“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” -JFK
The same goes in a marriage.
Ask not what your partner can do for you. Ask what you can do for your partner.
Better yet if you can anticipate your partner’s needs, based on how well you know him or her!
So many times in my work with couples, I hear, “But I already do x, y, and z for my partner!” And that’s great!
But oftentimes, it’s the defensive attitude that comes along with that statement that is the problem. The underlying complaining attitude of, “Ugh, isn’t what I’m doing enough, I already do all these things for my partner!”
Take the complaining tone and throw it out the window!
Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
Because when you defensively list all the things you do for your partner, you are chipping away at what it all means.
Because your partner senses that you may not be doing these things with a positive attitude to begin with. And that’s hurtful to them.
Because when you focus on what YOU can do for your partner, believe me, they will be more inclined to also DO for YOU, in return.
A positive attitude of gratitude goes a long way.
So how do you adopt this attitude of gratitude?
Think for a minute. Each day. When you wake up in the morning or when you go to bed at night. About all your partner’s good qualities. About what you APPRECIATE about your partner. About what you RESPECT about your partner. About all the times they have done something kind or loving for you.
Allow these gentle thoughts about your partner to soak in and prompt you to ask yourself, “What can I do in return?”
And maybe it has been a while since your partner has done for you. That’s understandable. Life and stress can get in the way.
But rather than play the tit-for-tat, keeping score game of “It’s NOT my turn,” remember that it can always be your “turn.” Because there aren’t “turns.”
You know your partner. What can you do for him or her that would be meaningful? Pack their lunch for the day? Pour them a glass of water for when they walk in the door, thirsty after a long commute home? Leave them a sweet note or text message? Pick up their favorite snack the next time you go grocery shopping?
Kind acts beget kind acts. The more you focus your attention on what YOU can do – the more you are likely to receive in return.
Share this idea with your partner and see how they respond. Challenge each other to adopt this attitude of gratitude and see how far you can go with it, with each kind gesture at a time.
…for more information, questions, or comments, email me at misa@CBTIofSoCal.com