8 Tips to Spring Clean Your Marriage

Are you a spring cleaner? You may be living in an area of the world that doesn’t have ‘spring’, yet find yourself going through the physical motions of cleaning closets (or wardrobes, depending on where you live), cupboards, dressers and drawers. Spring clean is synonymous with ‘deep clean’ and many of us grew up with this tradition. Whether joy or drudgery, it’s now a practise. Now that I’m almost through spring cleaning this year (I do it a little at a time), I feel energized.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for the house. As a time of renewal, growth and possibilities, it’s the perfect season to assess your marriage relationship and bring in some fresh energy.

8 TIPS TO SPRING CLEAN YOUR MARRIAGE:

1. Open the blinds. With the sun shining in, it’s easier to see what needs cleaning.

– What has been ignored in your relationship?
– Are you taking responsibility for your words and behaviors?
– Have you been putting off a tough discussion?
– Maybe you’re avoiding mundane, but important things?

Tackle these questions from a place of love. Let go of pride. Lifted burdens from answering these questions will allow you to focus on what’s to be enjoyed in your relationship.

2. Dust off the cobwebs. Cobwebs collect in areas that aren’t used. In relationship, we can get stuck in predictable patterns of interacting where cobwebs collect. Ask:

– What’s become too routine in our marriage that isn’t serving us well?
– What has us on autopilot that isn’t empowering?
– Where are we complacent or taking each other for granted?
– How can we relate differently?

3. Scrub away negative influences. Have you ever had a stain on the carpet that’s a sore spot for the entire room? It takes a good scrubbing to get it out.

– What negative influences are you allowing in your partnership?

Take inventory and give it a good scrub out.

4. Air out ‘old laundry’. Hanging linens outside brings freshness to what’s stale. Letting go of resentment and grievances allows you to move forward with a fresh start.

– What is the ‘big elephant in the room’ – that thing that neither of you bring up, or that’s always being brought up, but never worked through? Sometimes we think “I’ll bring it up later” yet it doesn’t happen.
Set aside time to have an honest, open discussion – one planned, rather than risking another heated discussion, or worse yet, the silent treatment. Hidden concerns build an unknowing wall of distrust.
– Air out your differences. All couples have them – parenting, home leave, managing the next move, health, finances, sex, work – get these onto the table at a mutually agreeable time (preferably a subject at a time). Agree to disagree.

5. Get rid of clutter and debris. It’s amazing the junk we collect that just clutters the closets. Getting rid of it allows extra space. Marriage can become cluttered with ‘old stuff’ – blame, harbouring hurt feelings, resentment from things that shouldn’t have been said, or things that should have been that weren’t. Forgive. Bag these up and get rid of them, allowing space for love and freedom.

6. Clean out the closet. Talk about feelings you’ve neglected to confront and share, however big or small they may seem. Maybe there’s fear you’ll disturb the status quo of the relationship or that you can’t put feelings into words. Don’t leave it until the closet door is opened one day and an avalanche crushes both of you.
Now that you’ve cleaned out cobwebs and clutter, you’ve left with some precious stuff. So:

7. Mend what’s for keeps. Our tub needed a new bead of caulking and 2 chairs needed fixing. What about your relationship?

– Creatively handle conflict. Whether it’s a small disagreement or blow up fight, it’s the way things are discussed that makes the difference. Constructive conflict can help you learn to better love and understand your partner.
– Commit to listen with genuine curiosity. No need to fix or give advice. How well do you know your partners’ likes, dislikes, history and day to day happenings? Be each others best friends.
– Reminisce. Laugh. Shared history develops deep roots. As an expat you won’t have deep roots in a geographical place; you’ll have deep roots in each other’s hearts.
– Build shared meaning. Ask about your partners dreams and explore how to make them a reality. Build visions of the future together. Bring rituals into everyday life. These create connection through meaning and memories.

What’s working and what do you want more of? Focus on these.

8. Spruce up the relationship. Spring has us changing furniture around, adding colour and different textures to brighten up our home. What about marriage?

– Focus on fun and flirting. Try new things. Go new places. Kiss longer. Spice up your sex life. Have a new date with your  old stuff (bike, movie, scrapbook pictures).
Sacrifice for each other. How can you put your spouses’ needs before yours?
Think about what your ideal companion would be like and then be that person for your partner. Tell them all the wonderful things you wish they’d tell you.
Start with small things – silly love notes, a pet name you haven’t used in a long time, putting toothpaste on her toothbrush… Little acts of love and kindness add much.
Give the gift of love in the way your spouse receives it best.
Show appreciation and gratitude.  Say positive things.
Revisit the magic of romance. Remember those romantic feelings you once had and how you went out of your way to make each other feel special? Live it out.

I realize over 34 years of marriage that my relationship with Other Half is of much greater value than any home we’ve purchased or kept clean. The investment to keep and build its value is so worth it, so I invest in a spring clean to bring vitality and value back!

What about you? What of this list do you want to be intentional about this spring? Which inspires you to do something differently? Happy spring cleaning!

Becky Signature 2

 

 

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