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8 Creative Ways to Take Your Relationship Up a Notch

How to Make Things Better without Him Even Knowing What You Did

When your relationship is in the doldrums, it’s tempting to blame your husband for the problems.

That was my initial approach and it didn’t help matters. At all!

I really believed if he would be more romantic, help clean up more and make more money, everything would be great.

Turns out the joke was on me because I was the one with the key to making things amazing.

Focusing on his shortcomings and coming up with various diagnoses for him never got me what I wanted in my marriage. I just experienced what I was focused on. His ADD seemed worse than ever whenever I looked in on his disheveled office with a critical eye.

Fortunately, I found a better way to get the attention, affection and special treatment I now enjoy.

Here are 8 ways to grow your marriage without him even knowing what you’re doing.

1. Nap

When my husband seems like an annoying loser-pants, chances are I’m not at my best. Usually it’s because I’m tired.

Therefore, the most important thing to do next is to rest.

When I’m well rested, it’s much easier to view the world–including my husband–with appreciation and respect. When I wake up, I sometimes think he’s had a complete personality transplant.

But what if your husband really is an annoying loser-pants, you might wonder?

How about if you go take a nap so you can find out for sure?

2. Go on a Gratitude Kick

Once you’re well-rested, you can decide to focus on your husband’s good qualities (instead of those other ones that seem glaring) by making a gratitude list about him.

Is he funny? Does he work hard? Is he patient? Good at fixing things? Athletic? Protective? Does he share your values, speak three languages or play the guitar?

There was something about that guy that had you choose him. What was it? Aren’t you glad you have a husband with those great traits and talents?

3. Get Silly

So much needs to be done everyday, and you’re probably a hard worker yourself. But what about taking time for fun?

I know it seems low priority and frivolous to bring out the water blasters or shoot rubber bands or put googly eyes on the food in the fridge, especially if your relationship feels heavy and hard right now.

But being silly is part of being in love. And if the silly is missing, you can easily bring it back by doing somersaults, drawing mustaches on magazine models or making up outrageous backstories for the neighbors you know nothing about.

4. Take a Break

One thing I was terrible at when my marriage was miserable was taking a break. I just kept telling myself I had to do more and more, but that hasn’t turned out to be true.

Today I’m much better about leaving my desk and going for a walk, yapping on the phone for a while or reading funny tweets even if I think I should be getting something done.

So far, nothing bad has happened, but I feel lighter and happier. And that in turn makes my relationship feel lighter and happier.

5. Dwell on Your Desires

Another thing that contributed to my marriage problems was my complaining habit. I had heard that I shouldn’t complain, but that sounded as impossible as not breathing when there were so many things wrong with my marriage and my life!

Now I think of my complaints as lazy desires.

Just figuring out what I want instead of what I don’t want helps my husband know how the heck to please me, which means I have a much better chance of getting it.

Plus, I’m not a whiny complainer anymore, which was not very attractive to him or to me.

6. Feel Pretty

Maybe you have inner criticism for your appearance, like most women do.

But maybe there’s also something–like putting on your favorite lipstick, a new top, or your best fragrance–that makes you feel cute. Maybe a manicure does that for you, or curling your hair or sleeping with a face mask.

Feeling cute is the same as feeling confident, and confidence is attractive.

What would make you feel more confident today?

7. Start a Smile Campaign

Along those lines, smiling not only makes you look better, it also makes you feel better. So if you decide to smile at everyone you see today, every time you see them, it will make you more attractive and happier.

What does that have to do with your relationship? Only happy people have happy relationships. And making yourself happy is the theme of this blog, as you’ve probably noticed.

8. Show Him You’re Happy to See Him

Now that you’re feeling so good, how about sharing some of your enthusiasm when you see your man? You could tell him how happy you are and maybe even say, “I’m happy you’re home!” or “Great to see you!”

If it feels awkward or goofy to be so enthusiastic, it may be that you feel vulnerable about being gushy. But gushy is endearing.

Think about your dog, who’s happy every time he sees you, even if you just saw him five minutes ago. Isn’t that so appealing?

Maybe you’re not actually happy to see your husband, so it wouldn’t be authentic. Or sometimes you are and sometimes you’re not, so you’ll reserve your enthusiasm for the days when you feel like it.

