It’s spring! And with it comes a fresh sense of life and new beginnings. That’s why people are motivated do some spring cleaning – to clear clutter and restart fresh. Spring is also a great time to give your relationship a check-in, a tune-up, and a spring cleaning as necessary.
We all get stuck in our own patterns and it shouldn’t surprise us (although it often does) that sometimes these patterns annoy our partner. The nice and quiet ones don’t tell you this. They just suffer through hoping things will change or wait for the perfect opportunity to talk about it. The more direct partners will tell you straight out that you’re annoying them. Either way, setting a time to go over where you each are in the relationship and how you’re feeling helps you grow together. And it’s best done when emotions are calm rather than in the middle of a disagreement. So, take time to plan for a relationship spring cleaning.
Here’s a four-step guide on prepping for a relationship spring cleaning. Ask yourself:
1. What is going well? What words and actions does your partner use and do that work for you? What things do you like and want to keep happening or maybe see more of?
2. What words and actions don’t feel so great? Are there ways your partner says some things or behaviors they do (or don’t do) that you wish were different? As you think of these, also think of what it is you wish they did instead.
3. Use a 3:1 ratio for the above. Think of three positives to one negative and write them down. It’s hard to hear that you’re doing something that your partner doesn’t like. Help soften the blow by offering several more things that they’re doing right. If you each use the same formula, then hopefully it’ll feel fair.
4. Wrap up with love and affection. Hug, kiss, say “I love you” and share how you’re committed to growing together kindly.
It’s important to recognize that as we grow as individuals and as a couple, new perspectives and expectations will take shape over time. It is our responsibility in a relationship to be aware of our own growth and needs as well as those of our partner. Do this together and you’ll be stronger for it.