Emotional Fitness

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How Being Thoughtful To Your Partner Can Change Everything

Think of it as Thoughtfulness Therapy

I have worked with numerous couples who could be in a great relationship, except they both have forgotten to be thoughtful to one another, and the resentment has built to the point where therapy is no longer a choice but a necessity.

I know about the demands of working 40-plus hours a week, raising kids, keeping up with the bills, and maintaining a home. By the time evening rolls around, you hardly have any energy for each other and weekends are not much better. When you’re over worked and over tired, it’s easy to get a little resentful that you’re doing everything all by yourself. The truth is that your mate is probably working as hard as you are and most likely is feeling something similar. 

Yes, it’s easy to forget that you are in this together, but here’s a great way to remind each other and make your life better for it. You have to have a little talk about how to be more thoughtful to each other. This practice has made many relationships better, and in plenty of cases, it was all the couple needed to get themselves back on the positive track. 

You can do this in lots of ways: saying nice things, pulling out chairs and opening doors, cooking and/or cleaning up after a family meal. This focus on being a little nicer can make all the difference.

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Some people hate paying the bills; others can’t stand making vacation plans. We each have our own peccadilloes—hey, that’s the normal part. Having the presence of mind to take a burden off your partner’s shoulders—now that’s thoughtfulness. And you will be appropriately rewarded. 

Remember back to when you were first dating and how you did little things for each other? How did it make you feel? Isn’t that part of the reason you are with your current partner? All I’m suggesting is that you continue doing those things long after you have both checked into your retirement villa.

Doing nice things for no reason is such a healer, and it promotes a lot more love in your life. If someone does something nice for you, you are more likely to return the favor. I’m not talking about buying Super Bowl tickets or diamond tennis bracelets. It’s all about the little things, like leaving love notes, lending a helping hand, or dancing in the living room when nobody’s watching. These are the things that make the difference between a relationship that’s nurturing and one that’s falling apart. 

I live to give, and think about things I can do for my loved ones on a daily basis, I do get a kick out of putting a smile on someone’s face—especially if that someone is the love of my life.

No matter what’s going on in your world, you need to take that extra step and think deeply about how you can brighten your partner’s life. Both of you will be better for it.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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