Before we know it, negativity can creep into the best relationships. It has a sneaky way of taking over. Have you experienced this?
When things are not going well, or you’re overtired, or it’s that time of the month, it’s all too easy to see your partner through critical eyes, where every little thing they do is wrong or annoying. You could be annoyed by the way they slurp their lemonade, when they use a word wrong in a sentence, when they forget to tell you they have to work late. You can make them feel bad when they want to do something without you–watch baseball, go fishing, go shopping or check Facebook.
If one day your spouse asks, “Don’t you like me anymore?” it’s a sure sign that you’ve entered the negative zone.
Three Great Ways to Positivity
Changing negativity into “positivity” can be as simple as borrowing a good parenting technique, one that you may already use with your own kids. Catch them doing something right and praise them for it. This works great with children because it grows their self-esteem and it also works wonderfully well with spouses because it makes them feel appreciated.
Second, start a gratitude list about your partner. Every day, write down three things you like about them. It could be physical: “I love your hands and the way you touch me.” It could be a personality trait: “I appreciate how hard you work even though it takes time away from me and the family.” Or, it could be a behavior: “I like the way you keep up with the laundry for all of us.”
Third, shift from complaining to reclaiming. Instead of complaining that you feel neglected, reclaim it as an invitation to spend time with you. Rather than saying, “I wish you would log off and talk to me,” reclaim it: “Would you be available to help me with dinner in about 15 minutes or do you need more time?” It’s polite, it’s respectful and it’s positive.
What’s in it for you? Well, you free your soul from a negative vibe and you open the door to make more room for joy and happiness. A good investment, wouldn’t you say?
by Janna K. Becherer,Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist