She said: "I shouldn't have to tell you how to express love to me. You should just know... naturally."
He heard: "I'm a screw-up. I don't know how to love well."
Then he remembered: "I get to choose how her statements land for me."
He re-framed his thoughts: "Ah. Perhaps she struggles expressing clear wants. What's my part in this? What can I own?"
Then he explored: "Well, I can listen intently and affirm her when she does express a want. I can offer her optional choices from time to time and learn about her wants. I can experiment with different kinds of love expressions and see what lands as love for her... time, touch, service, gifts, words... I could find a time when the tension is low and invite her to tell me some stories about when she has felt loved. When her wants were heard. And, I can listen and learn."
Making the shift from "I don't love well" to "I can listen and learn how to take full responsibilty for my part in this relationship" isn't easy. It takes guts. It takes owning MY part... and not owning THEIR part.
What do you think?