Dr. Romance: Does your relationship need a spring cleaning?

 Dr. Romance: tips on spring cleaning your marriage:

Over an extended period of time, dust and detritus can accumulate in even the best marriage. Spring cleaning, to clear out the cobwebs and re-energize your connection, is a great idea. Just like a regular housework schedule, regular weekly talks (I call them State of the Union discussions) keep the problems minor, the resentment level down, and the communication open, so that there is time and space for intimacy.

In a successful, long term relationship, passion becomes a shared sense of humor and goodwill toward each other

1. Learn to negotiate and solve problems together. Generally speaking, men value competency and problem solving. Women value intimacy and emotional connection. Learning successful problem solving ends fighting and power struggles, and therefore leads to more intimacy. She may think he's focused entirely on time, power or money, but what he's really trying to do is create enough security that he can feel safe to let his guard down. He may think she's nagging and bugging him, but what she's trying to do is create a comforting and soothing atmosphere where she can relax and feel connected.

2. Tidy up your intimacy: Regard your face to face time as sacred (it is --it will bless your marriage.) Take time to listen to each other. Touch as often as possible (put your hand on your
spouse's leg while driving; give him or her a little squeeze now and then, hug and kiss each other.) Create a cuddling space in front of the television, on the porch swing, in your bedroom,
and use it. Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted. When this feeling is created, barriers fall. Gentle touch, eye contact a gentle sense of humor and the right words all create the atmosphere. Positive comments on your partner's looks or the day's activities positively will also help. Couples disconnect when they don't feel interested in each other any more. To reconnect, make an effort to listen and understand each others’ needs and wants.

3. Like shoring up the foundation of your house for earthquake safety, creating a healthy partnership gives your marriage a solid foundation. The most powerful thing you can do to keep a marriage strong is form a partnership, a team, where both parties feel respected, cared about and needed. If you really want to restore the marriage, begin not by complaining, but by seeking to understand your partner. Once the connection is there, you can begin to work out the issues.

4. Wash away old resentments and air out grudges: Talk about what's bothering you in a rational way. Ask clearly for what you want, and let your partner know why it's important to you. If you can't find a way to agree, go for a counseling session. Resentment will destroy your marriage --for the price of one session, before the problem gets too large, you can save it.

5. Shine sunlight on and appreciate the beauty in your environment. Let your partner know you appreciate what he or she does, personality traits, (i.e.: his sense of humor, her generosity, his practicality, her hard work) and companionship. The more you praise what you like, the more you'll get of it. We all want to be appreciated. Celebration + appreciation = motivation

Adapted from: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage

MoneySexKids galley cover

For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.







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