There are huge obstacles in life keeping your from forming a lasting relationship with your co-parent. It is a matter of how bad you want something and what you are willing to do to have it.
In addition, there must be unity on the parenting team in order to effectively and efficiently perform those tasks. There is nothing that will get in the way of being good parents and teaching the next generation, than infighting between yourselves. That fighting doesn’t always mean on the outside. Some of the worst kind is the passive aggressive kind that results from not have the proper relationship account balance.
In this article, we will talk about some of the things you can do to make sure they know where you stand. And also give you a sense of where you stand as well. Why weren’t you already doing these things, and what do you need to do to get back to that place!
Invest In The Relationship Bank Account
In a previous post you can find here, we talked about how it is important to manage this account with care and keep a positive balance. All of the things we talk about from here on go toward making deposits in this account.
Most people don’t like to keep score, and I don’t either, and this is not about that. It is about understanding your actions and keeping a conscious and positive outlook on the things you are doing that impact your relationships with others.
There is not a more important relationship than that with your spouse, it effects everything you do in life and has huge consequences for your children if you have any.
Don’t Let Go First
What are you letting go of? Them!
When you hug someone it is one of the most intimate things you can do. Sure there are more intimate things that may come to mind, but those things also have personal gratifications. Hugging someone is an embrace that is solely meant for them. There is nothing in it for you. It is one of the best ways to show someone you care.
What happens in a hug? You wrap someone up and let them go. Seems pretty simple, but it isn’t. The way that you show someone you love them is keeping that embrace. It can even be a bit awkward at times, but make a conscious effort to not let go first. I promise you they will notice.
This is one of those things it is OK to have a contest over! Soon you’ll be hugging for extended amounts of time. It might even look weird to onlookers, but who cares! You are not trying to impress them.
That brings us to the next point.
Flirt, But Only With Them
Flirting can be playful, but it almost always sends a message. I don’t need to tell you what that message is.
It is almost always is an attempt to garner affection and impress someone. Why would you want to impress a random person, when you could put that effort and wittiness into impressing a person who has your back, and your families back?
Most people I see flirting with strangers, do not flirt with their spouse. That relationship has become a burden, or something they have to deal with instead of what it could be. What it used to be, probably.
If they spent that same effort on flirting with their spouse, imagine the response they would get. They would get the same giggle and butterfly feeling they are trying to get out of this random other person! The goal could be the same, but in a much more useful way.
So flirt, flirt as much as you can! Just do it with the right person so that your efforts bare fruit.
Kiss Them Like You Mean It
Kissing is another intimate gesture that ties in to both the first two points. It is very similar to hugging in its intent, and like flirting can inspire a playful response. Who doesn’t want that?
The key to kissing is doing it with intent! Do it like you mean it! What is the point of doing something meaningless that feels like a chore. If it’s something you don’t want to do, then don’t. But why wouldn’t you? Kissing is fun, and intimate. It gets the motor revving when done right!
Kiss someone with passion and love and see the response you get back. It will be worth it!
Never Go To Bed Mad
The very worst thing you can do for a relationship, and its balance sheet, is carry around grudges.
None of us are perfect, we will all make mistakes. Some bigger than others. We can not all be only making deposits in the relationship account, sometimes a withdrawal will be made. It is human nature. It shouldn’t be surprising when it happens.
We often act on emotion first and so that surprise makes it out, but it doesn’t have to define the moment.
Air the laundry out! If you need to say your peace do it right away. We both know it is going to happen anyway. Move past it. Sometimes you have a stubborn spouse and they struggle with that. Help them get it out. It is OK to be annoying about it if the end result is getting an issue behind you and starting the new day fresh with any negativity behind you both.
Be Quick To Apologize
One of the key points to remember when making sure you never go to bed with unresolved issues, is being quick to apologize. Sometimes this is hard, and I get that. It is hard for me too. But the payoff is worth the cost.
What are you even sacrificing to begin with that makes apologizing hard? Pride? Does pride make healthy relationships? I do not believe it does. It can help you with personal achievement and accomplishment, but more often that not pride will get in the way of a team game.
