Thursday, June 28, 2012

Exercises for a healthy relationship, by Mira Kirschenbaum

I read this in a book. Reposting here so I can refer back to it later if needed. Exercises to build a healthy relationship by Mira Kirschenbaum:


Say: "I want to know what makes you feel loved. I'm really sorry; I should know it, but I just don't. I need you  to tell me. Just tell me five things that I could do to make you feel loved, whether I've ever done them or not. I'd like to know your language of love. And I'd like to do the same thing for you. How does that sound? That way we'll both know exactly what makes each other feel loved."

Now suppose your partner says "I'd feel loved if you didn't come home from work so tired," and you don't see how it's possible for you to do that, you have to say so. You could say "Help me out here. I'd love to do that for you. I just don't see how. Do you have any suggestions?"

More tips:

  1. Show how much you appreciate your partner. Do and say the things that indicate "I love you and I think you're great."
  2. Touch. Everyday there needs to be hugs, kisses, gentle stroking, holdilng hands. affection.
  3. Say what you need. This keeps you from feeling resentful and deprived.
  4. Listen to the other person. Maybe they're repeating themselves or you don't love what they're saying but listening is the single most loving and affectionate thing you can do.
  5. Be supportive. Everyone is having a hard time. Everyone's life is tough. Everyone needs help & encouragement. That means your partner needs this. And it's not just words. It means making food, rubbing shoulders, taking out trash without being asked, etc.
  6. Spend time together. At least 10 minutes where it's just the two of you, focused on eachother. And you're not talking about problems and chores and responsibilities. You're just there for and with eachother.
  7. Have fun with eachother. Whatever fun is. Something a little fun evfery day, and a lot of fun every week.
  8. Be positive. We all go through our lives vulnerable to frustration and discouragement. So when you're negative, your partner just wants to get away from you. If you say something positive, hopeful, forward-looking every day.
  9. Put yourself in your partner's shoes. Even if it's just a minute, spend some time every day thinking about what it's like to be your partner, living her life, being in a relationship with you. If you think about this, it's got to have an effect.
  10. Be open. Intimacy means being close to each other. How can you do that uless you show what's inside of you?
I'll bet you thought "Sounds great but it's too much for me." Welcome to the club. We're all running on empty these days. We're all struggling with the question "How do you give when you don't feel you have anything to give?" The answer is to focus your energy on whatever gives you the most leverage. Show your partner this list. Ask them which THREE items she feels you've been neglecting the most. It's not magic, but before you know it, it brings the magic back. This is about being thoughtful, caring and consistent.

-Mira Kirschenbaum

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