Susan loves Mitch. No question about it. But after 20 years of marriage, she shared with me over a cup of coffee that she doesn't like him. "He's boring! He doesn't like to do anything fun and we rarely have interesting conversations. I won't leave him, but the only fun I have is the fun I can find on my own or with my friends."
How sad! I knew that their relationship could be so much richer and offer Susan so much more joy and satisfaction. Sounded to me like Susan needed an attitude adjustment. She certainly wasn't going to change Mitch. He'd been boring for 20 years! I knew that trying to change a person was a dead-end street - we'd only make ourselves miserable and dissatisfied in the process.
"Let's try an experiement" I said. "Tonight write down 10 things you appreciate about Mitch. Then share your list with him."
"I'll try, but I'm not sure I can think of 10 things!"
The next week we met for coffee. Susan was glowing. She excitedly told me that she had, in fact, been able to think of 10 things. . . but she didn't stop there. She thought of 10 more! She shared her list of 20 things she appreciated about him with Mitch and that night they had great sex (TMI)! Susan laughed and said, "Oh. . .that makes 21!)
That conversation was five years ago. Susan and Mitch are getting ready to go on a cruise to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Turns out Mitch isn't all that boring after all - Susan just needed to be reminded of why she fell in love with him in the first place, to focus on those positives and accept Mitch for who he is.
A simple exercise in appreciation can turn a relationship around!