Stops and starts to bring you and your spouse closer.
This year’s NCAA basketball tournament is nearing its exciting finish. If you’ve been following your favorite team to see who’s best at college basketball and hoping your bracket picks survive and win, you’ve probably been watching a lot of hoops.
You’ve probably noticed something about these adrenaline-rush games...
There is a certain energy and momentum that builds up. One team is in the lead with a dominating offense and strong defense, but then something happens. The other team manages to get the ball and one of their players races down the court and scores a three-pointer.
At that moment, the energy shifts in the other direction. That steal and subsequent three-point shot is a game changer. It may even be the crucial play that helps the other team win the game.
When your marriage or love relationship is not the way you want it to be-- distant, contentious, argumentative or just plain boring-- you’ve definitely got momentum carrying you and your partner in a direction you do not want to go. Snide comments, “little” lies, criticism, blame, distraction and neglect can build up and powerfully sweep your marriage into a miserable place.
A break up or divorce may be what results.
What most couples forget is that THEY are the ones to decide what to do when their relationship is stale or in trouble. Spouses can step out of their usual habits and go for a game changer. This can be what shifts the energy and brings re-connection and happiness.
Unfortunately, most people get reactive when they feel ignored or dissatisfied with their relationship. Something inside of them gets rigid and stubborn and this is usually followed by an urge to defend or lash out.
Reacting to what you don’t want with demands or blame will only intensify the dysfunction. It will strengthen the momentum of your marriage in the wrong direction!
Instead, make the shift that will bring you and your spouse closer together with these 4 game changers...
1. Stop saying, “You always....”
“You always check your phone when I’m talking to you!” Here’s a situation in dire need of a different response. There’s no argument that it’s irritating when you’re trying to talk to your partner and he or she is absently nodding at you while checking texts at the same time.
You can entrench the pattern you two have been struggling with by continuing to say, “You always...” or you can express how you feel in a new way. Instead, try something like, “I feel ignored when I see you looking at your phone while I’m speaking. Will you agree to put down your phone when we’re having a conversation?”
2. Start saying, “Please tell me more...”
You bristle at what your partner just said to you. It may have been an off-the-cuff comment which felt like a put down or a vague statement that has you worried. Rather than operating as if you know what your partner “really” meant, take a deep breath and ask the question, “Please tell me more about what you just said.”
Be honest if you feel confused. Get curious and find out more so that you can understand not only what your partner thinks, feels and wants, but also what you will do in response.
3. Stop competing.
When your marriage feels weighed down by tension and conflict, it’s possible that competitiveness is coming between the two of you. Pay attention to your usual thoughts and words. Do you take pride in doing it “better” than your partner? Whether it’s parenting, earning money, managing money, working out or even reaching a higher level of Candy Crush, recognize your urge to win. Remind yourself that a trusting and connected marriage is one where you are both on the same team.
4. Start celebrating.
When you approach your marriage as if you and your spouse are on the same team, an important momentum shift takes place. Suddenly, you two are supporting each other toward your personal goals and you cooperate as a couple so that you can reach your relationship goals too.
Every single day, challenge yourself to find (at least) one thing to celebrate about your relationship. This can be a seemingly small improvement or a larger accomplishment. Maybe you two laughed together watching your dog race around the backyard. Maybe one of you said something to stop an argument before it got out of control.
Find what’s going right in your marriage and take a moment to savor and celebrate that positive. This game changer is an essential part of keeping passion and connection healthy. For more doable and easy ways to create a happier marriage, click here to get our free Passionate Spark~Lasting Love ebook.
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