“Keeping the Spark Alive” Series
I’ve been cleaning out a lot of closets lately, and going through old boxes in the basement. Isn’t it embarrassing all the stuff we accumulate over the years? I found some head phones from the 1980s! Spring is the ideal time for organizing our lives—clearing out the old, decluttering, and trying to make our environment a little more pleasing. I feel more in control of my life when things around me are more in order.
Where in our relationships can we use a little spring cleaning? Here are some ideas for spring cleaning your marriage:
1. Clear the air. Are there any conversations you have been avoiding, or arguments that have come up a few times? Schedule a time for a heart-to-heart. Shine the sunlight on issues that are becoming problematic, such as financial strain.
2. Make room for new experiences. Look at your calendar of commitments. Do you need to free up one night a week as a couple or as a family?
3. If you’ve been building up resentment, it’s time to dust it off and unload past hurts. Alisa Bowman shared these useful tips in her e-book for Project Happily Ever After: Commit to releasing old grudges. Remind yourself that you’re part of the problem. List all those old grudges on paper. (Tell your spouse you want to move past these things, but you need to share your feelings about why these incidents hurt you.) Be patient, and allow yourself time to see that your partner is different today. Share your feelings instead of being passive aggressive. I would add: Give your spouse the opportunity to apologize and make things right. Then FORGIVE him or her and MOVE ON. While it’s important to give voice to your hurts, you have to be willing to stop bringing them up once you’ve worked through them with your partner. Consider it old baggage, and haul it away. Start fresh.
4. Are there proverbial cobwebs around the marital bed? Take the necessary steps to reconnect and clear them out. Start with communicating about how you got to this point (without blame) and what would help you to feel more intimate with your partner. (Read How to Improve and Increase Sex in Your Marriage.) If you can’t make progress here on your own, get help. Intimacy is vital to marital renewal.
5. Give thought to spiffing up your appearance. Has it been a while since you cleaned out the closet and cleared out ill-fitting clothes and old sweat pants? Consider updating your hair, makeup or wardrobe if it’s gotten lax. Pack away the flannel PJs for next winter. Prepare and eat healthy meals that leave you feeling energetic not bogged down. Enjoy the confidence that the shiny new you brings.
6. Clean and organize areas where you spend the most time. In addition to the figurative spring cleaning, a literal cleaning can give your family a boost of energy. Keep your bedroom clutter to a minimum—and leave the TV in another room. Find strategies and storage for dealing with the high-traffic daily clutter, such as mail and school papers.
7. Check tarnished relationships. If negative friendships or family stresses are contributing to marital disharmony, give them a good scrubbing. Be united as a couple, and set boundaries where needed. All your friends should be supportive of your marriage, or they may not be the friends you think they are. Family disputes: Apologize to those you need to apologize to, and set family relationships right when you can. This will save a lot of time and stress in your marriage.
8. Keep it maintained. Just like we can’t clean our houses once in the spring then forget about it (oh, how I wish it would last for at least a week), we have to work on keeping our marriages renewed and fresh. Find something new and exciting to do this month, and get it on the calendar. And repeat the above steps as needed.
(Thanks to SmartMarriages for the spring cleaning idea.)
Check out 25 marriage tips from Sheila Wray Gregoire.
Sex it up to live it up by Couple Things Blog. Very true that sex can be a leading indicator in your marriage.
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