Is your relationship sweet?

Sour?

Or just plain bland?

In thinking about relationships and how people communicate and get along I had this image of sweet and loving, sour and distanced from each other, discourteous and angry or just bored and not connecting at all. Where do you fall into this spectrum? How do you treat your significant other? Do you take the relationship for granted or appreciate all that they do even if it is something very small.

Here are four things that you can do to uplift and energize your relationship right now:

  1. Gratitude – pay attention to each other. Be grateful for the little things and make sure you appreciate each other for what you appreciate appreciates! How can you do this? How about sending a gratitude text to your significant other telling them you are thinking about them or say thank you for something they said or did
  1. Savor – pay attention. Get off your cell phone and listen to the other person and what they really have to say. Ask what went well today rather than focusing on the entire negative. If something good happens ask for more details and really listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason – listen more.
  1. Play – as adults we often forget to play. We get so engrossed in the “shoulds” of life – pay the bills, go to work, take care of the house, laundry, food, children – we often forget how to have fun. Cook together, dance together, laugh out loud together, remember the things you always enjoyed doing together and have some fun.
  1. Support – support each other through good times and bad, through dreams and challenges, allow each other to be their own person and have their own voice.

Marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is a terrific opportunity to grow as a human being. Dr. David Schnarch, a leading sex therapist and marriage counselor, in his revolutionary book A Passionate Marriage says that emotionally committed relationships are people-growing machines and that signs of difficulty with intimacy, and other challenges is actually a healthy sign in a maturing relationship. In his expertise he gives you exercises to ‘electrify’ your sex life, heighten your passion and renew your commitment and help your relationship reach it’s full potential.

David Schnarch dispels the myth of marriage and instead sees marriage as perfect – if we accept the fact that we are humans and meant to grow as human beings. Our partner is the perfect one to help us do that! So many couples that have intimacy issues begin to think something is wrong with them when in fact normal healthy people have sexual difficulties. Couples all over the world struggle with intimacy and closeness and are just trying to learn to love and have a better life. Schnarch talks about gridlock, that happens in every relationship and moving towards differentiation. He has found through his studies and research there are four points of balance, which are basically:

  1. Holding on to your own personal values and goals
  2. Dealing with your own anxiety and emotional bruises
  3. Not overreacting – but still dealing with – difficult people and situations
  4. Persevering to accomplish one’s goals even in the face of failure or disappointments.

All of these points emphasize resilience. Without losing track of your sense of self, goals and values you have the ability to adapt and change direction. Differentiation is necessary in all committed relationships.

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