Common Sense 4

Marriage and Relationships

Keys to a better Marriage: Part 1

Appreciate each other

In a relationship you can choose to focus on what is good or focus on what is bad. Just as with children, what you pay attention to, you tend to get more of. If you criticize your spouse expecting that this will inspire her/him to change, you are likely to be disappointed. Here is how that scenario may go:

Her: “I’m sick of you leaving dirty dishes in the sink!”

Him: “Well I’m tired of your magazines left all over the coffee table.”

Her: “That’s not as bad as all the dirty laundry you left on the bathroom floor!”

Him: “Well you have your make up all over the counter in there!”

This “tit for tat” can go on endlessly and can escalate into name calling, blaming, and worse. Nothing is accomplished. Nothing improves. Over time each one gives up in trying to please the other as it seems impossible to do so.

The alternative to this is to look for all that your partner contributes to the relationship, and thank them for it. Show gratitude for what they do right. If your spouse works long hours at a job that they aren’t thrilled with so that there is income to pay the bills…thank him/her. If they are working on a tedious household project, say painting the garage, bring them lemonade and offer to help. If he/she does your laundry, cooks a meal, brings home the groceries, makes sure the bills are paid, changes the oil in the car… any of the hundreds of things that make life run smoothly take notice and thank him/her for it. Then make an effort to change a behavior that you know bothers your spouse, for example, put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. When you do this two things are likely to happen. 1. You will really begin to appreciate the good that comes from having a partner in life and all that he/she actually does and 2. Your partner will feel appreciated and is more likely to do more of the things that you need/would like to be done. In this process you can reverse the downward trend that criticism brings, and begin an upward trend where you each feel valued, appreciated and part of a team. Essentially, you fall in love all over again!

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