Words of Hope: The Power of Liking
Shann and I subscribe to the Gottman Marriage minute. It’s a perfect, short reminder with simple steps to improve relationships. A recent message asked, “Do you like each other?” I immediately thought of my Dad as I read this advice. “Do you like each other?” is something my Dad often asked about friendships. He believed love was also in the liking. He not only loved people, he liked them. I can’t believe how important this was to me as a daughter to know my Dad loved me and he liked me. He liked me as a friend in his life. He valued listening to my stories and my point of view; he wanted to be around me. And I liked being around him, listening to his stories and point of view. Even as a young girl, my Mom and my Dad made me feel loved and liked. They listened wholeheartedly, attentive, laughed with me, sought my opinion, and loved to hear what I was learning. I rarely felt my parents were frustrated, disappointed, or in a state of dislike for me.
Friendship is liking what the beloved other likes. My Dad used to dislike books. Once, he said after opening one of my Christmas presents, a book, “Books are like getting vegetables.” Boy, we gave Dad a hard time for that comment. Dad grew to love books because we all loved books. It’s hard to be in friendship with the Ferch Family and dislike books when we literally have 7000 books in our basement. Shann writes books. I think this shift allowed Dad to think of writing another book. He remembered he likes books, and he likes to talk about books. Part of our friendship, especially in the last years, even involved reading books aloud. How can I show love by liking the interests of those I love? What I continue to revere about my Dad was he measured his friendship with me, not by how he felt he was doing as a friend but by how I felt. It didn’t matter if he thought he liked me; the critical question was, did I feel liked by my Dad? This motivated me to make sure my Dad felt liked by me as well as loved.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10