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The Eternal Dilemma of Relationships: Actions VS Words

The Eternal Dilemma of Relationships: Actions VS Words

What would you rather have: a partner who nags you within an inch of your grave but always takes care of you, or a partner who is sweet as honey but hangs about waiting for you to handle everything?

Whispers only sweet nothings plus does everything, you say? Well, I applaud your optimism while chuckling with mild amusement at your childlike dreams. It’s not going to happen — you will end up with one kind or the other (or someone who both shouts and does nothing, if you are one of those particularly unlucky ones). People who will do the world for you while also remaining easy on the ears do not exist. If they do, they become Mother Teresa and avoid the dating scene altogether.

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The Greater the Actions, the Louder the Words

Whoever said actions speak louder than words missed an essential point — it is not an either/or scenario at all. Actions in relationships mostly come with the “and” of words. The ones who are quick to do things for you are also quick to talk your ears off. It is so naturally human that it cannot be avoided.

The more a person cares about you and does for you, the more they expect from you and of you. Actions come with expectations, and these expectations get expressed in words (or shouts if they go repeatedly unmet!). So, if your partner is in charge of cooking dinner and you show up late two nights in a row, rest assured there will be hell to pay the third night — “I’m making the effort to cook and you cannot make the effort to just show up?”. If they have taken over your laundry, you will surely hear about your dirty clothes strewn all over instead of being in the hamper. If they threw you a huge birthday bash and you don’t have any plans for their birthday, well, you are playing with fire my friend!

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While we keep complaining about how much our partners nag us, the fact is that it’s pretty much collateral damage – if you want the care, you have to accept the nagging.

Conversely, the ones who are always quietly pleasant (if they even exist) will just not be that emotionally invested in you — they will not do so much. It’s quite simple, really: lesser the actions, lesser the words. If they don’t do as much in the first place, they will not expect as much from you. If they don’t expect as much, they don’t say so much. That’s probably the reason why relationships that afford both partners a lot of space also work – if no one is waiting for you at home, you don’t get yelled at for coming home late.

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So, is it “Goodbye Meaningful Relationships” or “Goodbye Ears?”

Well, before you place the order for that hearing aid, let me hastily mention that one can, of course, have balance in a relationship. But before that gets figured out, you need to accept the fact that your partner is not Mother Teresa. While we enjoy being taken care of, we need to understand that the expectations, nagging, and parent-like scoldings are a natural outcome of that care. Just the same if your partner is the relaxed one who doesn’t interfere in every little aspect of your life — that will work only as long as you are OK to not have constant care and support.

This is not to say that one or the other is right; it is more about what fits better for two people. You can’t always see the love in the nagging. Sometimes you literally just want to pull your arm out and stuff it in your ear. Just the same, while it is very lofty to talk about space and independence in relationships, sometimes you actually need a pseudo parent — the complete package who pampers you like a child and scolds you as if you really are an erring 5 year old.

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The idea is to balance it out while being aware of the actions-words equation. Don’t expect your partner to do everything for you and don’t do everything for them. Sometimes, leave them alone and let them do whatever the hell they want. Yes, the shirt does not exactly match the pants — let him go anyway. Yes, she is binging on those unhealthy cookies today — turn away!

Use this time to let go, be the cool one, and enjoy the calm and quiet (while it lasts). Just the same, if you have been whining like a baby for the last 3 days because of a cold and your partner has that exasperated-yet-concerned look that reminds you of your mother, well, accept your inevitable fate: there is a big bagful of words and only words coming right at you!

So this is the “big” secret to a happy life: next time your ears are tired, do the laundry. In the case that you are tired of laundry, send a little note to your ears to brace themselves and report for duty!

Featured photo credit: http://www.thebrunettediaries.com/ via thebrunettediaries.com

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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