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9 Little Ways To Become A Better Spouse Right Now
It may sound a little hokey at first, but "start a gratitude journal of all the things your spouse does for you, and write down one thing every day," suggests Rebecca West, design psychology coach and author of . And think small: From tiny things like saying "excuse me" when he burped at dinner (seriously, start that small—it all counts), to big things like taking your mom to her doctor's appointment, the more you pay attention to the things your spouse brings to the marriage, the happier your marriage will be, she believes.
Instead, try "How do you feel about how your day went?" "This changes the question from a fact-finding mission to one that digs into your partner's heart and creates a deeper connection," says couples' therapist Marni Feuerman. When your spouse talks about a meeting with his boss or the new assistant messing up at work, "ask about the impact it's having on him." Does this leave him scared, unhappy, angry? "This offers the opportunity to empathize and show that you are there for him in an emotionally supportive way. It also gives you more of a glimpse into his inner world." (Say these 7 things everyday if you want a stronger relationship.)
"The reality is that when we are overly emotional, our common sense gets buried and our tongue gets looser. You'll have better results if you take a breather to calm down and regain your wits," says marriage and lifestyle coach Midori Verity. Of course, the issue will still need to be dealt with, but waiting until you can talk with a clear head will be far better for your relationship.
A criticism is a deliberate attack on a person's character with the intent to inflict emotional pain. It's meant to be a jab. A complaint, on the other hand, is a request for a change in behavior. "Most people interpret complaints as criticism and take them personally, and when this happens they miss the opportunity to connect with their partner," says psychotherapist Crystal Bradshaw.
When you hear a complaint from your partner, try to hear the request, she says, and try to help your partner articulate what he or she is struggling to share. "Try not to get defensive and make it about you; instead focus your energy on what's hidden in the complaint to help your partner get their needs met." (If you're feeling ignored by your partner, ask these 7 questions.)
Here's an example she gives: "You used to help me work in the yard on the weekends. We used to enjoy doing this stuff together and planning projects. Now I do it all myself." The hidden request: "I want to do yard work with you. I want us to do it together like we used to.
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