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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?

More by this author

Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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