In this week’s Dear Alisa column, she speaks heart-to-heart with a woman who’s partner doesn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, anniversaries… anything.
My partner doesn’t celebrate birthdays or anniversaries, he doesn’t feel it’s necessary. I’ve explained to him so many times over the years, that I want to celebrate these things and I want him to celebrate with me because it makes me feel good. Even though I’ve told him it makes me feel bad when he doesn’t acknowledge our anniversary or my birthday, not even a card let alone a gift or taking me out, but what makes me feel special is the thought behind those things, he still doesn’t do anything different even though he knows it makes me feel loved. How do I get him to understand that it’s not about gifts, but the thoughtfulness of doing something special is what I want and how do I get him to change?
This topic has come up frequently with me in the last few weeks, so know that you are not alone in this situation. We all have specific ways that resonate with us as feeling loved and appreciated. Some people need physical affection, others need to hear it verbally, some feel loved when their partner completes tasks for them, and some feel loved by receiving gifts. Usually one of these areas resonates more than the others and we are all different in the ways we feel loved.
There is a fabulous book about this called, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, where he explains that we can more easily create loving relationships once we understand the main way our partner feels loved. For example, I personally resonate with physical affection and words of affirmation as the actions that make me feel loved by my partner. Receiving gifts or acts of service are always appreciated and thoughtful, but they don’t make me feel valued in the way that physical touch and verbal sharing do.
Once we know how our partners most resonate with feeling valued, we can consciously put focus towards that, which is more productive and conducive to creating and maintaining that loving bond with each other as well as minimizing areas where we may be putting more energy without having a meaningful effect.
Let’s say that your partner feels like they are constantly doing things for you to take care of you, or they frequently give you gifts, but you’re still fighting because you don’t feel valued by them. You do recognize the things they are doing and they feel like they’re doing so much to show you that they love you, so they’re confused as to why there is an issue. If your partner knew that by being more physically affectionate, you would feel immensely loved and appreciated, and that that is the way you interpret being loved, they can then put their energy into being more affectionate instead of the things they were doing that they thought should make you feel loved. And vice versa, they’re extremely affectionate and verbally praising/adoring, but little gifts are what make you feel most loved.
The flip side to this coin is you have a great relationship, feel loved and appreciated, but it’s really that you want acknowledgment on your birthday, anniversary, etc., because those things are important and valuable to you. That you would appreciate their thoughtfulness around these celebrations, because they know it means something special to you, but they still aren’t acknowledging that expression.
You can decide just how important it is, is it a total deal breaker? Or can you accept that this is just part of who they are—you’re not going to try to change it or be disappointed by it, but instead you’re going to continue to celebrate the things you take joy in and you don’t have an expectation for them to feel the same.
This act of self love, following your joy, and creating what is meaningful to you, is up to you and no one else. Anything that happens outside of that is just a bonus! Just more to be grateful for when you’re already fulfilling your own heart’s desires!
Buy the birthday present you want and don’t wait for anyone else to, create the special anniversary you want and don’t take it personal that someone else didn’t do it for you. You are the master creator of all that brings love and joy into your life, if your partner can join you without the expectation that they have to do it for you, you’ve now created a scenario of experiencing what you love and have released the attachment to any disappointment that it needs to come from someone else to be meaningful to you.
Celebrate to your heart’s fullest capacity and do it for your own heart. You will find that you’ve released the need to expect it from your partner in the specific ways you desire it, because you are fulfilling that need!
Cheers to your heart’s party!
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