We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. It feels so good to open the windows, let fresh air in and clear out the cobwebs after being cooped up inside all winter. There are people who take this annual ritual so seriously that they print lists, buy organizational equipment, and assign tasks to different family members just to get it all done. Despite the effort, people love doing it because it helps them feel fresh and clears off all the grime that has accumulated over the past year. It’s easy to fall in love with your home again when it’s been given the love and attention it deserves.
Why, then, don’t we do the same thing for our relationships every year? Sure, it’s a bit more complicated to resolve interpersonal issues than it is to sweep up the garage but your partnership deserves the same care and respect as the material things in your life. If you’re interested in trying a little spring cleaning to spruce up your relationship, here are some suggestions.
One of the first things you can do is sit down and assess all of the obligations you share in your lives. Is there a commitment or hobby that is preventing you from spending quality time together? Are you working extra hours to cover the cost of things you don’t use (gym memberships, radio subscriptions, etc…)? Are there toxic friendships or dynamics with family members that are taking a toll on your relationship? Take inventory of where you are wasting time, money and energy and get rid of it! It can be hard and scary, at first, but making these changes will, ultimately, give you more freedom to focus on yourself and your partnership.
Is your time together really spent staring at some sort of screen? It’s amazing how many couples sit next to each other on the couch every evening but rarely put down their devices long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Also, while watching a movie or television show can be a fun way to spend an evening, we can sometimes unconsciously watch the screen for hours without realizing how much time we are wasting. Make an effort to have distraction-free time with your loved one every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It will feel amazing!
Clear the Air
Too often, we carry hurt feelings, resentment and anger around when we should be regularly letting it go. It can be difficult to express ourselves, especially if we have felt slighted or neglected, but it’s important to make that effort. Otherwise, the negativity builds up and, over time, can destroy a relationship. Find a productive and healthy way to let your partner know about anything that has been bothering you. Work together to come up with a strategy for improving the situation. Remember, it’s okay to ask for the outside help of a therapist or other professional if you can’t tackle it on your own.
Freshen Up the Bedroom
Most of us don’t have enough money to redesign our bedrooms every year but we can make small changes to freshen it up. Get rid of any clutter or unwanted items. Add a fresh coat of paint or new bedding. Find a way to make this space a refuge where the two of you can escape from the rest of the world. Essential oils, incense, candles and calming music can really add a warm and inviting feel to an otherwise boring room!
Take some time to reflect on the year behind you and think of all of the ways in which your partner was there for you. Let them know how much you appreciate them. We can get so caught up in our stressful routines that all we do is complain and nag. It will mean so much to them to know that their efforts were recognized.
Work on Yourself
Finally, one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to work on yourself as an individual. Undoubtedly, there are things that you do to drive your partner crazy and, like most people, you’ve probably made mistakes. Identify the ways in which you can improve yourself in order to solidify your relationship and create a plan for addressing those issues.
Have you ever done a spring cleaning on your relationship? If so, how did it go?