Spring is here! It’s that time of year when everyone cleans crumbs out of the back of the pantry, dust bunnies out from under the bed, and scrubs the grime from little hands from all of the doorways in the house. Spring cleaning your home is important, but have you ever thought to spring clean your relationship?
Why Spring Clean Your Relationship?
Your relationship with your spouse needs love and attention. Treat it with care, not only will you feel happier and more secure, but if there are children involved, you will be setting a great example for them.
I don’t feel the need to have my kids think that the relationship between their parents is all sunshine and rainbows. I want them to know that relationships require effort, care and work. More importantly, I want them to know that the effort put into creating a loving and lasting relationship is well worth the time. I’m no relationship expert or love guru, but I do have a Master’s in Psychology and a few years of marriage under my belt. So here are my 5 steps to help you spring clean your relationship!
The 5 Steps
Out with the old and in with the new.
There is only one way to really do this, communication. I know you’ve heard a million times how necessary communication is in a relationship, but are you still wondering how to actually go about ‘communicating‘? Find some alone time, it might be a date night if you can get a sitter, or maybe it’s some time set aside after the kids are in bed, however you can, schedule some time to connect and communicate.
Set some ground rules with the intention of getting things off of your chest while maintaining respect for one another. Use phrases that start with “I feel like ___” rather than the accusatory “You did ___.”, and don’t forget to listen. Once you have both gotten that off of your chest, wipe the slate clean and move on.
De-clutter the distractions.
In a technological world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our phones, on the computer, or on a video game while spending time with our spouses. Find the distractions in your marriage, and find a way to reduce them. If that means no phones at the table, or turning the tv off at a certain time, do it. More time to connect and less time engaging in an activity that your spouse resents, will make you both happier.
Recycle your happy moments.
Think back to the times when you were happiest in your relationship. Reflect on the reasons you fell in love to begin with. Try to recreate those in whatever way you can. Maybe this means getting creative; if one of your happy moments was walking down the beach in Hawaii at sunset, grab some fake leis from the local party store, put on a sundress, and recreate the memory at home. Your spouse will appreciate the sentiment, and nostalgia will hit you like a wave.
Take a walk down memory lane.
Look through old photo albums, talk about your first date, reminisce on the births of your children. Find your happy place, your calm in the storm. Sharing memories with the people you love is part of the bond that will provide you with lasting companionship.
Spend quality time polishing.
Just like you would polish your silver tea set (does anyone actually have one of these?), do the same for your relationship. Are there things that aren’t working? Is the nagging to have your husband take out the trash…ahem…not working? Find a new tactic. Explore ways to improve areas of your day-to-day interactions so that the resentment and the guilt don’t build up. It’s the small things that sometimes need the most polishing.
A New Take on Spring Cleaning
I hope you find some of these tips to spring clean your relationship helpful. Like I said before, it’s OK for relationships to need help, it’s normal for them to take work. Communication, reflection and respect will get you far. Let go of the negative, and shoot for the positive.
And if you do get to the pantry, under the bed, and to the doorways, kudos to you, you’ve most likely gotten much farther than me! Happy Spring!