You fell in love once, you can fall in love again.
Can a women single-handedly bring her ho-hum or even failing marriage back to life and fall in love, again?
Studio 5 Contributor Dr. Liz Hale says it turns out women have had the power all along – that they are the true keepers of the relationship.
5 Ways to Fall in Love All Over Again
My question is this: Do you want to repel or magnetize your husband? Take control of your own cause and effect.
I knew all about what makes a marriage successful….until I got married. My “perspectacles” changed as I looked at the role I played as a wife. Marriage counseling itself isn’t always a helpful route….especially when the focus is on what is WRONG with a marriage or the people in it. Sadly, some professions call us marriage cancelers not marriage counselors. Certain approaches are more powerful than others in transforming a marriage.
“The Empowered Wife.” Author Laura Doyle is onto something After my 30 plus years of being a marriage therapist, I’ll be honest, the skills have enhanced even my own marriage and many of my clients who believe it’s a fit for them.
This is the single best self-improvement project I’ve ever undertaken.
With a good man, a woman can create a more intimate, passionate, peaceful relationship by first, changing herself.
Whenever a client starts off a session listing all the ways her husband is irritating or annoying her, one of the first things I ask is, “How is your self-care?” Self-care is taking care of your own happiness by doing three things for yourself every day that are fun and make you feel better after doing them.
Having an intimate relationship requires energy and concentration, and it is almost impossible to attend to when we are exhausted, frustrated, and frazzled.
Miserable people do not have good relationships.
It is common for women to think they don’t have time, or that focusing on their needs is selfish. However, to have a loving relationship, self-care cannot be compromised.
List 10 things that you enjoy doing. Simple things like taking a walk, reading a chapter in a favorite novel, talking on the phone with a friend, taking a nice bubble bath, or treating yourself to a piece of dark chocolate – guilt free.
Ask yourself, ‘how do I feel?’ And ‘what do I want?’ to come up with your self-care list that frequently changes.
We are magnetized to happier people. A husband takes his wife’s happiness personally! Her happiness is crucial to him. Her true happiness is magnetizing.
What do men want more than anything? Most women would say sex…….while sex is often important to men, the thing they want more than anything else is respect!
Many of us are unaware of how superior we feel to our husbands. We tend to believe we know better than they do. Have you heard the term “Maternal Gatekeeper?” It is NOT a compliment!
Helping in wife language translates into controlling in husband language.
“Oh, are you going to wear that?”
“Don’t you think you should turn down this road?”
“Do you really want to eat all that?”
Want to know the cause and effect of this behavior? Men are turned off, they ignore our suggestions, and then we feel resentful. (“He never listens to me!!!”)
Nagging and correcting makes a woman come across as a mother and not a lover. There is no bigger intimacy killer than for a man to see his wife as a mother figure in the relationship.
Choose to say nothing – even if he is doing something that seems illogical or unreasonable like standing on a wobbly chair to replace the lightbulb in the kitchen. I imagine duct tape across my lips. Respect is magnetizing.
How many times do we rebuff our husband’s compliment? He may say, “I like your hair.” And, especially when we first wake up in the morning, we say, “Oh, it’s so dirty and look how the color doesn’t look very even in the back.”
Whenever we reject his gift or compliment, we foster distance. We repel.
When we graciously receive his gifts and compliments with “THANK YOU!” we are soft and vulnerable, both key ingredients of intimacy. We magnetize.
When I reject or dismiss my husband’s gifts or compliments, I cheat both of us out of pleasing…….me!
I am a poor example of what NOT to do with gifts. My Ben gave me gorgeous roses for my birthday the first couple of years of marriage. The roses were huge and full….but they didn’t last. And before you knew it the petals were falling off after a day or two. I may have even complained to the florist (one of us did) that while beautiful on day 1 they were drooping by day 2 or 3. I said something to him along the lines of, “No more roses. There are too expensive and too short-lived. We could make better use of our money.”
I have not received a bouquet of roses since. Understandably. Maybe he is trying to please me by doing what I said, “no more roses,” but is that really what I wanted? Receiving graciously is far more magnetizing.
Reveal Your Vulnerability
Vulnerability is the most critical ingredient for intimacy. Without it, there is no intimacy. It takes courage to allow someone, even our husband, to see our soft side.
Our soft tender side makes us attractive to our husband. It takes strength and confidence to reveal yourself. Your husband is attracted to your feminine essence. The more receptive, vulnerable, and unguarded you are, the more inspired he is to step in and contribute to your happiness.
Being in control of everything is exhausting! When we run around trying to make sure that everything is perfect, we begin to resent that our husband isn’t doing anything to help us. But he can’t. Why? Because we want to dictate and mandate anything and everything, including him, and he simply doesn’t want to be managed. Cause and effect. We have basically tied his hands. Not only does he not want to be managed but he doesn’t want to do it wrong in the face of our high expectations.
Allow your husband to come to your rescue. Do less. Allow him to do more. Allow him to be your hero. Consider using two words, “I can’t” when you know you’ll likely be resentful if his family comes to stay for an extended weekend. Or if you know you’ll resent him if you skip your Pilates class in order to stay and iron his dress shirt when you know he can do this for himself. Cause and effect. Let the tears flow when you’re sick or watching a tender movie. Vulnerability is magnetizing.
Expressing gratitude is an effective and fast-acting practice for shifting the tide in the relationship. “Drop and give me 10”….not 10 pushups but 10 gratitudes when you get stuck focusing on your partner’s negatives.
But don’t just keep them to yourself. Share gratitudes out loud so your husband and even let the kids overhear you. By expressing gratitudes, you let him know that you appreciate who he is and what he does for you.
“I’m so grateful that you took out the garbage.” Even though he does it routinely every Monday night. “Wow. Clean clothes magically appeared in my drawer again. Thank you! How lucky am I.” “Thank you for bathing the kids tonight – I am so grateful for you!”
When I stop complaining about all the things my good husband is doing wrong, things change. When I intentionally look for things that are right with my him, as well as things that I’m grateful for about him, I see more of those things showing up in our relationship. It’s as if I switch from wearing gray-colored glasses to rose-colored glasses that shine a light on all the things that ARE working.
Is it my perspective or my reality that changed? Mysteriously and wonderfully, it is both! And before you know it, you’ve fallen back in love….with the same husband.
Dr. Liz Hale is the Studio 5 Family and Marriage Contributor. She is passionate about helping relationships survive and thrive! She works hard on keeping her own relationships healthy and strong. But don’t stand in her way of a daily, sanity-maintaining brisk walk (just ask her husband, Ben!). She is also the co-host of the Stronger Marriage Connection podcast.