That’s what relationships are, a team game. Put your pride on hold for when it is useful, and be quick to apologize for anything you may have done to contribute to any negativity that caused the issues you are battling.
Have Mutual Goals
Speaking of your parenting relationship being a team game, having goals is important. You will never see a championship team, or any successful business partnership that did not start out with goals.
I know you and your spouse have goals, but are they mutual? Are you working together. I don’t just mean living together and maybe sharing money, I am talking about life goals.
Do you want to end up in the same place at the end of life? Why not? What would be separating you two in ten years if you did both accomplish your goals? Do you have goals for training your children to be successful adults? Are they able to see you working those goals? That is a crucial lesson for them, and one they must see in action in order to understand effectively.
If you don’t have mutual goals, or you don’t even know what your spouses goals are, have a family meeting. Immediately. Don’t invite everyone, this is personal between the two of you. That needs to get sorted out. If you do have separate goals, are there ways to combine them to make them mutual?
If you do not have mutual goals, you can only drift apart. Even if it takes a few small goals to bring you back to heading in the same direction, it is worth it.
Give Them Space
Having the same end game is important, but so is giving them space to be an individual. Nothing is worse than having to play 20 questions every time you want to do something.
Is that something you have to do when you want to have a drink with friends? Are you the one doing it to your spouse?
We all know that spawns from insecurity. Something may have happened in the past that caused that insecurity. I understand those things happen. But is grilling them going to prevent it from happening again? It wont. People will always do what they want to do. That’s just the way things are. Some people are not honest people, and knowing everything about what they are doing will not make them honest.
You owe it to yourself to not do this. Don’t stress about what others are doing. You must have trust in your partner in order to be successful. Trust me, I used to be this person. I was very insecure. But once you realize that it’s just bringing you down and whatever is going to happen will anyway, you can unburden yourself. It’s ultra liberating!
Give your relationship space to breathe! You get to use that time too. To be alone with your thoughts and be creative. To read a book, or catch up on some learning. To make plans for something you want to do. Or the very best option, spend that free time one on one with your kids. Play a card or board game with them. Ask them some pointed questions to get them thinking.
The point is, giving your relationship space is not only good for the relationship, but also yourself. Take ownership of trust and insecurity and defeat it, if it has been holding you back.
Be Friends First
Do you like your spouse? Do you seek out spending time with them? Not just the obligated time where something was planned and you have to go, but time you actually want to spend with them?
The biggest key to any successful personal relationship is friendship. It is the basis for which all other successful enterprise can prosper.
Make time to do things together, not as an intimate couple, but as friends. Outdoor activities, grabbing a sit down coffee, or just sitting and talking. These are things friends do, but many parents and partners do not.
If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, shouldn’t you be friends? If you spend the time with them and make this a priority, even if it is not there now, it will be.
You can find things you like about everyone if you are open to that. Going into something without predisposition is hard, but it can be done when you want something. This is something you should want.
When you have the time, stop and talk. You guys grabbing something to eat? Get it to go and take it to the park to be alone. Seek out time to talk and get to know them. I can promise you that there are things your partner is thinking, and would love to tell you, that they wont because they are scared of your reaction. Not that you would blow up about it, but that you will think it is dumb, or ridicule them.
Take the time to be friends, and open up. It will help you set goals together by fully understanding where they are and what they want. Just like you already do with your friends.
Remember Why You Started
The final method I can present in this post is to remember why you started. Do you remember the butterflies? When nothing but time with that person mattered?
I bet you put work on hold, blew off other responsibilities, and made up all kinds of stories so you could find just a few minutes with this one special person.
Now, probably years later, you have bills and kids and life. Those things can really wear you down because you can’t escape them. They are always there. But you can find a few moments from them to rekindle those old feelings.
Sneak off when you are in public to make out. I know you’ve done it before. Maybe more :). Find that spontaneity that makes your heart stop. You don’t have to have a new person to have those things. YOU have to BE a new person to have them again. Stop waiting for them to make a move, or do something. That is just living with expectation and will crush you when it doesn’t go the way you want.
Be the change you want to see in the world is a common quote, but I would ask you to change it just a bit. Be the change you want to see in your relationship.
Get out there and make a mess of things with your passion, just like you used too!