Do Relationships Need Spring Cleaning?
If spring is about love being in the air, birds singing, flowers blooming, and the urge to do some spring cleaning, then why do you feel like your relationship is still in the deep freeze of winter? If Spring is about new life- maybe your relationship needs some. Here are some simple ways to thaw it out if you’re willing to learn a few tips from the season of Spring.
Main points in this article:
1. Never assume they know you appreciate them.
2. Avoiding simple maintenance now could mean an intense overhaul in the future.
3. Concentrate on a few small things.
4. Nothing ever stays the same, and change is inevitable.
1. Take Some Time to Smell The Roses
If you never stop to appreciate the sunshine and flowers of Spring, you’ll miss out on the joy of the whole season. The same thing goes for your relationship. If you don’t take the time to appreciate your partner, you might as well trap your relationship in Winter forever. If you want to get the most out of your relationship, try setting aside one hour to think about all the things about it that you are grateful for and how great your partner is. Then do something really crazy, and tell them. If it feels weird, just say it’s a “Spring thing”. Remember, that unless you say it verbally, your partner does not necessarily know it or feel it! Never assume they know you appreciate them. Think of all the green and flowers around you as constant reminders to share appreciations with our partner to brighten up the relationship. In therapy, a couple’s biggest complaint is often that they both feel under appreciated. Avoiding this problem can be as simple as sharing the little things that you appreciate about your partner instead of keeping them to yourself.
2. Spring cleaning – Face your fears and dive in.
Avoiding simple maintenance now could mean an intense overhaul in the future.
In spring it is easy to get discouraged with all that has to be done after a long hard winter, but a fresh start is worth the work you put in. Making a few small changes sounds like a good idea, but some of us fear the unknown, based on past experiences. Last year I decided to put a new door into the carport (four hour project, yeah right!) and found a small leak on the deck above my garage. It turned out to be a nightmare renovation. We ended up discovering a corner beam which holds up the house was rotted through and so were the floor joists in that corner. Six months later it is all done and I am so happy we did not turn a blind eye to a problem that would have eventually collapsed half our house. Sometimes you have tried to talk about stuff in the past with your partner and it feels like your opening up Pandora’s Box.
Rest assured that if you avoid problems now, they will not get better in the future. Dr. John Gottman’s research has proven that couples, who avoid problems, avoid closeness and eventually end up miserable or divorced. Take time this Spring to dialogue about your wishes, dreams and needs and don’t be afraid to tackle even the issues that may seem intimidating.
3. Spring Flowers look great… AFTER the weeds are picked.
Beautiful gardens don’t just happen; they are created by picking the weeds. One way to weed a relationship that gets instant results is to ask how connected your partner is feeling. It might feel like a risky question that could invite negative responses about how you have fallen short. What usually happens however, is that you show that you care, and that you want to connect more with your partner. Just like weeding a flower bed, no matter how efficient you were the week before the weeds are back again next week. Don’t be surprised that a relationship is the same way. Staying connected is a day to day process and you can’t rest on all of the positives of the week before. The emotional bank account needs regular attention, so keep checking in. Pick that first weed by finding out one thing that your partner needs to feel back on track. Usually it is as simple as making a commitment to spend a little more time together.
Some couples feel that they need to fix everything all at once for things to improve, but really what is needed is concentration on a few small things.
It doesn’t take a lot of weeding before the flowers become visible in the garden, and in a relationship small changes can have huge impacts.
4. Finally, remember no matter how dull or grey a season gets, there is always going to be a spring.
It reminds us that nothing ever stays the same, and change is inevitable. Relationships also go through seasons of change and if you want to be a present and engaged partner,you will need to keep up. One way to do that is to ask your partner what has been changing in their life or what they are looking forward to this spring. Knowing about what is happening in your partner’s life and what they are anticipating in the future will helps the two of you feel connected so that you can move forward together.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that these ideas create possibilities for a great conversation over an ice cold glass of lemonade, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air of a new relationship.
Written by: Darren Wilk Edited by: Lawrence Stoyanowski