Does your love life feel like it’s on ice? Do you sense a greater disconnection from your partner? Are you looking to reignite the passion you once had in your relationship?
The higher levels of stress we experience in our lives as a result of the increased pressures of day to day living have a serious impact our health, happiness, and relationships. We have more responsibilities at work, ever increasing household tasks, less time, less money, and not enough help to handle it all. Unfortunately, we also have a tendency to vent our frustrations toward the person who matters most to us – our significant other, which compounds our lack of love problem further.
You might be thinking, Who has time for romance, when there is so much to do? You arrive home at 5, 6, or 7 PM - have to finish a project for work, help the kids with their homework, cart them around to games, fix dinner, clean the house, pay the bills, pack lunches, and 15 other things before flopping into bed at midnight exhausted and weary. There’s not even time or energy for sex, much less an occasional dinner at a nice restaurant.
We all have the same 168 hours in a week, including the President of the United States, your kid’s bus driver, and you. What matters is how you choose to spend that time. You make time for things that matter to you. Are your actions in line with your priorities? Take a look at your schedule. Maybe it’s time to make some changes.
1.) Make a list of what you would spend your time doing if you knew you had only a limited amount of time left to live. I heard an excellent quote on the show Biggest Loser this week by Dr. Huizenga, “If you just discovered you had lymphoma, you would spend the 2 hours a week to receive chemotherapy treatments wouldn’t you?” Why are you unwilling to invest time into the most significant relationship in your world?
Evaluate your life. Most people value health first, and the people they love second - yet their schedules don’t align with their values. Commit to placing yourself first, the ones you love second, and see if everything else in your life doesn’t naturally fall into place. What you place your attention on expands, and if you neglect the relationship you have with yourself or your significant other, you won’t have either for long. Your body and your relationship can only tolerate a certain amount of neglect. Make the decision today that you’ll take better care of both.
2.) Delegate more. Assess what household tasks someone else could do. Believe it or not, you do not have to do it all. It doesn’t even matter if the jobs don’t get done as well as you would do them. You didn’t have to do it, and your time is freed up for more important things you want to focus on.
In my house, when I cook, Mario does the dishes. I imposed that rule when we first met. He doesn’t clean the counters afterward, but I was happy that the dishes were done and I didn’t have to do them, so I just wipe off the counters when he’s finished.
You may want to consider hiring a housekeeper once or twice a month to minimize the work you need to do. A friend of mine used to have her housekeeper come twice a week, and she would also make an oversized dinner, and they had four meals covered for the week since each meal served as two with left overs.
3.) Be Kind to yourself and your loved ones. Have you heard the expression, “You get what you give?” Why would you expect your spouse or your kids to respond in a loving way if you order them around like the Commandant on Hogan’s Heroes? Not to mention, what types of words do you use to describe yourself when something doesn’t go as planned.
I always describes things I wish I would do differently as silly instead of dumb because I know I’m not stupid, but if I keep affirming I am, I’ll continue to do stupid things. Instead, the word silly implies you had a momentary lapse, instead of a permanent condition. It is a gentler, kinder way to treat yourself.
Choose the words and tone you use to share information or make requests of your spouse and children much more carefully. We don’t realize how powerful our words are. Notice the difference between how the following two statements feel:
“Honey, would you mind taking the trash out for me?”
“You forgot to take the trash out again. Can’t you remember to do anything?”
Take time to formulate your requests and see if you don’t notice receiving a much more loving response in return.
4.) Express your appreciation more. When Mario and I first started dating, I thanked him for every little thing he did for me. He wasn’t used to it and asked me to stop. I didn’t stop though, because I know the value that expressing appreciation has on how people feel about themselves and how it affects their behavior.
Unfortunately, we often stop expressing our appreciation and end up taking the ones we love for granted. Pay attention for just one week to all the things your spouse does for you, even if the tasks are expected of him, and thank him for it. They are two small, yet very powerful words. Bring appreciation and gratitude back into your relationship and watch the love flow.
I know these tips are small, subtle and seemingly unromantic. However, I promise that as you implement them consistently, you will see a shift in how your man responds to you. It’s the little things that add up to big changes over time. Adjust your everyday actions and observe as they gently fan the flame and rekindle your relationship.