spark joy

Tidy Up Your Marriage: How to ‘Spark Joy’ in Your Relationship

Marie Kondo is making waves for her approach to organizing. But what if you could spark joy in your marriage too?

Dr. Liz Hale shares how to tidy up your relationship to deepen ties with your spouse.



Spark Joy in Your Marriage

Netflix sensation Marie Kondo has taught us the power of tidying up our homes. But what about our marriages? Is there tidying-up to do there? Marie Kondo’s theories can apply to how we view and improve our marriages.

Here are five steps that will help you spark joy inside the walls of your relationships.

1. Visualize Your Ideal Relationship

Start tidying up your home with a clear goal in mind. Visualize how you want your marriage to look and how you want to feel interacting with your mate. Because visualization encourages your purpose and fuels your motivation.

How would you like to change your interactions with one another? Is there a better way to greet, communicate, problem-solve, work, and play together?

Seeing is believing, but believing is seeing too. Visualize how you want to be a partner and then be that partner!

2. Address One Category At a Time

Tidy-up one category at a time. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed by your partner’s list of complaints. If you have a concern with in-laws, stick with that category and leave your disagreements about rearranging the home-office later.

Be very clear about the specifics of the category and stay with those parameters until the issue is better managed.

3. Ask “Do I Spark Joy or Woe?”

Go from handling an object asking, “Does this spark joy?” to looking in the mirror and asking “Do I spark joy?”

Liz received a text from a wife who said, “My husband said this Gottman work is just about him kissing my fanny to keep me happy.” The thought of sparking joy came to Liz’ mind. She encouraged her to drop the tug-of-war rope and see where she could agree with her husband and be a better partner. Liz asked her to determine where she could spark joy in her husband. Nothing causes more joy than causing joy in another person, especially a mate.

4. Discard Negative Emotions; Keep Wise Insight

Tidying starts with discarding. Don’t just store problems away; discard them. Discard the emotion; keep the insight. As you might know by watching any of Marie Kondo’s Netflix segments or books, before you discard something, thank it for the service it’s given you. This principle applies to our relationships.

No experience in our lives is ever wasted. No matter how painful, no matter how difficult, every experience teaches us something valuable.

5. Don’t Pause. Don’t Quit. Don’t Panic.

If you’ve ever been in the middle of a literal or figurative tidying marathon, it can be overwhelming. You can feel like throwing in the towel right along with every other item of clothing you’ve got.

The more determined effort you put into your marriage, the closer you’ll get to a home full of joy. Like Marie Kondo says, “Take good care of everthing you keep. Look more closely at what is really there.”

Dr. Liz Hale is the Studio 5 Marriage & Family Coordinator. 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!)

For the past 25-years Dr. Liz has been passionate about her professional training and emphasis in marriage and family therapy, primarily working with couples and families within her private practices both in Seattle and downtown Salt Lake City. As a Certified Gottman Therapist she thrives on helping clients learn new, effective ways of being in their relationships. According to Dr. Liz, communication is never the problem; misperceptions are. There is nothing more rewarding than when a client turns to her and says, “I’ve never seen it/him/her that way before.”

According to Dr. Liz there is no greater honor than when a client trusts and risks enough to share their heart and soul in therapy within the walls of her office she considers a “sacred space.”

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