Over Easter down at Aireys we spent a few days just the four of us as a family. This is unusual for us, as with two adult children now, they are often doing their own thing. Or, when we are all together, we are lucky enough to have one or both of their partners joining us. However, this weekend we could reminisce about all the family holidays we have had at Aireys, and all the cliff walks with unwilling or willing children in tow, and all the cozy fireside nights.Our conversations ranged from whether Whitecross deserved a game in the Hawthorn team this week, to the mysteries of good relationships. More scope for a good chat in the latter than the former.
Without wanting to stereotype my gender, over the years I have noticed that women can set up little tests for their partners to gauge how much they really care. A common theme in these tests is ‘if you really cared about me, you would understand what makes me happy, and deliver it’ I had a colleague many years ago, who was planning his upcoming honeymoon. He had discussed it with his wife who said ‘surprise me’. His idea of the most romantic honeymoon possible, was the two of them, alone, sailing the Whitsundays in a yacht for a week. It was a disaster. According to his new wife, he had failed the first test of love. If he really cared, he would have understood that she was a five star hotel girl and a week without her hair dryer, using primitive toilets was not her idea of romance.
Some of you may be thinking he wasn’t very observant, however, in fairness, he was working with the only instruction he had been given and put all his mental energy into the surprise. Rather than surprise me, she could have said, surprise me with a five star hotel. There is a mistaken belief among some girls, regardless of their age, that if I tell you what I want, you haven’t passed the love test, because I had to tell you. The love test, is that you guess it perfectly without being given any specific information. I, unfortunately don’t think young, more assertive women, have outgrown this expectation of their male partners.
Being able to ask for what you want, rather than simmering with resentment when someone can’t work it out by themselves, is a habit that I hope my children, male and female will develop in their relationships. I also hope they develop the tools to dispute this expectation if they are being subjected to the guessing game that is the ‘Love Test’
Being aware of the premise behind the Love Test is half the battle. If you can explain to your partner that it is very difficult for someone who has different preferences to put themselves inside someone else’s head, and this does not mean that they love you any less (or yourself, if you’re the one doing the testing) . Instead ‘tell me what works for you, and I’ll remember that when I make decisions,’ should be enough of a demonstration of love.