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Get Naked: 6 Compelling Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your Spouse

Get Naked: 6 Compelling Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your Spouse

Good. Bad. Indifferent. Loving. Critical. Close. Distant.

What comes to mind when you hear the word spouse?

Think about it: every year on birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays, we find ourselves sending out cards with cookie cut lyrics and rhythmic poetry to communicate to our spouses what that word means to us. Only one thing will be required of us — a signature.  If our relationships are distant or detached, there will be nothing more. No note, no heartfelt emotions, just a signature.

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So what, you might ask? That’s the best way to deal with a spouse you might have a sub-par relationship with, isn’t it? Maybe, but if you’re tired of the mediocre life you’re living with your spouse, you have a chance to do something different — something that might bring healing to the dry and empty places in your own soul. Get naked.

You heard it. Get naked. That means if you want to change the relationship dance with your spouse, you have to be willing to do something different. That starts with getting real with your mate — even if it hurts. Even if you feel stripped naked.

What does that look like? How can we actually get naked? Here are a few ways:

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Be willing to confront

Nobody likes conflict, especially men, but conflict doesn’t have to be all bad if you learn to see it through a different lens — the lens of opportunity. Conflict can serve as a window into your spouse’s soul and a chance to see and understand their fears, hurt, and frustrations. Let’s face it: none of us are perfect, and if we go into conflict with the idea that maybe we can listen and learn something from our mate, it will change the way we relate.

Be willing to be vulnerable

When we’ve been hurt, it’s easy to check out, build walls, and close up shop. That’s the worst thing we can do to solve relationship problems. Try talking in the first person using “I” statements when communicating your feelings: “I felt upset and devalued the other day,” or “I’m feeling like I’m not a priority to you.” Those statements go a lot farther than “You always treat me badly,” and “You never take me out.”

Be willing to forgive

Forgiveness can be hard, especially if we’ve been wounded over and over. But forgiveness is a means of release for the one holding the debt — you! Do it for your own benefit. Start by making a decision to forgive, and then practice the virtues of empathy, love, sympathy, and compassion towards your spouse.

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Be willing to love in spite of your hurt

It’s easy to love people when they’re treating us great — no challenge there — but can you love someone when they’re grumpy, sour, or just plain annoying? You can if you chose to. Try a gentle tone, a kind word, or a gracious act of service. You’ll like yourself a whole lot better too.

Be willing to draw necessary boundaries

No one should be screamed at, belittled, or abused in any other way. Boundaries are necessary, especially if your mate does any of the above. Dr. John Townsend has written a great book called Boundaries in Marriage if you need a little help.

Be willing to admit your wrongs

Man up and be willing to say these nine little words that will change your relationship dance: I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me? Period. No “but this is why I did this,” or “but you did this so I did that.” Stick with the script and see what happens.

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Relationships aren’t always easy, but everything that’s worth anything comes with a price. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired in your relationship, the only way things will change is if you do something different. If you wait for the other person to move first because you think that’s an indication of their love and commitment, don’t. They may not know what to do or how to start. Be the bigger person.

If your relationship is in serious trouble, seek help with a professional counselor. Then, the next time you go to buy a card for your mate, you may actually mean what it says inside.

Back at you: What challenges have you faced in your relationship that have kept you stuck, and what fears have held you back from getting naked?

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Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

1. Spend Time with Positive People

If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

3. Contribute to the Community

One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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Some recommendations for you:

5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

8. Offer Compliments to Others

Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

10. Practice Self-Care

Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

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Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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