My last post about relationships detailed a few things to stop doing to improve your relationship. Today I want to focus on things to START doing! Once you start adding in good habits, it gets easier to work on and replace the not-so-great ones. Let’s get closer to our spouses today by doing these five things!
Realize when emotions are running high.
Confession: I may be a teensy bit dramatic with strong feelings on occasion. Taking a moment to realize when I am emotional has helped me tremendously with not overreacting. Do I still overreact? Of course. I’m not perfect. But I’ve been more successful in defusing my extreme emotions by taking a breath and recognizing the state of my emotions. This idea has made a huge difference in my marriage as well as my parenting. Before letting my emotions speak for me, I try to think about the following questions:
Does this really matter to me?
What it is that I really want? Why do I want that?
Am I actually upset about something else? Or is this part of a bigger issue?
What’s the best way to communicate what I want?
I may not always succeed in stopping my emotions from taking over, but I can reduce how often that happens!
Consider your partner’s point of view.
I truly believe my husband has good intentions in all that he does. I don’t think he would disappoint or upset me on purpose. So I try to see where he was coming from by asking questions without judgement. Talking to my husband allows him a chance to give his point of view while still treating him as my partner, not my enemy. Usually the problem boils down to some sort of miscommunication. We can figure out how to avoid the same thing happening in the future if we are talking about it civilly and honestly.
Use kind words and a gentle tone while being respectful.
Unkind words and a harsh tone can escalate a disagreement without getting anything accomplished. Kind words and a gentle tone of voice help to find a solution. I’m a firm believer in being able to catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Not that my husband is a fly, but I have the best chances for a change in behavior using a kind and respectful approach.
Even when I am upset, I should still treat my husband as my partner in life. I can explain why I am upset/hurt/angry without being disrespectful. If I wouldn’t want someone else to say it to my husband, then I don’t want to say it either. If I speak to him with the kind of respect that I would want for myself, we can work together to solve whatever problem arises.
Focus on the good.
We cannot control our spouses. However, we still have control over ourselves. This is powerful. We can choose what we do, how we react, and how we move forward. We can appreciate our spouse’s good intentions even when the end result isn’t ideal. We can accept poor situations for what they are while focusing on the positive. Finding the positive is about being grateful.
Shifting your mindset to be appreciative for positive qualities in your spouse can benefit your relationship in more than one way. Often finding one thing to be thankful for trickles down into many things to be thankful for. And then that good energy flows into more positive changes.
Enjoy the moment, laugh at the things that are worth laughing over, and try not to get bogged down with the seriousness of life. Lighten up! My dad often says that the only thing that stays the same is that things change. If things are going well, enjoy it because things will go south at some point. And if things are going poorly, don’t fret too much because eventually things will turn around. Life comes with good and bad experiences, so we might as well make the best of everything. Dance, laugh, and be silly. Have fun with loved ones. Be grateful for and find joy in what you have.
And on that note, I’m off to turn on some music, dance, and make eggs and bacon for my little ladies and husband this morning. A sixth thing to add to your relationship to would be bacon. It’s an excellent solution for pretty much everything.