Tuesday, November 9, 2010


In theory, if your home was too cold, there would be two primary ways to create a warmer temperature.  The first would be to shore up the cracks.  You'd walk around the house making sure the windows were tightly closed; you'd check the weather-stripping, the insulations in the attic, and any cracks in the walls, around the edges of doors, and so forth.  In doing so, you'd keep additional outside cold air from entering the house.  The other, more direct (and more quicker) approach would be to simply turn up the heat.  BINGO - in a matter of a few minutes, your home would be warm and cozy - irrespective of any tiny cracks.

You can easily extend this metaphor to your relationship.  You can attempt to create warmth and closeness by fixing everything that's wrong.  Theoretically, if you were able to mend each issue and repair every imperfection, you'd have one terrific relationship filled with warmth and love.

But like heating a home, a more direcct (and more effective) approach would be to (metaphorically) turn up the heat.  In a practical sense, this means that you ignite every warmth indicator you can possibly think of.  You become kinder and more generous, and you start dishing out more compliments.  You become less critical, stubborn, and judgmental.  Instead of being irritated, you practice patience and forgiveness.  You begin to use more eye contact and better listening skills.  You choose being kind over being right, and you put the needs of your partner before your own.  You say and do the things that you used to say and do when you first met.  In short, you do anything and everything that is associated with loving behavior.  If you turn up the heat in this way, your relationship will blossom despite the fact that there are tiny flaws.  In fact, with enough warmth, most flaws and imperfections will work themselves out without much involvement or efffort.

As obvious as this is (when you actually sit down and think about it), it's almost never done.  Most of the time the other approach is taken - trying to fix deficiencies.  Frequently, people will say, "I can't turn up the heat until certain conditions are met, until he or she begins to change."  The problem is, the type of change you're looking for is almost impossible in the absence of enough heat.  It's putting the cart before the horse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's so true! Thank you for reminding me of that. I am a Fixer, and I frequently go through trying to fix all the tiny things, and often drive myself crazy when things don't work out like I hoped they would.
And I wonder if us Fixers cause more cold drafts than we fix! :P