Now you know what your love style is, and what growth looks like for that style. As you move away from your unhealthy love style and work toward a secure connection, it’s easy to become discouraged or wonder how successful you are due to the shifting, organic nature of relationships.
Our first book, How We Love, and the workbook found in the back of the paperback version, will prove to be invaluable tools during this time. In addition, use the following list of traits as a way to keep perspective on your journey — rate yourself now, and then rate yourself again in six months to a year to see your progress.
Using a spare sheet of paper, rate yourself on each question from 1-5
[ 1 = no/rarely, 5 = always/often ]
- I experience relationships as a source of relief and when I am stressed I seek help, comfort, support, or wisdom from a person rather than a thing (addictions being the most common replacement.)
- I can ask for help when I am unsure of myself.
- I can list eight feelings I experience on a regular basis.
- I can identify and articulate these feelings with my spouse and kids.
- I use my feelings to identify my needs, and communicate these needs by asking directly rather than hoping someone will guess correctly.
- I understand my childhood history, so I am aware when the past is influencing my present feelings and causing me to overreact.
- I can name five strengths I possess in my character and talents, along with three weaknesses.
- I can make a mistake and recover quickly.
- I can find the middle ground in life versus being an eternal optimistic or constant pessimist.
- I can delay gratification and wait for something I want.
- I am aware of how my mate behaves when feeling stressed and can take measures to bring them relief.
- I can admit when I am wrong and apologize without excuses or blaming others for my actions.
- I can accept criticism, and thoughtfully consider feedback.
- I am a good listener and know how to ask thoughtful questions.
- I have experienced the connection and closeness that results when a conflict is resolved.
- I can say “no,” and draw boundaries even when it makes someone mad.
- I know how to process my anger, identifying and communicating the more vulnerable feelings underneath the felt anger.
- I can control my level of reaction so I am able to stay engaged in difficult conversations.
- I am comfortable with reality and don’t minimize problems.
- I can keep listening and explore other’s feelings, experiences, and point of view, even when I disagree with them.
- I can ask to be held or hugged when I need comfort.
- I am not afraid of conflict because I have the skills to negotiate, compromise, and resolve most conflicts.
- I don’t hold on to resentment and am able to forgive my spouse.
- I have a relationship with God, as well as close friends, and don’t expect my spouse to meet my every need.
- I have compassion for my spouse in their areas of weakness because I understand their childhood wounds that contributed to those areas of struggle.
- I don’t have secrets I am keeping from my mate.
- I can ask for a “do-over” and try again when I blow it with my mate.
If you feel particularly courageous, ask your spouse or kids to rate you in these
areas. When a family member takes the first step to “own their issues,” other family members will become less defensive and more open to change. By demonstrating change and growth in your own life, family members will soften even more. Evaluate and admit your own shortcomings, then others won’t have to take that role.