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5 Ways to Maintain Balance in a Relationship

A Simple, Life-Changing Practice for the Stressed, Lonely and Resentful

In my early marriage when things were terribly out of balance, I was seething with resentment about my husband not doing enough chores and not making enough money, which left me with the heavy burden of having to make up for him in both areas.

I had to control the finances since we were always so close to the edge and I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it.

It was very stressful and lonely to feel so out of balance, but I didn’t see any way out.

Maybe you’ve been there too.

Fortunately, I learned a practice that completely changed all that.

Feeling Happy in my relationship

Today my relationship feels much more balanced. Far from doing everything around here, I feel well taken care of and even spoiled! It may even be out of balance the other way, with him doing practically everything and me just coasting along.

And I’m married to the same guy, so go figure.

One big change I made was learning to be a gracious receiver, even when I felt afraid I wouldn’t get what I wanted if I acted happy with what was being offered.

I was wrong about that.

A comparative religion student once told me that every object has yin and yang, or female and male aspects, to it.

With a coffee cup, the yang, or masculine, is the ceramic part, the structure of the cup. The yin, the feminine, is the part that can receive coffee. Without the part that can receive coffee, the yang has no purpose.

I love that metaphor, which I see at work in my marriage everyday.

If I don’t receive, I interfere with my husband’s purpose. When I do receive from him, we both feel happier and our relationship has balance.

Here are five ways that you can experiment with being a better receiver so that you can also feel more taken care of and bring your relationship into balance.

1. Receive Help Graciously

Being Grateful

One thing to experiment with is receiving his help, even if you feel it’s really your job to clean the kitchen. Maybe he doesn’t vacuum the way you like, but it’s still less vacuuming for you if you accept his help.

If you’re not getting all the self-care you want because you don’t receive his help with the kids, how would it be to carve out some time alone and trust him to feed, bathe and care for them while you’re gone?

One time my husband, who hates watermelon, offered to finish cutting a huge watermelon for me because I got tired of cutting it. So I sat and watched and ate watermelon while he cut it, put it away and cleaned up. I was so grateful and appreciative, and he felt like my hero because he was!

So it was a win-win. Talk about having a great balance.

2. Receive Compliments Graciously

My Husband Compliments Me

If you’re anything like I was, you may be rejecting your husband’s compliments by arguing with him when he says you’re beautiful when you first wake up. Or contradicting him when he says your cooking was delicious.

That throws the relationship out of balance, in my experience.

Consider saying only “thank you” instead.

3. Receive Gifts Graciously

Husband buys me Gifts

Have you ever complained that flowers are expensive and a waste of money because they die so fast? Or returned the present he got you?

That’s what I used to do too!

Consider allowing him to buy you gifts and receiving the thoughtfulness and tenderness in them even if they’re not exactly what you had in mind.

4. Receive Special Treatment Graciously

Husband Special Treatment

One coach, who has become a wonderful receiver after starting out with a marriage that was woefully out of balance, described how her husband makes the bed for her every night before she gets in it because he knows she loves a freshly made bed. And they are both so happy he does!

Another one says her husband kisses her all over every morning while singing, “Good morning, I love you, good morning, I love you.”

They are both letting their husbands give them special treatment.

You could also experiment with letting him get the car in the rain or giving you his jacket when you’re cold instead of saying, “Oh no, I’ll be fine.”

5. Receive Apologies Graciously

Receiving Apologies

If you’re in the habit, like I was, of saying “That’s okay” when someone apologizes, consider instead receiving apologies with a heartfelt “thank you” also.

Since receptivity is the essence of femininity and femininity is what men are fundamentally attracted to, restoring balance in your marriage by becoming more receptive also has the side effect of making you more attractive and irresistible.

It may not always feel comfortable to receive graciously, but in my experience, things will get as good as you can stand when you do.

Now that you know more about receiving help, compliments, special treatment and apologies graciously, where would you like to stretch in your receiving?

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.

4 replies on “5 Ways to Maintain Balance in a Relationship”

Hello, I just wanted to say I do think all those are great but when you don’t get anything from your husband you’re never offered help you’re never giving good compliments or sweet compliments and he doesn’t do anything in the relationship anymore how are you supposed to receive anything. Can’t make him do what he should do or what you would like him to do so instead you just wait? Because again I don’t ever get anything out of all the examples that were given above. If I did I would be so ecstatic and appreciative and say thank you and do all those things but again I can’t because I’m never given them. He has never apologized so I don’t know what that wouldbe like. Anyways I still like getting these newsletters and it’s something to hope for one day maybe it’ll happen.

Nina, getting nothing from your husband, not even help or compliments, sounds so lonely.

Should you just make him do what he should? Only you know the answer.

I remember the days when I could not get my husband to do what I wanted, which was so frustrating. Turns out I could not do it alone–I needed a whole tribe of likeminded women and now I receive, receive, receive.

I want it to happen for you too! How would it be to get yourself back to the community that puts you on an amazing path?

Thanks Laura… I love this! And I am curious, how do you receive – if your husband never offers up any of those 5?
I’ve been faithfully practicing the skills and it has created more calm… but has not (yet) inspired any of the special treatment that other wives have written about.
I’ve celebrated with gratitude the few times help or an apology was offered – and it was weeks if not months in between the next.
I realize I can always ask for help (or gifts, etc), but I really wonder if I’m missing something because it would feel much better if he were inspired himself.

You’re welcome, Jen! Even with your Skills, never getting help, gifts and so on, with only the rare apology from you man, is so disappointing and lonely. It sounds like something is going missing for sure. You shouldn’t have to go without any special treatment! Here’s a free Roadmap of 6 simple steps that have helped thousands of women turn things around so you too can inspire special treatment without having to ask for it:

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