Characteristic #12 of a Healthy Relationship

12. Both talk and demonstrate care and concern for each other.

Disclaimer: I am not a relationship expert, doctor, or counselor. This is a review of a class I took in college. Please read the series introduction for further background.

If you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s almost a given that you care deeply for that person and are concerned about their well-being and happiness. After all, that is why we are in a relationship, right?

This characteristic is what deep companionship means to me–having a deep relationship that is not only based on trust and honesty, but also knowing that there is someone that cares for you and is concerned about your happiness and safety. We can say that we feel this for the other person all day long, but do we act like it in a way that demonstrates it to the other person?

It actually worked out that I held out on this post for as long as I did, because a great example of this happened to me just last night actually. My boyfriend and I were at a restaurant in my neighborhood where we frequent almost every week for trivia. We are there so much, and sometimes even bring Cal, that we have made some friends and now have formed a trivia team with them. Both couples are all attorneys so naturally, they fit the stereotype of being loud, argumentative, and never wrong. One of the questions that we got wrong last time we were all together for trivia was a true or false question, and it supposedly cost us placing third overall that evening.

Magic Johnson is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame.

If you know my boyfriend, you know that he is, in a word, obsessed with all-things basketball. He lives and breathes by that game and knows every team, every coach, and every player by heart. So of course he knew the answer to this question right off the bat. “False! There is no NBA hall of fame.”

Well, it turned out that the host had a different answer in mind. True, he is a member of this alleged “NBA Hall of Fame.” So, last night, he started talking about it with one of the lawyers, trying to explain that there is one hall of fame for basketball and that is the Naismith Hall of Fame. It’s basketball as a whole–no separate “halls” for NCAA or NBA… they are all together. So yes, Magic Johnson is in the Naismith, but not the “NBA Hall” because that doesn’t exist. He pulled out documentation on his phone and had her read it and she was absolutely adamant that there was an NBA hall of fame and that he was wrong. She wouldn’t listen to him and kept shooting down everything he said. I could see the frustration on his face and read his body language, and I felt like he was upset with her not wanting to listen or even say something unheard of, like “you’re right, I agree with you.” My heart sank for Ryan as he gave up on trying to convince her. I told him that I of course believed him and agreed that the question was poorly worded.

After we left, I told him that it upsets me to see him feel upset, or defeated even. If he is upset, I am upset because I care deeply for him. He told me not to be upset because he didn’t care about it, but it was more of a situation of a strong-willed girl (and attorney) not wanting to back down and admit she’s wrong. He said he didn’t take it personally, but I certainly did because I could see it on his face. Maybe it’s different for men since they don’t internalize as we do as women, but I certainly felt hurt last night and I didn’t even add one word to the conversation.

How do you demonstrate care and concern for your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend?

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