By: Rachel Jackson, MFTC
Less stress & add more spice to your relationship. A month into 2022 and you may begin setting into the lull of the new year ahead, including the lulls within your relationship. If you are experiencing more fighting, tension, and frustrations, begin to take the steps toward more acceptance and adding more spice back in to your everyday routines. Make small changes each day to jumpstart a shift of making your relationship feel exciting, again.
Are you and your partner feeling the tension? Are there constantly little things that bother you and get on your nerves? Are you wondering how to get rid of it to start enjoying more time with your significant other again?
It comes down to acceptance. To accept your partner, you must work to meet them where they’re at and understand where they came from. Less stress = More acceptance
1. Meet Them Where They’re At
It becomes critical to meet your partner where they are at instead of attempting to or expecting them, to be elsewhere. For instance, we often have an expectation for our partner to be in a certain mood and for them to respond to us as we want them to. However, in order to build acceptance of your partner, you must seek to understand where they are currently at: their emotions, their schedule, their stress level, their workload, and beyond. If we do not work to meet our partner, we will not be in sync.
2. Understand Where They Came From
Understanding your partner’s past – their upbringing, their parents, their home, their fears, their triggers, their desires, their past relationships, their proud moments, their shame moments, their victories – all provides you insight into how they interact with you and what they value now. We always have the opportunity to leave the past behind; although, these experiences SHAPE us. Therefore, if you want to alleviate some tension and feel less triggered by your partner’s actions, or inactions. Set your expectations aside and ask them where they are coming from? Ask them what they are needing from you? It may not be you that is triggering them, but rather, the pain from where they came from before you are bubbling up.
Each day, ask your partner what percent they are at – their tank, their energy level. 10% means my tank is nearly empty, I don’t have much to give. Then you as their partner know where they are at that day. Do not blame them for not being at 100%, even if you want them to be more able to give to you. Though, by asking and acknowledging their “tank” you seek to understand and accept where they are at. Simultaneously, you may be at an 80% – meaning you may have something to give to them to bring their level up. However, you may also be at a 10%. Nevertheless, your partner knows now that you, too, are running nearly on empty. Maybe this means you give each other space. Maybe you decide you can come together for simple time together in silence. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the goal is to meet each other where you’re at and understand where they are coming from, past or present.
If you have been with your partner, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband, your wife, for a long time, you may have lost your excitement. Who is with me? Are you comfortable now that it doesn’t feel as thrilling? Are the butterflies gone? Do things feel less spicey and duller between you two? Are you feeling “blah”? Do you feel like there’s something missing?
This could be your year to bring spice back into your relationship. Let 2022 be a year to turn a new page and find excitement and happiness again. Try out some of these suggestions to connect with your partner.
1. Create a Bucket List or Goal List as a Partner
Maybe you both love to travel, hike, paint, workout, play chess, bowl – the list goes on. Take one shared interest you have and make it a goal to do it X times a month or X times a year. One night, sit down, with some good food, set the scene and do a joint “Dream It Up” session with each other where you both grab a notebook and write down as many things you can think of that you would love to do in the next 1 year, the next 5 years, the next 10 years. Share them with your partner and circle ones on each that you will help each other make happen. These are shared goals and dreams, versus individual. Get dreaming!
2. Date Nights & Alone Time
Create uninterrupted time together, ideally once a week – if not, pick how often you can commit to planning a special morning, afternoon, or evening together where the phones can be down, the kids can be away or watched, and you can give each other undivided, vulnerable, and connected attention. During this time, think about sharing with each other things you love and appreciate most from each other. During this time, each partner is allowed one “ask.” What would you like me to do for you that I don’t often do, or haven’t been doing as recently? Giving back to your partner and being able to receive and offer feedback is crucial to relationship satisfaction and being fulfilled.
3. Intimacy & Sex
Talking about your sex life and desired ways to be intimate and connect, sexually or non-sexually is necessary. As much as some may want to disagree due to discomfort connecting on a regular basis with your partner is vital. Ultimately, being pleasured by your partner and feeling like your needs are being met and prioritized makes a large difference in relationships. So, spice it up! Ask your partner what you could do that is new and out of your “routine.” Get outside your comfort zone and have some light-hearted fun by exploring something new together. In doing so, itll require both of you to be vulnerable and never forget, that is where you connect most deeply – out of your comfort zone.
4. Surprise Them
As much as some people don’t like surprises, they are fun! Do one thing each month, unsolicited and unasked for by your partner that shows your appreciation for them. Make them dinner. Bring them lunch or breakfast. Get them a spa day. Give them a night with their friends. Buy them a small gift. Get them flowers. You know your partner best. What lights them up? What would they not expect from you? Go out of your way and show them how special they truly are.
This can be your year with less fighting and more acceptance. This can be your year with less “blah” and boring and more spice.
Connect again. Seek to understand your partner. Take down your expectations and rewrite them as a couple. Every day is different. Take a blank page and write in it together. Treat today like a new beginning of 2022 for your relationship again.