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All The Best Lovers Are Gracious Receivers

Linda: In the following story, you can see that being aware of howwe give and receive can make a huge difference. For an exchange to work, the receiver has to consciously make room to receive what is needed, welcome fully what is actually available in the present, and feel the gratitude that appears when one receives deeply. This way of consciously receiving inspires the giver to gather, offer, aim, and release to the other the fullness of whatever he or she has to give.

Antra: One evening early in our relationship, Rich was working on his doctoral thesis. He was seated at his desk, deeply absorbed in writing, when I came over and asked in an anxious tone, “Do you love me?”

Rich: Antra’s question annoyed me. I felt interrupted, and I didn’t understand what she wanted from me. I was not able to switch from what I was doing to tell her genuinely that I loved her. I felt put on the spot. Fortunately I was sufficiently aware to see that her question “Do you love me?” was actually a request for some loving attention.

Antra: He asked me, “Are you needing some love right now?” I thought about this for a moment and then, with some embarrassment and awkwardness, answered, “Yes, I’m needing some love right now.”

Rich: So I asked her another question: “Are you ready to receive some love right now?”

Antra: I looked inside herself and saw that I was experiencing a lot of anxiety, and that I actually wasn’t ready to take anything in. So I said, “To tell you the truth, I’m not ready to receive your love.”

Rich:  So I asked her, “Could you make yourself ready?”

Antra: I took a few moments, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and opened up a space of greater receptivity inside myself. Then I heard Rich gently asking me to open my eyes when I was ready. When I opened them, we were both open and available to each other.

Rich: The way Antra looked at me when she opened her eyes was irresistible.

Antra: With his whole heart, Rich said, “I love you.” I was able to fully take it in and let myself be fed by his love. It was completely nourishing.

George Valliant, a highly respected researcher from Harvard emphasizes the capacity to be loved, and points out that among all the strengths that an individual might have, that the capacity to be loved is the “Queen of the Strengths.” When we are conscious of how we give and receive, then everything that is shared, no matter whether it is positive or negative, feels like a great gift.  We can find our way out of anything because we have faith that everything is workable, and that whatever happens is all grist for the mill.

One major challenge for couples is to see how they can offer their pain and anger to each other in a way that lets them connect, rather than disconnect. And when you distill love down to its essence, it is simply attention. Our love is renewed by consciously and skillfully giving and receiving attention. We come to understand that the quality of the attention we give and receive is what determines the level of fulfillment, connection, and love that we experience with each other. To have a terrific relationship, it is necessary to be generous of spirit to give love abundantly. And it is a secret of great relationships to become a most gracious receiver as well.


Our newest book, That Which Doesn’t Kill Us: How One Couple Got Stronger at the Broken Places, has just been published by Sacred Life Publishers and been receiving rave reviews. Their story is illuminating, instructive, and deeply inspiring. It has been described as being as compelling and engaging as a page-turning novel. The book contains powerful messages that are embedded in its pages that can serve any couple that desires valuable wisdom which can serve them in facing the inevitable challenges that frequently confront many committed partnerships. The book is available online on and Barnes & Noble. You can also receive a signed copy of That Which Doesn’t Kill Us by ordering directly from Bloomwork by calling (831) 421-9822 or emailing us at The cost is $16.95 plus tax, shipping & handling.

All The Best Lovers Are Gracious Receivers


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2018). All The Best Lovers Are Gracious Receivers. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 27, 2019, from


Last updated: 25 Jul 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.