Spring Cleaning For Your Relationship

Ah, spring. Those first few warm days where people feel the urge to open the windows, dust away the cobwebs, and deep clean the grime that has accumulated over the winter. Relationships can benefit from a regular “clean up” as well, or in this context it could be more of a “check in.” Whether it’s once a year on your anniversary or as often as a weekly or monthly date night, make a point to touch base with each other on the state of your relationship. Here are some things you might have on your task list:

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Baby Steps to Relationship Growth

Growing is part of life. Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, you name it – we grow in so many ways throughout our lives. The thing about growing, though, is that there isn’t a shortcut. We usually can’t skip over the hard, uncomfortable, or awkward parts even though we’d sometimes like to (middle school flashbacks – yikes). Even though it might not seem like it at the time, those stages are valuable. We learn a lot from them, often gaining experience and insight that helps us down the road. Through this, we also gain the confidence to stretch the boundaries of our current state, growing as we tackle the next step.

It’s not entirely surprising then, that our confidence and motivation can take a hit when our “next step” is too big.  Sometimes we go for it and fall, and we say, “Okay, not trying that again anytime soon!” Sometimes we just can’t even fathom how we’ll make it, so we don’t even try. 

Have you ever experienced this? How about in your relationship?

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How to Become Positive Marriage Role Models

We know we learn through observing others – this is natural human behavior. Previously on the blog, we’ve talked about what marriage lessons we learn from our families – either as a young kid or even into our adulthood when we’re so kindly given those one-liner pieces of advice from family members. Thinking about those lessons, we encouraged you to consider what things you carry forward and strive to live up to in your marriage and relationships, as what you’d rather leave behind. Your family has good intentions, but they’re likely not all marriage experts.

What happens when you flip the question, to ask not about what you learned, but what can you teach others?

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The Two-Way Street of Defensiveness

Is it just us or does the statement, “Don’t get so defensive!” seem to have the same effect as when someone tells you, “Just try to relax!”

In other words, it makes you feel the opposite of what’s intended – more defensive, less relaxed.

Unfortunately, defensiveness can be a catalyst for negative communication patterns. It can make it hard to talk through issues and be open, authentic, and vulnerable with each other.

Sometimes our defensiveness is our own doing, and sometimes it’s just a natural response to protect ourselves if we’re feeling attacked or exposed. And that’s why if we want to decrease defensiveness, it’s not just one person that needs to put in the effort – it’s a two-way street.

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