To march is to move. It suggests moving forward and moving forward with gusto. If you've been thinking about ways to enhance your relationship, now is the time to march. Yes, the pun is intended. Sometimes, the hardest part is just taking that initial step. Yet, once you get moving you can use the momentum to propel you forward. Here are some suggestions to create movement and productive change between you and your spouse:
March boldly into the "conversation" you've needed to have
We are constantly amazed at how many couples come to us with a concern. Then, when asked if they've ever brought it up with their spouse, they say, "No?" as if that's an idea that never occurred to them. A healthy and vital relationship demands constant and clear communication — all of the time. The more you actually talk with each other, listen, and spend time working through issues, the more your communication skills will grow, and your intimacy deepen. Additionally, there shouldn't be any topic that can't be discussed. If there is, now is the time to address it. Remember, as much as you may be tempted to "talk," also remember to be a curious listener and stay on topic. Having a much-needed conversation involves just as much "shutting up" as it does "opening up."
Don't think, DO
Sometimes we overanalyze and talk ourselves out of things because we fear rejection or we think we'll look "silly." On the other hand, sometimes it's those "silly" things that make the most lasting memories, or make someone's day. For example, if you're walking by a flower shop and think, "Hmmm, I think my spouse would like that, but I'm late. Maybe she won't like that color. I'll do it some other time," stop yourself. Pull out five bucks, and buy the flower. Sometimes, going with your first impulse is the right choice. Intimacy lives in the present — meaning now. Take a break from your worries about the future, and the disappointments of the past to enjoy the here-and-now. Dance with each other in the kitchen, play a spontaneous game of catch, or just sit next to each other on the couch for five minutes. The world will continue to spin while you pause to make sure your relationship remains the center of that world.
Spring is a time for renewal. It is a great time to review some of the relationship goals you might have set in January. It has been two long and dreary months since January. Maybe those goals have been forgotten. Take a look at what you wanted to do this year to enhance your relationship. Then, forgive yourself for getting a slow start and begin anew. It may mean starting a regular date night, or spending less time on the iPhone and more time with each other. Perhaps, it's going to bed early for quality time. Realize that you don’t have to wait until next January to begin again. Get going now.
Check your lenses
Buying sunglasses is always a sure sign of spring and good things to come. Usually you have to try on a few pairs before you find the ones you like. It’s also good to periodically check to see if you are looking at your relationship through a skewed lens. Are you filtering out the good things and only noticing and keeping an eye out for the negative? Check your lens and start noticing all of the things your partner is getting right. Then, tell them! Whether it's a little note, a quick phone or text, or an actual statement, the more you notice the efforts from your partner the more ongoing efforts you will see.
Be the partner you want to be
Think about the type of partner you dreamed of when you thought of marriage. Now, turn that focus on yourself. Are you being that type of spouse, or are you waiting for your partner to be how you want them to be? Why don't YOU take the first step and be that spouse you dreamed you would be. Do a self-inventory and create your plan to start showing up in your relationship in a way that is fulfilling to you. While it is nice to be loved, it is equally nice to love.
Kristin regularly presents at various universities and to community groups on relationships and perinatal mental health and sexuality as well as finding balance and wellness in everyday living. She has a passion for women’s mental health, human and relational sexuality, spirituality and relationships. Kristin is a wife and mom of two children.