Children learn about love by watching their caregivers as they grow. They witness their parents’ relationships with one another and with other people. They see how each person treats each other and how they react. Children who see a parent yell, lie, and become easily angered, learn those behaviors.
Many people strive to have a better relationship than the one that they witnessed as a child. Even though many people say, “I’m going to do things differently,” those patterns are often repeated. If you strive to treat your spouse differently, you need to know how to love differently.
If you aren’t living up to be the partner you had hoped you could be, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or that you are bad at relationships. Instead, it means you need to work on learning some new skills. Perhaps you could benefit from learning some new communication skills. Or maybe some anger management skills could really help your relationship.
Learning how to love is a work in progress for everyone. Just like you will never know everything there is to know about any topic, you’ll never know everything about how to love your partner the best. However, if you envision yourself as a student who is eager to continue learning more, you can strive to learn a little more everyday. If your attitude is such that you want to be a great spouse and you are open minded to try and learn more, you’ll continue learning. Don’t resign to the fact that you just aren’t good at it or that you can’t possibly have a great relationship. Instead, consider yourself a lifelong learner.
There are lots of ways to learn new skills. Observe couples around you to see how they interact. Talk to your partner about what you are good at and what you could work on even more. Talk to your friends and family members about their relationships. Read self-help books on the subject. Consider therapy to help you learn specific skills or if you are having difficulty making progress in mastering them on your own. Keep in mind that when learning anything new, it takes practice.