Falling in love is easy. Being in love - for the long haul - can be a lot harder
Things that, in the early days, you either didn’t ‘clock’, or registered as endearing quirks, can drive you crazy. You can get irritated because he so different to you (that Why-Can’t-A-Man-Be-More Like-A-Woman? thing) or else because he’s so like you that you see your own shortcomings in him - and they drive you mad.
My dad used to say: “When you get married, Love flies out of the window.” The divorce and relationship break-up statistics prove he had a point. Keeping the windows permanently shut is not the solution. Here’s how you can let more AIR into your relationship, and make sure a painful break-up doesn’t happen to you.
Somewhere along the line most women feel we have a Mission: we’re talent scouts out to help our man realize his full potential, artists who see how best to tweak and refine our masterpiece, diamond cutters hell bent on showing off our rough diamond to his best advantage. The only problem is he’s not just ungrateful for our expert input, he actually resents it!
Just like you, he thrives on appreciation, not criticism and/or unsolicited 'improvement'. The more you let him know what’s great about him, the more inclined he’ll be to show up as the best version of himself he can be. Often, disgruntled clients say: “Well, I would, Annie. But there’s not a lot to appreciate. Besides, why shouldn't he start it by appreciating me?”
You’re an adult woman. Someone’s got to set an example: it might as well be you. The more you start looking for things to appreciate, the more you're likely to find. (And if, at first, he looks like a man who scents a trap, be patient. He just needs Reassurance Training - so he can get into the habit of receiving and giving Appreciation.)
Laura was convinced her husband should start the Appreciation process, while Andy didn't know where to start. When Laura stopped waiting - and telling Andy what he should be doing to improve the marriage – and began expressing Appreciation instead, their problems and conflicts faded away. Within 2 months they were as 'loved up' as newly-weds.
Still struggling with the idea of Appreciation? Intention may help. Ask yourself: “What is his best intention?“ Let me explain what I mean. I’m blessed to have a wonderful partner. However, every so often, he drives me crazy - by saying the wrong thing. There are times when his mind-reading skills don’t even come near my expectation! (That expectation of him is, of course, totally unreasonable, but let’s not even go there.) When I notice my internal rage-ometer rising rapidly, I ask myself:
“What is his best intention?”
Sometimes, my partner says things I don’t want to hear. Why does he do that? Because he always has my back and, from where he stands, he sees potential problems he wants to protect me from. His Intention couldn't be more honourable and selfless.
A partner's perspective doesn't always coincide with yours. All that matters is that what he says and does is coming from a good, supportive, caring place.
It's often said that you should live each day as if it was your last. I say, Live Each Day As If It Was Your Partner's Last. This is not about scaremongering, but perspective – once again. If you truly thought that this could be the last day you got to spend with your beloved partner how much would it matter to you whether he had:
- Left the toilet seat up
- Not done his share of the housework and/or childcare
- Forgotten something you thought he should have remembered
Or committed other similar small crimes or misdemeanours?
Familiarity breeds. Mostly, it breeds the wrong things; like frustration, irritation, and intolerance. It has a curious knack of subverting priorities so that you end up expending the most time and energy on what matters the least. Having a loving partner far outweighs having a tidy home, a nice car in the drive, or how that urban myth, Other People, might think. Remember every day that your loving partner is a precious gift.
Your love can last a lifetime provided you remember this: Love may be low maintenance, but it isn't NO maintenance. When you devote just 10 minutes a day to letting more AIR into your relationship, magic will happen.
Annie Kaszina PhD is an international speaker, leading women's relationship expert, and author of "Do You Choose Your Dog More Carefully Than Your Husband?" A former relationship disaster, she has spent the last 10+ years helping bright, heart-centered, professional women enjoy the harmonious, loving relationships they desire. For a free chapter from Annie's book, as well as more relationship tips, tools, and techniques click here.