No, not in bed. I’m talking about a lover in the sense of a person who brings love to a relationship.

Love for this purpose is multi-dimensional. To name a small set of love’s positive attributes, love is about – care, truth, respect, gentleness, commitment, understanding, intimacy, generosity, industry, sincerity, cooperation, communication, responsibility, unselfishness, support, faithfulness, forgiving, reliability, gratefulness, receptivity, and, of course, affection and passion. I’m sure I’ve missed a dozen or more other attributes. True love is a very, very good thing.

A hand holding a yellow pencil filling in a computer checked answer sheet on an examination. Education concept

Objective testing
I’m willing to bet you have not been tested by some “independent laboratory” to determine your lover index quotient. Unlike admissions to college there is no standardized admissions test to be admitted to a relationship.

thinkingSelf-evaluation
Research shows that healthy humans tend to significantly over-rate themselves for attributes that are valued, and the attributes of love fit into that category. People think they are better at driving, friendliness, leadership, healing, etc. than they actually are. We are biased toward ourselves as part of our fundamental self-esteem.  So, we generally believe we are better lovers than we actually are.

75/25 rulebalanced
I heard this one as advice from a dad to his son, the groom, right before his wedding. “If you want to be giving 50/50 to the marriage, give 75% because you will tend to over-rate your contribution and under-rate hers.”  Ah, the joy of wisdom.

The best way to be a great lover is to presume you are not.
avisAnswer the title question “no,” work at loving better, and you are more likely to be a great lover.

“The first duty of love is to listen”      Paul Tillich

If you have read many of our posts, you have figured out that we believe that the foundation of solid dating and relationship success is in giving to your loved one.   Each of us starts our lives and grows up wanting things given to us – a bottle, a toy, a smart phone, a car, whatever.  Kids are selfish.  That’s no criticism.  It’s nature.  As we grow into adults we realize that we are just wasting air if we don’t contribute while we take. We give and we take.  Hopefully, we give more than we take so that the world is better off by our being here.  One powerful way to give that costs us nothing is listening to another person.  Real listening.

students-paying-attention.150610Listening with full attention
I can be good at listening, but often I’m not. I know some pretty good listeners but few who are great at listening with full attention all the time.  It’s human nature for our brains to start processing and thinking about what we’re hearing so that we distract ourselves from our focus on listening.  We are mentally, and often verbally, responding to what we are hearing before the other person is finished speaking.

Active Listening
One old trick to be a better listener is to mimic back what the speaker is saying, to summarize what you heard.  Instead of our brains running down our own rabbit trails, we attempt to stay with the speaker’s trail.  It works because it gives our brain the task that supports listening instead of speaking our response.  This trick also contributes greatly to better communication because, in addition to better listening, it gives the speaker feedback that allows refinement of the thoughts being communicated.

Interrupting
The easiest way to listen better is to stop talking.  Nuf said.

If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.”  Mark Twain.

Win Friends and Influence People
My biggest take-away from Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book is that people find good listeners to be fascinating, interesting people. Why? Because everyone wants to be heard and appreciated, and listeners achieve that and create a bond with the speaker.

Listen with your eyescouple-having-conversation
Watch the speaker and you will pick up all the non-verbal communication that is often more important than the words being uttered.  Also, the speaker will know you are paying attention, and it will help you keep your mind from being distracted.  If you are looking at your phone or TV while listening, you give the message that what the person is saying is no more important than your other distractions.  Not good.

Use your memory (or forget it)
When I hear something that stimulates a strong idea in my brain, like when I disagree, I have a tendency to jump into the conversation.  What if instead I held the thought for later or just let it go?   What would I lose? Is it really so important for me to blurt out my thoughts?

listen2Get Smarter
You learn a lot more listening than you do talking.

Listening is loving
When you listen well you are communicating a powerful message.  You are telling the speaker that what they have to say is valuable to you.  Most of us don’t get a lot of that.  Listening should be appreciated.

Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love
             Jefferson Airplane

giveloveIt is in our nature to want to be loved.  We want it, we need it, we love it, we try to find it. There is no confusion about that.  It is the clear, yet often unspoken, drive behind dating.

Oddly, we don’t generally recognize a similarly strong desire to participate in the active side of loving, the powerful need to love.

The Joy of LovingAunt Joan
Take a minute and think about the most loving people who you know personally.  I bet they are not unhappy people.  I think of my Aunt Joan. The church at her funeral was overflowing with appreciative recipients of her love, and I can only remember her with a smile on her face. Giving love creates joy in both the giver and receiver.

Mutual Love Giving
Now imagine your relationship with the person with whom you share the desire to give your love more and more every day. Your joy in the relationship comes from the other’s joy, and your loved one feels the same way about you! It’s like a snowball rolling downhill and gathering mass.  You love more, so they love more, so you love more, so they love ….  It happens.  And it can happen to you.

xmas2Mature Loving
How old were you when you noticed that receiving Christmas presents wasn’t as much fun as giving them?  Kids are all gimme gimme. Nothing pleases a parent more than seeing their kid light up with happiness when opening the well-chosen present.  It’s the same with love when we learned that the giving is the best part. ( We all need to be good receivers too.  When the other gives love, take it in with gratitude)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make             The Beatles