Relationship Help Quick Tip
Couples are continuously (on a daily basis) making decisions that impact their marriage/relationship—whether we’re aware of these decisions or not. How you approach one another, the words you choose to use while sharing your feelings (or whether you choose to share your feelings at all), the kind of feedback you give each other, if and how you express appreciation, all these, and much more, impact the overall quality and health of your relationship.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s place the kinds of decisions you and your spouse/partner make about the relationship into three categories:
- Decisions/actions that improve your relationship (actions that improve communication, enhance emotional closeness, something that makes you each feel loved and cared for);
- Decisions/actions that keep the status quo of the marriage/relationship (your decisions, actions or inaction do little to change the current homeostasis of how you and your partner are relating);
- Decisions/actions that hurt or undermine the relationship (actions that increase resentment, lead to hurt feelings and ultimately create emotional distance between you both).
Did you realize that you have so much power (each and every day) to influence the course of how your relationship unfolds? Often we don’t, because we tend focus on the decisions/actions our spouse/partner makes and then base our own actions on their actions—in a sense, our actions are mostly re-actions to their actions. So if they are pleasant, we can easily decide to be pleasant; if they are generous emotionally, we feel more open to giving emotionally; if they are moody, our option for being in a good mood is severely is restricted, and so on.
While our loved ones clearly have an enormous emotional impact on us (this fact shouldn’t be denied), we have to be careful not to project responsibility for our own decisions/actions onto them. That perspective would turn us into a helpless victim, rather than a direct agent of our own decisions/actions.
So now that you have a better understanding of your own decision-power to shape the course of your marriage/relationship, will you act in ways to improve your marriage/relationship, keep the status quo, or hurt the relationship?
Let’s make effective communication a regular part of your marriage/relationship!
Dr. Rich Nicastro