A couple in my office recently heard me say, “You need a new marriage.”
She looked at me with surprise in her face, they were paying me to help them save their marriage, not to tell them they need a new one.
“Keep your spouse, ” I responded, “and get a new marriage.”
Better is always different – by definition. That isn't always true the other way around, and that's why different can seem scary. If we truly want an upgrade, it depends on our willingness to change.
The good news is… You can upgrade your relationship today, right now, without materially changing anything about your spouse or situation. Try this:
  1. Find gratitude in where you are right now without changing anything. Notice the good and focus on it. This doesn't make the bad go away, what it does is changes your position. Through gratitude for what it is, you put yourself in an ideal position to then improve it.
  2. Give social gifts. In your next interaction with your spouse, make it your objective to give one of these four social gifts (originally from Dr. Ann Demarais in her book, First Impressions.)
    • Appreciation (easier now because of step 1)
    • Connection – what you have in common.
    • Enlightenment – new information – “Did you know…”
    • Elevation – cheerfulness and light mood, smile!

Your relationship is already good – and you can make it even better.

“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen”

~ Horace Mann

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Yes, indeed, you are right in all of what you have said, so far. Here’s a bit more for you and your readers to consider:

    The most important element of improving relationships is also the most difficult — and the easiest — it is certainly the simplest. Listening. Not just listening to what your significant other says, but to what he or she is say-ing. Really hearing what your spouse is happy about, or upset about, or irritated or frustrated or, angry about; acknowledging their pain or problem, despite their often irrational statements and arguments; opens the door to real communication and connection — and, where appropriate, negotiation of a solution that works for both of you.

    This is a practiced skill — and attitude — that is rooted and grounded in love, real love, unconditional love, of this person who for lots of great reasons, is your best friend. It also works just as well with all relationships, business, social, political…

    Just thinking outloud, here, Dr. Paul. Thanks for inviting my input.

    Love, Thomas Cantrell,
    Administrative Trial Advocates, International