Too Much To Do.
Life gets crazy doesn’t it? You’ve fit your kids’ basketball and cheerleading practices into your schedule along with the dance recitals, the board meeting the business trip - and on it goes... It’s a whirlwind of “to-dos.” But where does your marriage fit into all of that? How much time do you put into making your marriage a priority, into making it what you want it to be? With all these other commitments competing for attention, your marriage can end up forgotten, like the old vacation pictures at the back of the junk drawer - lost.
It usually doesn’t get much attention until the signs of neglect become too hard to ignore. You begin to feel like those “two ships,” as if you’re roommates instead of the loving partners you once were. You might even start to wonder if your marriage is going to work out at all. Well, it’s no wonder. Neither of you is getting what you need, and your marriage is certainly not getting what it needs to thrive. Your marriage is the foundation of your family and it is too important to ignore.
Begin to Notice What’s Working
It’s often hard to see past all the conflict and resentment that begin to tear down the marriage. The good things often get overlooked and overshadowed. It’s so important to begin to refocus attention on what’s working in the marriage. Try to notice what your spouse may be doing that you could appreciate. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way. It can change the whole energy in the relationship, paving the way for more good things to happen.
Deposits of Caring Connection
Your marriage is like a bank account. There are going to be withdrawals now and then. That’s why it is so important to replenish it with regular
deposits. They don’t have to be large ones. It could be as simple as making coffee in the morning or checking in during the day to ask, “How’s your day going?” There are so many little ways to show you care: a kiss hello, a kiss goodbye, or a surprise night out can make all the difference. They may seem little, but they pay big dividends.
You have to know how to have a good clean “fight.” Conflict can actually help you grow closer together. Yes, you heard right! It’s not the conflict itself so much as the way we resolve the conflict that makes all the difference. Take the time to listen to each other’s point of view with respect and kindness. Both perspectivesare equally valid. It’s not a matter of right or wrong. It’s all about giving each other the gift of listening.
It feels so good when we’re heard. That’s why it is so important to communicate in a way that makes this happen. Sometimes it’s all in the presentation. Make sure you address the behavior, not your partner’s character. Be specific. Keep the words “always” and “never” out of the conversation. Finally, stay on topic. Keep it simple. Your message will be more effective and easier to hear. When this happens, conflict can actually result in a stronger, more loving connection
Own Your Own Stuff
You know the old saying, “When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back to you.” Take responsibility for your steps in the dance. A relationship can be a beautiful dance of love, but each partner needs to take stock of how he or she affects the relationship, either positively or negatively. This doesn’t mean taking blame. Quite the contrary, it is very empowering to take ownership of your own stuff. That’s when you can achieve the change you desire.
Focusing on your partner's behavior can feel frustrating and futile. Try shifting the focus on what you can do to attain the positive change you want in the relationship.
In this hustle and bustle world of “to-dos,” we often forget to have fun. There just doesn’t seem to be time for “all that nonsense.” Making time for play is not a luxury. It is a crucial part of a healthy life and a healthy marriage. You can help create a healthier marriage by making fun a top priority. Make lists of the fun things you like to do and start doing them. Take turns picking from each list and you might discover new ways of having fun - be adventurous! Schedule date night together, just like you schedule your hair appointment or your tee time. Put that reminder on your calendar. These are just small ways to bring about big change in your relationship.
If you really want to change direction in your marriage, check out my Marriage Repair Workshop where you can learn the tools and techniques to create a dynamic relationship together.
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This article was originally published at Christine Wilke. Reprinted with permission from the author.