Relationships are a source of joy and pain for women. If they are going right- nothing can be better. But if things are less than perfect, they are a source of stress that often ripples into other areas of life.
In my work with women and their spouses, one small thing can prevent the distance from setting in- and in couples who have drifted apart, it can bring some of the magic back. It has to do with looking for (and acting on) the “openings” for connection.
Have you ever had a long, tiring day and said, “It would be so nice to not have to worry about cooking dinner.” That’s an opening! If your spouse is tuned in, they would hear that and think, “Hmm…Thursdays are always busy for her. Maybe I can offer to bring home take-out on those nights.”
That’s an example of an opening. Men and women give openings. Men’s openings can be very subtle. Often, you really have to read between the lines for them (and as women, we’re pretty good at that). And, being as many of them are slightly stubborn, they can prove to be very hard to do things for.
With men, one opening that we as women often overlook is acknowledging their efforts. There are many times that they really do try. While the effort is there, the end result sometimes is less than perfect. Instead of criticizing, acknowledge that they tried.
So if your husband were to bring home pizza on a busy Thursday night to keep you from cooking, it’s not the best time to remind him of your resolution to eat fewer carbs. Thank him for taking one thing off of your plate. Instead of inviting in criticism and distance, you’ve just connected. And, you’ve increased the chance of him trying something again in the future.
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