You are busy people!
Among our readership are engaged couples, newlyweds, and couples who are experiencing their first baby. Then there are those who are raising children and teens. There are those who are facing the empty nest stage. There are couples that have had long– term marriages and those who are divorced and starting again.
This is the life span of couples that want to believe they can keep their relationship thriving no matter how long they have been married.
These are couples that believe that relationship challenges will not be solved by ending their relationship.
David, a Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and his wife Janet, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, want to motivate intentional, intelligent, faith-based couples who want to
Keep the WOW in their VOW!
For that reason our first post for 2016 presents you with three choices that will help you make 2016 a year of radical connection and creativity.
These choices will take you less than ten minutes a day.
Are you up for the challenge?
1. Be Intentional at the Intersections of Your Day.
What intersections occur in your day with your partner? Each marriage is unique, yet I find that a couple’s typical intersections happen early morning when one of them leaves for work. Then there are two other intersections… when the last one returns home from work and just before one or both of them go to bed. These provide at least three opportunities to intersect positively everyday.
How can you be lovingly intentional at your intersections?
Would you like to be greeted, hugged, and told that you were missed?
Would it knock your socks off if your partner told you that you were looking great? What would make your mate feel loved and welcomed?
Dr. James Dobson used to say that when he pulled into his driveway after work, he’d park the car and sit in it for a while. This was his time to switch gears from work mode to anticipating the most important connections of his day. Would you find that helpful? Do you need some kind of a transition?
One client told me that he and his wife both woke up at the same time in the morning. Many of us don’t have that luxury except perhaps on a Saturday morning. He described it this way. “There is nothing better than waking up next to my wife. We always squeeze in some extra snuggles before we have to drag ourselves out of bed and somehow that cozy start makes facing the rest of the day just a little bit easier.”
Are you intentional at the intersections of your day? If so, you have a spouse who anticipates your connection at those intersections. They feel noticed, valued, loved and desired. Perhaps you feel the same way too.
The second choice that will radically change your love life in less than ten minutes a day has to do with your mindset and your choice of words.
2. Express Gratitude on a Daily Basis
“Continually making an effort to rediscover the magic in your partner is the true creative challenge of a monogamous relationship” Barbara De Angelio, PhD.
Perfect relationships don’t exist! Often the greatest obstacle to love comes from the sense of entitlement that many privately nurture. There is a tendency to believe that the perfect person exists out there. With that person love would be effortless, easy, and eternal. You would always be happy. When that isn’t happening in your marriage, the thought is that there is justification to be cold, withdrawn, detached, and distant. After all we deserve better. Any personal trainer will tell you that the desired result, whether in exercise or relationship, will never be produced without effort and focus.
In her novel, Shadow Tag, Louise Erdich writes these profound words,
“Why can’t I recover the feelings I had at the beginning? Infatuation, sudden attraction, is partly a fever of surfaces, and absence of knowledge. Falling in love is also falling into knowledge. Enduring love comes when we love most of what we learn about the other person and can tolerate the faults they cannot change.”
So, as a partner, are you a discourager or encourager? In a long-term marriage, it is far too easy to overvalue what someone is not and to undervalue what he or she is. What’s the secret of giving positive feedback year after year after year?
Adjust your attitude.
Does your vision need to be refocused? Do you need to see through a new set of glasses? Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on what is right.
What do you value that your spouse brings to your marriage? When is the last time you verbalized that to your lover?
Saying, “I love you!” gets you a B+. Saying “I love this specific thing about you” gets you an A+. Perhaps you have had moments of gratitude, but you haven’t expressed it or you haven’t been specific.
When is the last time you thanked your spouse for something you just expect them to do?
As a marriage and family therapist, I guarantee that daily expressions of gratitude will profoundly impact your love life.
There is a third choice that will radically impact your love life in less than ten minutes a day.
3. Consistently Use Do-Overs.
No relationship over 24 hours old is devoid of tension, over-reactions, conflict, hurt, pain and misunderstanding. Knowingly or unknowingly we hurt each other’s feelings. So what do we do after that happens, as it inevitably will?
It depends! If you realize you are the cause of the hurt you will admit it. If you were the one using a critical tone, if you just said something hurtful, or if you snapped in reaction to something your partner said or did, you will admit your own need for a do-over.
What does a do-over mean? It means I don’t like the way I just interacted with you and I’m catching myself. Please forgive me. I want to speak my truth in love so you are capable of hearing it. Please give me another chance to express what I was trying to say. Can I have a Do-Over?
If you don’t realize you were the cause of the hurt, your partner can request a Do-Over. They can ask you to express your point in a different way.
When you ask your spouse for a do-over you are informing them that there was something in their delivery that makes it hard for you to hear their message. You really want to hear what they are saying and not get sidetracked by the way their message is being delivered.
Healthy couples agree to use do-overs. Just as golfers use mulligans when they mistakenly hit the ball, so in marriage, we need a second chance.
If you want to hit a hole in one in your love life, you need to agree to use a Do-Over. By so doing you are admitting your mistake and you are helping your mate understand how to succeed in connecting with you.
So to radically impact your love life in less than ten minutes a day,
- Be Intentional at the Intersections of Your Day.
- Express Gratitude on a Daily Basis.
- Consistently Use Do-Overs.
All three choices are acts of our conscious will.
Until the next Conscious Lover’s Blog…