Keeper: “I don’t want you to feel guilty for being mad. You have every right to want what you want just as I do. Let’s really talk this over and plan ahead better. I like being open and I don’t really care what other people think. I’m sensitive to how people are responding, honey. I don’t want to embarrass you.”
Trait Seven – Keepers store the “good times”.
Life can be hard at times for everyone, and tragedies can erode a person’s capacity to endure grief without resentment or bitterness.
Keepers like knowing they can fall back on great memories in order to survive and thrive when times are hard. They realize that remembering those experiences in the midst of trauma can be hard and that practice makes it easier.
When life is less stressful, Keepers look for and store the good times so they can draw upon them later. They make a point to treasure the simplest things and to turn every possible situation into one of joy, mischief, or adventure.
They are not irreverent about sorrow or tragedy but balance difficult moments with joyous recollections.
She: “This has been a horrible month. Nothing has turned outright and I can’t see anything in the future that can make up for it. I’m so incredibly depressed. We desperately need a break, some kind of silver lining in this mess.”
Keeper: “I agree completely, but we have to remember that it hasn’t always been this way. We have lots of reasons to believe that they’ll get better and we’ve got to keep those in mind when things are tough.”
She: (torn but touched) “I know you’re right. But it’s really hard for me to remember and to have faith that we’ll be okay.”
Keeper: “I know, sweetheart. But I know how down you can get if you keep thinking the way you are.”
She: “Aren’t you worried? What do you do with your fears?”
Keeper: “I’m not always okay, either. You know how tough things were for my family when my dad died. There were a lot of times when my mom and sisters would just cry. I didn’t know what to do for them. I was the smallest so I just would pretend that things were great and that we had nothing to worry about. I’d perform skits that would make them laugh. They would seem better so I just got it into my head that pretending things would get better work. And they did, eventually.”
She: (smiling in appreciation) “I don’t know whether it’s just a nice idea or the twinkle in your eyes, but it helps to remember. We’ve had so much to be grateful for. Thanks, honey.”
Trait Eight – Keepers are authentic.
Keepers trust those who are honest and above-board. They feel responsible for what they say or do. They just don’t pretend to be someone they are not, or automatically agree with something they don’t.
They want to be transparent because they don’t play games or want to participate in any. They’d rather hear the truth from others, too, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Keepers choose partners who value them for their honesty. They don’t take that right lightly, nor do they use their authenticity to unnecessarily pointing out other’s faults. They do love and care for how their partners feel about them. They don’t go out of their way to cover their faults, and deeply appreciate when others are honest with them.
He: (Teasing, but serious underneath) “Okay, I’ve been working out for two months and watching everything I put in my mouth. You have two choices. The first is to tell me I look better than when you married me ten years ago and reap the rewards of total devotion. The second is to say that you don’t see any difference, and risk that I will go into a deep pout for the next several days and forget your birthday.”
Keeper: “I don’t like the odds. Way too risky. First of all, I love you with your belly relatively round. Yes, it is not particularly sexy to look like Buddha, but you’re my Buddha. Second, you’ve only lost five pounds and it is noticeable but probably not neon-lighted yet. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of you for your commitment and effort. It’s great. Are there new muscles? Yeah, I can definitely see them as they work their way to the surface. Now you have two choices: the first is to be hurt by what I’ve said. The second is to tell me how much you value my total honesty so that when you start to look really good, you’ll know it’s true.”
He: (smiling) “You are merciless, but that’s why I trust you. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’ve always been in my corner, honey. I’m not quitting.”