Do you ever catch yourself in a moment of special fondness for your partner? Maybe at a party you see your wife talking animatedly with a friend and feel a rush of fondness for her. Or as you watch your husband working in the garden, you suddenly feel really fond of him.
Fondness is one of the special rewards of a genuinely warm and caring relationship. Obviously, I'm not talking about the "nothing special" form of fondness that people have in mind when they say things like, "I'm fond of him, but I certainly don't love him."
The fondness that I'm speaking about is a gentle, quiet emotion, not passionate or intense but heartfelt - something that is likely to endure. The experience of fondness has little or nothing to do with thinking or attitude. It is instead an act of seeing, in which you catch your partner doing something endearing.
Fondness is a gentle mix of friendliness, affection and affinity. It is the sort of thing you might say about a good friend. To be able to say it about your partner is a special treat. Fondness is often the mellow experience of a well-burnished relationship that has endured for some time.
How do you get to experience fondness toward your partner, if you don't already? You have to like that person; the relationship has to be free enough of conflict for the sun to shine through, so to speak.
You have to experience your partner in order to feel fondness toward her/him. This sounds self-evident, but some people seldom have a simple experience of the other person; instead they are full of ideas, concepts and conclusions, and thinking about those is what passes for experience.
You must have stayed together and worked at the relationship long enough to come to an acceptance of the other person as s/he is. Fondness often is what you feel toward your partner after the tempest, when you have made piece with the relationship as it is. You get to experience fondness after you have stopped trying to change your partner.
Please comment: When do you feel fond of your partner?