Yep, it’s been a long day. It’s only Wednesday, but your body insists it Must be Friday. You still have way too much to do this week, and you don’t have the energy to do any of it.
You get home and flop on the couch, exhausted, and your partner says just the wrong thing. Explosion. All the aggravation of the day comes pouring out on them. And any way that they’ve bothered you in the last month is dumped on their head.
If you’re very lucky, your sweetheart may realize you are having a rough time of it. They may cut you some slack and not hold it against you later. But what happens in your relationship if this is your typical home life? Over and over and over, you’re pouring toxins on that other person – and it burns.
Doesn’t take much imagination to see where it’s all probably going to end.
I was lucky. Early in my marriage, I had a friend point out that we are “programming our spouse” by how we treat them. If every time Brad saw me, I told him some problem he had caused or had to solve, or even worse, something I didn’t like about him or what he did….well, Brad’s learned that “Every Time I see Terry, it’s going to be bad!” Wow, was that helpful to know!
But knowing something is bad doesn’t tell you what to do. Yep. It’s like saying to a child, “Don’t run!”…and you watch them keep running – maybe a little slower, but still running. But when you say, “Walk!”, you are more likely to get them walking. Focus on what you want, Not on what you don’t want. That creates magic.
So here it is – the One Sure-Fire Way to Boost A Relationship. Pay Attention: Notice what you Like about them or something they’re doing or have done. And Tell Them! (You are now focusing on what you like.)
Wow, is that a Massive change. Now, I’m Not saying you need to be all gushy – “Oh, you’re so wonderful. You’re the best ever.” That gets rather nauseating, in my opinion. Instead, keep it short, specific and sincere.
“Thanks for taking the trash out.” “The kitchen looks great. Thanks.” (And Do Not Get Tempted to say, “Oh, but you didn’t wipe the stove!” And don’t you go wipe it. Just enjoy all the dishes being cleaned, dried and put away! Wipe the stove when you’re alone tomorrow.) “Wow! I love this iced tea. Thanks for buying it for me.” “Oh, man! You already have all the sheets on the bed. I was dreading that. Thank you.”
You get the idea.
I didn’t thank Every Single Thing. But especially when Brad made a special effort, I thanked him out loud. “Oh, my gosh, pepper steak! My favorite dinner.” Short, Specific and Sincere. Or when I noticed how much I loved his sense of humor, I would say so. “I love how you can always make me laugh.”
Now I was “programming my spouse” that “When I see Terry, it’s going to be good.” And then, problem solving for the inevitable problems that happen is a lot nicer, easier and more fun. Together, we can solve anything – we are a Team. It made the twenty-one years we had together until his passing an amazing experience. This also works fantastically for children, grandchildren, co-workers (assuming you work with functional people – LOL!). It always boosts the relationship – guaranteed.
Pay Attention: Notice what you Like about them, or something they’re doing or have done. And Tell Them! The warmth from the smile on their face warms your heart, too, and it feels wonderful. So go on – Give it a try! And enjoy the warmth of their smiles.