Today's continuation: More about relationships. This time: Your NUMBER ONE relationship (spouse, lover, boyfriend/girlfriend.)
This is probably the most important relationship in your life. You should be working diligently at making it a GREAT one. Now, we all get lazy. I'm just as guilty as everyone else. But, at the end of the day, THIS relationship is the one that counts. THIS relationship is your "soft place to land," the one that helps you unwind and decompress and holds your shit together. It's also the one you hope will be around after your kids are grown. Nurture it. Every.Single.Day.
Every day? I can hear some of you groaning already. Yes, every day. Even if it's just one simple small act of kindness directed at your number ONE. Every day. Ask if there is something you can do for them. If they seem hurried, or stressed...offer to take something off their plate. If you know they are stressed because of work (which, mostly likely, you can't help with,) pick up an extra "chore" or two at home that is normally delegated to them. If you both work, this still applies. You normally cook, and they clean up after the meal...but you know they are stressed about something--let them sit and read, or watch some mind numbing TV, or go for a walk, or take a shower...whatever THEIR thing is, let them do it, with no guilt, while YOU do the required extra work. Relationships are a give and take, and when YOU are the stressed out one, they SHOULD jump in, too. If your relationship is not give and take, I suggest you stand up and bang a gong and get that number ONE's attention and reset your scales, establish some balance. Now, maybe doing the dishes will make your number ONE feel better. It's important to note that I speak from a place of my number ONE being an "acts of service" love language fella. If it sounded like I switched to greek there, I recommend you read this article. And check out The Five Love Languages Book. Learn HOW to tell your number ONE that you love them. Sometimes, YOU think you're doing it because you are doing things in the way YOU would want them done. Maybe your spouse speaks a different language. It's at least worth a shot, right? What is there to lose, truly? My love languages are physical touch, and gifts. I love presents, even little tiny ones (post-its...my number ONE leaves me post-its. It's the most wonderful gift. A note that just says "Smile," is hard to ignore.) My number ONE's love languages are physical touch (we really lucked out there, that our number one way of communication is the same, phew) and acts of service. Pitching in and doing something for him, or asking what I can do...goes a long way (and sometimes, he doesn't even WANT me to do anything...but he's always pleased and glowy feeling just because I ASKED.)
It's also a good practice to throw in a little of ALL the love languages. Touch your number ONE. Tell them they look nice (my number ONE is great at telling me he thinks I'm sexy...at random times, not just when he's trying to get laid.) DO something FOR them. Buy them a small gift that made you think of them. Leave them a note. My number ONE is superb at this. But it hasn't always been that way. We've been down the rabbit hole. We hit a 7 year rut (a little early..) and I thought it was toast. I was waving my white flag and packing my toys to go. By some miracle, and a lot of hard work on our (mostly his) part, we have righted the ship. I would be hard pressed to come up with any suggestions for making our relationship better at this point. Do I think it will always be this way....with a lot of maintenance, yeah. Will it have slumps? Yeah. Will we have to pick it back up after driving into the ditch again? I hope it never gets that bad again, but if it does, we'll give it a go. ;)
I know some of you have been married a long time. Things get 'off' sometimes after so many years together. Heck, things can get off after only a few months together. You get into a rut. You fall into a routine. You like the routine. You resent having to change it. Knock that shit off. Despite what you may think, or may have been told...you aren't the center of the universe. If you're going to be IN this with someone else, you're going to have to be IN it. Give and take, babe. Give and take.