I can’t let February go by without talking about relationships!
We all want our relationships to be happy and harmonious, right? No matter what type of relationship you’re in, if you want to improve it, the easiest starting point is to change your focus from what you’re getting to what you’re giving.
I know, it’s so easy fall into the trap of focusing on what’s not working. It’s easy to list the things we’re not getting from our partners. It’s easy to blame them for what they’re not doing to make us happy in the relationship. I’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times, and it has always taken me and my relationship down a dark road.
Thankfully, I learned early on in my marriage that focusing on what my husband was doing or not doing was not actually helpful to creating the relationship I really wanted.
I learned that it was much more helpful to change the focus from my husband and his actions to myself and my actions.
Now, when I catch myself in this negative pattern of focusing on what I’m getting or not getting from my spouse, I know how quickly I can turn it around. Here are the steps I follow.
1. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings about your partner. When things are not going well in our relationships, we spend a lot of time complaining in our heads about what’s going on. Even if you’re not voicing your complaints, your partner can feel the energy behind them. I’ve reset my relationship countless times just by becoming aware of my thoughts and choosing to change them.
2. Replace your complaints with gratitude. I talk about gratitude a lot – because I believe it’s the best tool for any problem you have. Remember when I said that your partner can feel your energy even when you don’t express your thoughts? Gratitude works so well because it changes our vibration at a cellular level. When you’re consistently focusing on what you appreciate, your partner will feel this even if you say nothing about it. Don’t believe me? Experiment! Write down 3 things every day that you appreciate about your partner. Don’t say a word about it. See what happens. And email me when you’re amazed by the changes.
3. Express your gratitude. Start saying thank you for anything and everything your partner does for you. Express what you appreciate about him. Write a note. Send a text. Say it in front of your friends. Let him know as often as you can that you are grateful for what he does to contribute to you. Be ready for the good to magnify.
4. Give what you want to receive. What’s on your list of complaints? Do you want your partner to be present with you? Be present with him. Do you want him to realize how hard you work and how tired you are? Realize how hard he works and how tired he is! Do you want him to make you feel special? Find ways to make him feel special. Eckhart Tolle says, “You cannot receive what you don't give.” So give. Be creative. Remember the beginning of your relationship when you focused on finding ways to make him feel special. Do that again.
5. Give your partner what he wants to receive. It is true that we have different ways of receiving love. Chances are, your partner’s way is different from yours. Be a detective and figure out what lights him up. Maybe he likes to receive physical affection; maybe he needs to hear loving words from you. Maybe he feels loved when you do something for him, or maybe he just needs to spend time with you. Ask him. Or better yet, figure it out by experimenting. Make it a game.
If you’re feeling some resistance to all this giving, know that you are not alone. Most women I know feel like they do all the work. They’re exhausted and depleted and feel like they have nothing left to give. That’s another conversation we can have about taking care of yourself and your needs so you don’t get to this point of being unable to give to your relationship.
For now, know that I’m not suggesting that you do all the work in the relationship, and I’m not encouraging you to stay in an unhealthy relationship. However, I believe that deep down, we all know that real love isn’t about what we get out of it. Real love is about giving. Coincidentally, it’s precisely when we give freely that we’re most open to receive what we were missing in the first place.
These are the steps that I use over and over again in my marriage. I know they work. I can tell you from my experience that as I have focused on making my husband feel loved, appreciated, supported and accepted for who he is, I have received the same from him tenfold.
Give these steps a try for a month, and watch your love blossom. I can’t wait to hear how it transforms your relationship.
Love and light,
P.S. You can apply these steps to any relationship! Try this with your kids, your mom, your co-worker, your in-laws, or any challenging person in your life.