You may have been feeling dissatisfied in your relationship focusing on all the kinds of things that irritate you about your partner and everything that’s missing but has it occurred to you that you can change all that, that you can – if you’re willing – rediscover your love for your partner?
Believe it or not, that’s a choice, a decision you can make right here, right now.
Chances are that it’s not just you who’re feeling unappreciated, taken for granted, hurt and resentful, that your partner feels as you do with neither one of you having felt able to express your feelings in such a way that the other can hear.
Chances are that your habits of criticising, defending, blaming and going on the counter-attack have led you to this place where you’re both feeling unloved and perhaps even lonely in your relationship.
If you’ve had enough then this is your chance to change things by doing something different:
Sit down with your partner, tell them what you want and why, and suggest a time when you’re both physically and emotionally available.
Arrange time where you can each think about what you’d like to bring to the table.
I suggest you set down some ground rules such as
- Agree how long each of you should speak – long enough to be able to talk about the things that hurt you the most but not so long that you overwhelm each other.
- Agree not to judge and blame; only to talk about the things that make you feel hurt and resentful.
- Listen without interrupting, justifying or trying to explain.
- Listen with an open heart, not just waiting until it’s your turn to speak.
The next time talk about your old hurts and resentments, making sure you don’t sound judgemental or blaming. Say, “when you (do or say or don’t do or notice) (x), I feel (y)”
Ask questions to clarify, ask them to tell you more about something and listen, listen, listen!
Be warned, you may find some of the things your partner says hard to hear – but hearing them you must!
Try hard to cover the most important things in one sitting so you can move on to the next stage, the one that will enable you to rediscover and reinforce your love for each other.
To help you get started I suggest you both take time out to reflect on the following:
- What do you need to feel loved in your relationship? To help you with this, take Dr Gary Chapman’s quiz 5lovelanguages.com
In his research Dr. Chapman discovered that couples are often unaware of their own and their partner’s preferred love language so you might like to do this quiz together.
- Ask your partner what they’d like you to stop doing (hint: it might be nagging, blaming, criticising, taking them for granted).
- Ask your partner what they’d like you to do more of (hint: it might be more listening without judging or interrupting, it might be to do what you said you would do, it might be to notice and appreciate their efforts).
- Remind each other what you loved about them when you first got together.
- Make a conscious effort to refocus your thoughts about your partner when you catch yourself falling back into your old negative, critical thinking habits.
Use this approach together to rekindle your love for each other. You can also start on your own.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. I coach women over 50 who have not yet made the connection between love and wellbeing.
P.P.S. My third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ is now on Amazon and getting 5* reviews!