Spring has sprung, and we’re starting to see all the dust in the corners of our homes. So, we engage in spring cleaning. But, did you know that you can also spring clean your relationship?
Spring cleaning is defined by the Oxford dictionary as, “a thorough cleaning of a house or a room.”
We start cleaning up and clearing away everything that’s unsightly that we see and even behind cupboards and shelves. We even go outside to spring clean our gardens and walkways.
While it’s important to spring clean our environment, it’s also important for our well-being to take time to spring clean our relationships.
The quality of your relationships affects the quality of your life. Sometimes, we allow things to go stale and get stagnant in our relationships and resentments start to fester.
Here are 5 ingenious ways to “spring clean” your relationship, so you and your partner get what you both need.
1. Strengthen your communication.
There’s no relationship without communication. It’s one of those things we take for granted in a relationship.
We think we don’t need to say it. After all, they know that “I didn’t mean it when I ranted at them for leaving the toilet seat up again,” or that you appreciate all the hard work they are doing in order to take care of the family.
Maybe you’re talking on the surface but not really connecting at all. Maybe no one is listening and words are said but interpreted differently.
Do you know how your partner has been feeling or thinking? Do you know about the incident at work that is causing them anxiety? Do you both feel heard or seen?
All these questions could be a start at really communicating and getting reacquainted with each other.
When we are listened to, we feel special and important. Listening is an important part of communication. Remember to leave your defenses outside the conversation.
Assume they have life’s greatest secret that they want to tell you. This will help you to raise your curiosity in order to listen to understand. That is an act of love in itself.
2. Share your responsibilities.
Often, we enter relationships with the model our parents gave us of what a relationship consists of from a child’s perspective without understanding any of the nuances of what’s really going on between them.
For the majority, we grew up in a mother/father dynamic. Mothers had certain roles and fathers had certain roles.
Do you and your partner still feel happy about your roles? Do you feel like you do more for the other and you get nothing in return? Or maybe you get very little back. Do you feel like your contribution is not appreciated?
Are your beliefs hindering you from stepping up to do more to contribute to the relationships? Do you feel entitled to the service your spouse gives you? Why is that?
Could you take more on and let your spouse have more time for something they love?
This is not an opportunity to place blame or shame on each other, but to take the time to really go deep into the conversation.
I found that when I sat with my husband to tell him that I felt overwhelmed by my responsibilities and asked him to help me, his response was an eye-opener for me.
“Will you let me do it my way?”
Until that time, I had not seen how critical and controlling I was about how I wanted things to be done. I wanted him to do everything like me. The moment I let go of that expectation, we became happier.
Strangely enough, my husband loved vacuum cleaning more than I did. I took that time to read, go to the gym, or have quality time with my daughter.
3. Have an economic partnership.
Most people don’t talk about money in their relationship. It’s considered the most taboo subject. Yet, it causes the most stress in a relationship.
The conversation about money should start when you’re dating and continue through your marriage or whatever form of partnership you have.
I believe you’re still not an adult if you’re not fully participating with your finances.
Even if your agreement is for one or both of you to work outside the home, both of you should know how much income you have every week and month, how many bills that services, and whether or not you have savings.
You must also have short-term and long-term financial goals. Do you both feel included in financial decisions that are being made?
I remember my husband telling me I didn’t understand budgeting soon after we married. I felt insulted and we had a huge row about it.
Where do your money beliefs come from? Do you feel like you should carry all your financial burdens alone? What happens when you’re no longer there?
Through negotiation and trial and error we became financial partners and that ease rippled into our relationship.
4. Initiate intimacy.
Women and men experience intimacy differently. It’s important to discuss where everything is going well. Where could you both improve?
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Maybe you’re overworking and you are too tired at the end of the day to reconnect. Women feel intimacy from having deep conversations and being held or cuddled, while sex is the main part of intimacy for men.
Talk about who initiates intimacy the most. How do they feel about that? I remember being told that it made my husband feel vulnerable and undesirable when he had to initiate all the time.
That was not my intention at all, but if we had not had that spring cleaning, I might never have known.
5. Build trust and support.
Trust is a pillar of relationships. Do you trust each other? Are there some things you’re concealing from each other? If you do, why is that?
I know so many men who don’t tell their wives that they have been fired or they lost the money because they are ashamed. The whole point of being in a relationship is to have a partner to share life’s highs and lows with.
Do you both feel supported? If one of you has to go away on business or to take care of the parents who are unwell, do you feel supported by the other?
Even when you just need a cry, does he just dismiss you or hold you and support you? Do you dismiss his concerns or frustrations about some of the decisions you make or commitments you take without discussion?
Does she know how to support you when you’re hurting? Some people need a hug or a shoulder to cry on while others want to be left alone. Does he know how to support you when you feel overwhelmed?
Ultimately, relationships are about a compromise that needs to be balanced consistently.
Relationships, when they are going well can provide us with a cornerstone for stability, support, affection, motivation, love, and many other qualities we need. It’s a dance of give-and-take or a wave of back and forth.
The only way good can be sustained is if from time to time you take a look at what is working or not working in it.
What needs improvement? What needs a new approach?
When you get good at spring cleaning your relationship, you will find it will give you all the benefits of being in a relationship that keeps making us commit over and over again.
You can start by reviewing your communication, responsibilities, economic partnership, intimacy, trust, and support, and then move on to other things.