Curiosity & Love
A greatly underutilized relationship tool: Curiosity.
When relationships start there is this intense fascination. Who are you? Who is this person that could be so attractive, so inspiring, so loving? What would it look like to have a life with them? On the receiving end this inquiry feels amazing. Seeing shining eyes eating up every word as we share our fears, triumphs, dreams, silly stories, daily mishaps, deepest passions, and joy is incredible.
Then something very loving happens. All this knowledge begins to accumulate. We learn stories and preferences, fears and hopes, and we lovingly show our partner we have been listening. There is this beautiful transition from “who is this person I love” to “I see you, I know you, and I love you.” We finish sentences. We pick out the right food with all their quarks in mind. We offer compassionate advice without a single word needing to be spoken. It’s beautiful.
BUT it also feels great to be on the receiving end of so much curiosity. Ones curiosity in us helps us discover ourselves, it can be in it of itself inspiring, and it just feels good.
When curiosity is gone it can feel stifling. We can feel like we need to work against our partners preconceived notions to grow, even if we planted those notions in the first place. That “I know you” becomes a prison in spite of the the beautiful offering of love and support by which it was created and intended.
We must alwasy bring curiosity in, and weave her though the entirety of our relationships. If you have heard a story a million times start listing to the changes in how it’s being told. These changes will speak volumes to how your partner is growing and changing too. There is a complex and dynamic person before you, have fun with the ride.
Check in to see if what has been supportive in the past is still supportive. Actively look for the areas in their life where they are growing and developing. Stay curious, stay interested, and remember that the feeling of being “understood” can come in addition to our curiosity, but should not replace it.
Curiosity in Disagreements
Perhaps the most important time in a relationship to cultivate wonder and curiosity can be in the context of a disagreement. How often do we only listen for our next opportunity to point out why we are right? Even if you are convinced you are right, there is still so much to discover here. What experiences have they had that are important to them surrounding the subject, do their beliefs mean more to them than meets the eye, is there more to the story for them, do they relate differently to the subject on hand then you do? How can you best explain things to them in a way where they feel loved and respected? By not accepting your first argument, how can they show you how to better understand your own beliefs and be able to communicate that which is important to you?
Curiosity in Love
Loving is an art. Mastery is not singular; rather, it is a evolving narrative that grows with us. Each and every one of us thrives under different forms of love and support. Within us this changes over time. How can you be more loving to those in your life and in partnership? Like a painter, don’t assume your first shot is the best you can do. Instead, take pride and joy in discovering an infinite cascade of new ways to show your love.
Is there a way you can greet your lover when they come home that brings a larger smile? Is there a way that you can help them feel more supported when having a tough day? What helps them relax? How are these answers evolving and changing as both of you do?