by Neil J. Lavender, Ph.D.
Hey, how about a date night this week with your spouse or loved one? What, you’re scheduled to work? OK, then how about tomorrow? Sarah has a soccer tournament? Gee whiz! Oh yeah, and next week is the church picnic. I guess we can’t anytime soon.
Where does the time go??
One of the most common obstacles I find nowadays in trying to do couples counseling is that couples are just too busy with work demands, children’s activities and a gazillion other day to day things that soak up a couple’s time. Gone are the days when I used to be able to recommend a date night for a couple but that gets harder and harder nowadays. Your relationship gets neglected; yes even lost due to all of this “busyness”.
….. And it only takes one minute!!
I first discovered the One-Minute Marriage Cleanse in my own marriage. Like many men, I was not giving my wife the verbal compliments and affirmations she desired. When she asked for them, my reply was usually something like “I am just not like that. You know I love you and think nice things about you often. I just don’t want to say something I might not be feeling at the moment; it seems so phony to me.”
However, I did promise myself that if I felt anything positive about my wife at any time, I would, in fact, say it out loud.
Great compromise, right? She agreed.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. It made both of us happy so that I decided to build on it. Why just a comment or two? This is my wife of 44 years; I can do better than this. So along with the compliments, I decided to remind her of all the wonderful things she has done throughout our lives: Fantastic girlfriend when we were young, great mother, soul-mate, super grandmother, my absolute best friend and someone who stood beside me during my darkest days. And that’s just for starters.
My wife was speechless at first and deeply touched. And you know what? The whole atmosphere of our home changed. I believe it even took our marriage to a new level.
I know it can do the same for yours. I recommend it frequently now when I do marriage and couples counseling.
So how can you do a The One-Minute Marriage Cleanse?
It’s easy and you can do it anytime you want. Just meditate about the things you like or love about your partner. They can be personality or physical attributes. They can be things that they have achieved in their life or things both of you have done together.
Here are some examples to get you started. There are probably dozens you can say. The wording doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to put it in your own words. I shouldn’t take more than a minute.
“I know I don’t say this much, but I love it when you laugh like that.”
“You are such a caring and dedicated parent to our children. That means so much to me.”
“The way you handled that problem was brilliant. You are one of the smartest people I know.”
“Wasn’t our vacation in the Bahamas wonderful? We had so much fun at that karaoke bar. Some singer you are!”
“You always seem to want my opinion on things. That makes me feel important. Thanks.”
“I appreciate your working overtime. And you do it when you’re tired. What a trooper!”
Oh, and when you are done, be sure to do this little experiment. Be sure to take note of how the tone of your relationship changes for the better throughout the day. Slam dunk.
And all of this in just one short minute; an incredible return on your investment!
Try this today and let me know how it works for you.