Get ready for 40 days of relationship IMPROVEMENT.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent. Even if you're not a Christian, the idea behind the season is interesting. It's a time of giving up vices and substituting more positive behavior in their place. Where better to try this out than in our relationships?
Every couple has their own unique blend of struggles, but here are 10 bad habits of action and communication that most couples could stand to give up. This trial only lasts 40 days, but who knows? At the end, you might want to give up your bad habits permanently.
1. You say, "You always ..."
When you disagree, speak in "I" statements about your own feelings. Don't try to tell your partner how he or she feels or what he or she does. Instead, say, "I feel ...".
2. You take "I love you" lightly.
It's not just a way to end phone calls or something to abbreviate in a text message. You worked hard to find—and keep!—this special connection. Say, "I love you" out loud and in-person.
3. You two shower seperately.
Get in there TOGETHER sometimes! After a while, couples stop noticing each other's bodies. The intimate act of washing your loved one (and all the sexy stuff than can occur during and after) is worth taking turns under the shower head.
4. You email each other WAY too much.
Instead of emailing your sweetheart a link to that funny YouTube video or posting something on a Facebook wall, share your thoughts on paper. Write a haiku or a knock-knock joke. Doodle. Check "yes" (not "no"). When was the last time you really looked at your partner's—or anyone else's!—handwriting?
5. You forget to say, "Please".
It's easy to fall into the habit of just telling your partner to do something. But sharing your life with someone is a GIFT. So say "Please" and "Thank you".
6. You distance yourself after a rough patch.
Touch your partner on the face or arms before bringing up a tough subject—it works much more effectively than words do. Then say what you need to say. This way you're keeping the connection alive.
7. You CONSTANTLY complain.
Instead of complaining, try to tell your partner three things that you appreciate about him/her or the relationship everyday.
8. You hyper-focus on everything he does WRONG. (And think he's a mind reader.)
Because he can't. Instead, remember that he will never think like a woman, and focus on what he does do for you and acknowledge it. And if you want something else, ask for it.
9. You avoid couples therapy.
It's important to be proactive and find support before it gets worse. There are a multitude of marriage education resources on the web, ranging from counselors, coaches, ministers, psychologists, non-profit organizations, etc..
10. You give him what you want.
Instead of assuming you know what your partner needs to feel loved, ASK him. If love to your partner is more hugs and kisses, give them. If love is a night out with the guys, give it to him. Show your partner his kind of love for the ULTIMATE loving experience.
Which bad relationship habits do you think you should give up for Lent?