Lots of times when we use the word loyal it applies to our pets. Dogs usually give us a ton of unconditional love and affection just because we provide them with food, shelter and attention. Our Labrador can’t wait for either of us to come home anytime day or night. She’s always there with a smile on her face and entire butt wagging with abandon! That is loyalty on four legs. You can also train a dog to come you when call them but loyalty is more automatic.
Loyalty could also be demonstrated in the brave Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis just snowboarded in her fourth Winter Olympics. She is amazingly loyal to her sport and to the love of the competition. Lindsey also spends many hours each week training for the opportunities that she enjoys at competitions all over the world.
So what does Loyalty vs. Training Look Like in Marriage?
- Success of your partner is a path to individual success
- Trusting one another
- Assuming that your partner has your back
- Sharing accountability for decisions and actions
- Knowledge and emotional understanding is mutually beneficial
- Raising concerns (hurts and disappointments) directly with your partner
- Helping them be the best version of themselves
- Letting your spouse “win” so you can be associated with the same success
- Always being honest and doing what you say you will
- Praising your spouse in front of others
- When things don’t go as planned, re-evaluating to see how they could have gone better After Action Review.
- Share important information Work-Talk and Heart-Talk with your spouse
- Try a Soft Start to a hard or difficult conversation. Think about starting a phrase “Hey Babe, can we talk?” vs “You always….”. This helps keep your partner off the defensive. “You always…” would be a “Harsh Start up.”
- Always look for the good and let them know when you see it – TELL THEM!
Loyalty vs. Training
When you compare the two lists above, you’ll see this isn’t an either/or choice. Really, Training and Loyalty are action and response to one another. I like to refer to this as the Training Loyalty Continuum. It’s the actions that lead to unswerving faithfulness in a relationship. With training (action) we build loyalty (response) with those people we value most.
The actions of training that lead to loyalty continue in this circular motion which create an amazing synergy and bring a couple closer and closer together. The better you feel about this relationship the more likely you are to continue to use the Training Loyalty Continuum.
When this continuum is broken then it takes MUCH MORE EFFORT to regain the loyalty that was established in the first place. So what do I mean by broken?
What Breaks Loyalty?
- Too much time and attention to work, hobby, money, kids (all good things just not the most important things).
- Lying – Trust between you and your spouse can be one of the hardest relationship characteristics to rebuild.
- Looking out for yourself and leaving your spouse to fend for themselves.
- Keeping important information to yourself.
- Gossiping about your spouse.
- Constantly pointing out what they are doing wrong.
- Creating fear and uncertainty (the opposite of love).
- Assuming negative intent. (A lack of generosity)
The list could go on but you get the picture. Any of these actions will break down the loyalty you and your spouse have built. Combine two or more together and you have the unwelcomed opportunity for some really hard work if you want to regain a Training Loyalty Continuum.
The better answer is to be mindful of your actions. Every action comes with a cost. The basic cost is always time, since it takes time to do things. The bigger cost is the joy and connection or pain and separation we experience as the results of our actions. Every action has a consequence. Be mindful of the consequence of your actions. They directly impact you and those around you, especially your spouse.
What one training item could you practice this week to see how it impacts your relationship?
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