But what if it were your policy to be happy to see him because it represented your position that overall you are so happy to be his wife?

It could just take your relationship up an entire big notch or two.

Which of these ways will you experiment with to grow your relationship this week? Please share in the comments section below.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

15 replies on “8 Creative Ways to Take Your Relationship Up a Notch”

the past several blogs you have posted I strongly disagreed with them. But this one….I TOTALLY agree with! 🙂 I have gone through 2 very awful years with my husband having an emotional thing going on with a coworker. I could not make him understand he was supposed to communicate with his wife first. (which he rarely does) I finally waved my white flag. I started journaling/venting in a diary app on my phone. Every time I felt like nagging or ripping his head off, I took that frustration out in an entry. It has taken that edge off of me and made it easier to be more friendlier with him. I have re entered the silliness to our relationship and it has helped tremendously. I am still a work in progress. But I am trying to be a wife tha he would WANT to communicate with.

I really want to learn how to be silly again! I feel like I’m not sure how to do this anymore. =/

I love your humour, Laura, the “personality transplant” comment had me laughing. I’m going to do the one about being happy to see him… lately I’ve we’ve both been stressed, so it’s a tired hug hello, but I always am so happy to have him home so I’m going to make that more obvious. I know from the past that it can set the tone for the whole evening 🙂

Whow thats great i did not even realise that by smiling at other’s has an impact in your marriage. thanks again Laura

Laura reading this blog was self care for the day!
thank you for always challenging us to be our best selves

I want to work on feeling prettier/cuter, smiling more and being silly. I’m not sure I know how that works anymore exactly, I’m always too serious. My silliness is usually flirting, but maybe I need to be silly in other ways too, so he isn’t thinking all I want is sex, lol!

I have always been a bit silly – I call it “whimsical”. Tried to train it out of me as I am a “professional/highly educated person”. Thanks for permission to go with my muse!

I just finished reading “The Surrendered Single.” Feeling pretty, smiling and looking forward to meeting a good guy.

I need support. Someone to talk with about my marriage. Where can i find a support group. I have no one to talk to about this. So far ive enjoyed the surrendered wife and i am starting the empowered wife. Thank you. Cyndi

Absolutely love your work, Laura. It has positively saved relationship with my boyfriend of five years. Believe me, his ex wife has plenty of things to say about him that are not so great. If I had my critical that I could too. But, he is a man that has lots of wonderful qualities, when I Focus on these qualities our relationship flourishes, when I don’t, our relationship suffers.

Had I known about your work seven years earlier, it might have save my marriage. But, I have moved on and am making the best I can with what’s already happened.
I am in a unique situation in that my ex-husband and I built an additional home on or 5 acres of property, so that we could both be close to our children. We were good enough friends after our separation that we decided that, even though we didn’t want to be together, we still had a responsibility for our kids to create a harmonious situation for them. It has worked out really well and we are dear friends. I get along well with his girlfriend of two years, and he and my boyfriend get along very well too. I say all this because I have watched how using your principles produces great effects for both my boyfriend and my ex husband. I feel like I have two men looking out for me. I notice when I am kind and praise them for their efforts I get more of what I desire. The other day I meddled in my boyfriends business affairs, even after I thought better of it. It backfired instantaneously and took a few hours to repair the damage. It was such a clear reflection of how unhelpful Unsolicited advice really is.

What if I am silly quite often , but he doesn’t get my sense of humour? That has always pained me from the start of our relationship. I feel that I have to walk on eggshells all the time and I cannot let my hair down, lest he judge me as an idiot. I can’t win for loosin’.

Breathing deeply as I reply because these are things I knew to do and did. After years of feeling unappreciated, I let these habits go because the desire to be this woman left me. Reading this makes me realize that I’d all but forgotten how to be happy. Still, this is the woman I was created and desire be. So, I’ll start by smiling and refocusing on the truest desires for our marriage (because it’s not just mine). Thanks Laura.

Great advice! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Ten years ago I took the challenge to surrender and never looked back. It has changed everything. I read a text my husband wrote to his friend the other day and he actually told him he had once had the same kind of troubled marriage but with patience and commitment now enjoys “marital bliss”. I wholeheartedly agree, but he has no idea how the change came about. Many thanks to Laura Doyle!

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