Working on a relationship can be a challenge, especially when you are focusing on what’s wrong with your marriage. Sometimes all you need to turn the tide is to infuse some positive energy into the relationship. Here are three ways to infuse love into your relationship and lighten things up:
1. Express Your Appreciation
When you’re feeling resentful, it may be hard to see the good in your spouse. But it is precisely at that moment that you can and need to make the shift from negativity to feelings of fondness. The more you express to your spouse what you appreciate about him, the more good you’ll see in him. In turn, your spouse’s resentment will diminish as he realizes that you appreciate him.
It is also a great way to reinforce positive behavior. Taking out the garbage never felt so good. Just one expression of appreciation can set off a chain reaction of positive energy in your relationship. As you both begin to feel more loved and valued, you will be much more willing to give to each other.
Take a few minutes a day and sit down and gaze into each other’s eyes. Don’t just say thank you. Share what you appreciate and why it means so much to you. If you are on the receiving end, don’t respond, just listen and savor the kind words expressed by your spouse.
2. Demonstrate Your Love
While you may feel that the fire has gone out of your marriage, if you increase your acts of love to your spouse, you will come to increase your own feelings of love for her. This means doing actions that show you care, that are done unconditionally to make your spouse feel loved and cared for.
Think about what would give your spouse pleasure, and do it. Cook him his favorite dinner, buy her flowers, take the kids off her hands. Not only will you generate love from your spouse, you will also begin to feel more love.
Learn about Dr Gary Chapman’s five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. While you may feel loved when receiving a gift, your spouse may prefer you driving carpool or giving him/her a hug. Knowing your spouse’s love language will help you make sure that you are not just practicing caring behaviors, but that the intended results are achieved; your spouse actually feels cared for.
3. Date Night
With your busy schedule and possible disinterest in your relationship, it might be extremely challenging to make time to go out with your spouse. Let me make a suggestion: plan time to have fun. Planning fun? How unspontaneous! True – but it may be the only way that you’ll ever get around to enjoying each other’s company. [The same is true for scheduling time for intimacy!]
Make a set time once a week where you go out together and enjoy each other’s company. By making a set time, you are demonstrating to each other that you are committed to your relationship. If you don’t’ plan it, you may have the best intentions to spend time together, but your hectic life just doesn’t ever allow for it to happen. This can lead to nagging and resentment.
While date night does not replace daily interaction, it does keep the relationship in a positive space and defuses a lot of potential conflict. For couples steeped in negativity it will help rekindle the flame and allow you to experience some of the fun times that made you originally fall in love with your spouse.
According to Dr John Gottman’s research, couples must have a 5:1 ratio of positive-to-negative interactions everyday, and those positive interactions are the key to predicting the success and longevity of a relationship. Expressing appreciation, demonstrating love through action, and date night are three great ways to infuse love into your marriage and pave the way for a successful and long-lasting relationship.
If your marriage requires more immediate assistance, download your free copy of Rabbi Slatkin’s book, Is My Marriage Over: The Five Step Action Plan to Saving Your Marriage.