwhile, tend to serve as ‘emotional regulators’ during cooperation and try to get at the root of a problem rather than brush it off.”
In other words, he’s agreeing so they can both move on. He’s really saying, “This dress will work just fine—now, let’s go do something else.” But she’d rather make sure she’s found the best possible solution. She’s saying, “I’m not completely satisfied. Let’s explore this further.”
Is any of this familiar?
You’ve heard it your whole life: Knowledge is power. This simple phrase is so deeply ingrained in us that we don’t question it. Why would we? It’s one of those things practically everyone accepts as fact.
There’s just one problem. It isn’t true.
Knowledge isn’t power. Knowledge is potential power. Or, to quote Dale Carnegie, “Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.” The difference is profound.
Consider this common example. You’re in the middle of a disagreement with your partner. It’s frustrating, tense and uncomfortable. You’re certain your perspective is right, and he’s certain his is.
The two of you push and pull, dragging the conflict out. But, at some point during the fight, you see clearly how silly it is. Like most arguments between couples, it wouldn’t even be that hard to stop. One of you just needs to validate the other’s point of view. You could do it, but you won’t get the satisfaction of feeling like you won.
At that moment, you have knowledge. You know how to stop the conflict. However, that knowledge isn’t power because you haven’t put it into action yet.
The real power of love…well, if you’ve ever experienced it, I don’t need to explain. Inside, it can feel like you have discovered a well of eternal joy.
Giving expression to that love can feel like the purpose of your life. You feel a powerful desire to actively love. It’s selfless and pure.
But how do you express love of this intensity without giving him relationship vertigo? No matter how powerful the feeling inside, you can never fully express it in the pure form you find within.
I saw this quote on Pinterest and it made me think of some of my relationship coaching clients:
“I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, “I love you,” repeatedly while they struggle to break free.”
How can you express your passion without overwhelming your man or causing him to question your sanity?
Here are a few ideas I’ve picked up from various people over the years. There are many more, but these are a few I like in particular.
Kristen believes her soulmate is out there. She’s attractive and engaging, so she gets asked out fairly often. Unfortunately, her relationships rarely last beyond the third or fourth date.
When asked why that is, she says, “I only date a guy if I have a special feeling about him. I don’t want to waste my time with a guy unless that magic connection is really strong.”
She goes on to explain that three or four dates is about how long it takes to see if a guy is what she envisions her soulmate to be. If there are any feelings that he does not get her on an intuitive level, she moves on.
Like Kristen, I love the idea that each of us is destined to find a soulmate. It’s romantic. Unfortunately, it can also make finding the right partner harder than it needs to be. In fact, research has shown that a strong belief in destiny can actually wreak havoc on romance.