Staying in Love isn’t easy, especially after years and years of being together. Something Bulls rookie, Bobby Portis said in an interview was inspiring, as it made me think of something couples can do to stay in love. Here is my Love Essentially column, published two days ago in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.
Bulls Rookie, Bobby Portis’ Insight on Basketball Transcends the Game by Jackie Pilossoph
My love for the Chicago Bulls runs deep, with a special place in my heart for my faves, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler. But after a recent game against New York, there’s an addition to that list: rookie Bobby Portis.
The 6-foot-11 forward from Arkansas played amazing, scoring 16 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out two assists. But aside from his incredible skill and cute face, something else caused me to fall for Portis – what he said in an interview after the game.
“If you love the game of basketball, it will love you back.”
I found this remark inspiring, to the point where I felt like jumping off the couch and going to the gym to work off some of the eight pounds I’ve gained over the holidays.
The thing is, I felt like Portis was speaking to me and saying, “If you are passionate about something, you will succeed,” or “Jackie, if you get your butt on an elliptical machine and stop eating Christmas cookies, your body will love you again.”
Portis’ quote could apply to anything in life, which can include health and wellness, other sports, raising children, your professional life and of course, love.
“If you love your significant other, he or she will love you back.” In other words, like basketball, you get back what you give in romantic relationships.
I can’t count the number of men and women who write to me explaining that they are unfulfilled in their marriages. “He’s driving me crazy,” “She’s so critical of me,” “I can’t do anything right,” “We fight all the time,” “We fell out of love,” “I fantasize about sleeping with someone else,” “I am sleeping with someone else,” and “We’ve grown apart,” are some statements they make.
It’s sad because I get the impression most people feel they have two choices: stay in the bad relationship or leave, and although frustrated and unhappy, they are too fearful for the latter.
Newsflash: there is a third option! Follow Bobby Portis’ advice and LOVE your spouse. Then, he or she will love you back. Sound simple? Want to hit me right now for being nauseatingly optimistic? Let me be more specific.
No relationship is like a romance novel. I get it. After several years together, a few kids, stressful jobs and aging, keeping sex and romantic love alive in a relationship is challenging. What sometimes happens over the years is people put those things on the bottom of their list of priorities. They stop having date nights, they forget to appreciate the other person, they fail to say thank you to their spouse, they ignore the other’s needs, and mostly, they don’t show their spouse respect, affection or love. And eventually, one or both feels unloved, leaving the couple vulnerable to cheating, splitting up or staying together unhappily, with resentment built up as high as Willis Tower.
Think about it. How can you be kind and giving and loving to someone who doesn’t give it back to you? You can’t. No one can. But if your spouse does something remarkable, generous or kind, that fosters more of the same type of behavior. A cycle can be created one way or the other.
If two people want to fall back in love, one person has to make the first move, whether it is a kind gesture, a gift, a suggestion to go to couples counseling, a sincere apology, or a letter that basically says, “Please don’t give up on us.”
I’m not saying a new bottle of perfume, a fancy dinner, a one-time talk or one therapy session is going to miraculously turn a marriage around. But, it is the first step in healthy communication, forgiveness and loving your spouse, so that he or she will love you back.
What if you make a move and your spouse is unresponsive or does not reciprocate? Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.