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.
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.