Join us for part six of an eight-part series on relationships based on Harville Hendrix’s book Getting the Love you Want.
Remember those early days of your courtship when you and your partner professed your love freely and did wonderful, thoughtful things for each other all of the time? Those were the days, amiright?!
But then, as time passes, we slowly stop doing those wonderful things and we grow complacent. We can even take each other’s love for granted.
It’s time to regain that loving feeling
According to Harville Hendrix in Getting the Love You Want, spending time doing all of those activities that make your partner feel loved is vital to maintain a thriving, healthy relationship. This is especially true if you are having troubles as a couple. And trust me, I know it can feel hard—especially when life is so busy with work, kids, and everything else. But it is so, so important for the longterm health of your relationship.
Harville Hendrix calls this “re-romantizing your relationship.”
Want to know more about this necessary practice? Here’s a look at his exercise and how it can help you do just that.
Supplies you’ll need: Both partners, pens and paper
Activity: Spend some time writing out a list of things that your partner currently does that make you feel loved and cared for. Once that list is complete, rank your entries according their importance to you, with one being most important and five being the least important.
Then create another list of things you wish your partner would do for you. Don’t include items that are conflict areas (for example, if money is your core issue, try to refrain from writing, “I wish my partner would buy me diamond earrings.”) Some ideas could include: rub my feet, take me dancing, give me compliments. Once that list is complete, rank these entries like you did with other list—one is the most important; five is the least important.
Come together as a couple and share your lists with one another. Then exchange lists and tuck them away in a safe place that you can revisit as often as you need to.
Commit to doing some of the activities your partner outlines. Pick easy ones first… then challenge yourself. Try to do one activity per day over the course of one month.
You’ll be surprised by what happens
These little re-romanticizing gestures can be surprisingly powerful—even when your partner knows they are coming. I think it has something to do with feeling heard and honored. Imagine how nice it would be to receive a foot rub every night if you worked on your feet and it helped you relax and unwind. It’s something little that only requires less than five minutes of your partner’s time, but makes you feel good and recognized.
Doing these requested things for each other may seem contrived or forced, but you’ll be amazed at how well it works! It doesn’t even matter if you don’t “feel” like doing something for your partner, do it any ways.
Give it a shot and reap the rewards
▷▷▷ Part 7: The Couple’s Dialogue
Learn more about IMAGO and find a therapist at: https://harvilleandhelen.com/