Grams Wisdom 6
When I was 40 something I embarked on a new relationship. Only to find Gram had still more wisdom to share with me. Just a few months in she wanted to know was I happy and was I taking good care of him?
I admit to the desire to remind her that he was also a grown up and I hardly felt that at this stage of my life his care should be my responsibility. But I kept that thought to myself.
It seemed Gram wanted to remind me that in any couple’s relationship, what matters most is each other. Children grow and go, careers ebb and flow. If you can manage a loving caring relationship into old age, then fortune will have smiled on you.
Take a vacation
Actually, Gram said “don’t stay home and paint the house.” Whether you are a couple or a family with children, everyone benefits from a change of scenery. You and your spouse or partner need to have some fun time together to rest and recharge or soon your relationship becomes tiresome and stale.
Consider tackling that large project over several weekends instead of during your vacation. Otherwise you might come home to a newly painted house after work every day, but as you roll into the driveway you won’t appreciate it. Instead all you will see are the difficulties you encountered, how tired you were at the end of each day, and the unkind things you probably said to one another.
Play to your strengths at home
Next, she said a peaceful happy home revolves around getting things done but not if one person is doing the lion’s share of the household chores.
I was told I should play to my strengths, choose and do the chores that I wanted to do. Have him choose the things he wanted to do. Share some tasks and negotiate any leftover chores. Then finally, pay someone to do what neither of us wanted to do.
What I learned on my own
Beware of Taking Each Other for Granted
Whenever a couple begins to live together or get married, everything is so new and exciting that you think it will go on forever. Unfortunately, day-to-day stresses and busy schedules can soon mean the excitement wears off and you feel like you are living in a well-worn rut. It’s like you’ve become roommates, not lovers, and have begun to take each other for granted.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The important thing to know is what bad habits are passion killers and avoid them. In fact, you could introduce some everyday habits that would prevent you from taking each other for granted. Here are some suggestions:
Learn Each Other’s Love Languages
The marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman has written a series of books titled, The 5 Love Languages. The five are:
* Acts of service
* Physical touch
* Quality time
In the books, he states that everyone has a primary and secondary love language. Knowing your partner’s love language can help them feel appreciated and not taken for granted.
You might think you are being loving if you buy gifts or do acts of service, for example, but if your partner values quality time and physical touch, you will clearly not be speaking the same language.
Ironically, in many cases, one of the partners in a relationship will often become a workaholic because their love language is acts of service, but this will mean little to a partner who wants quality time with their significant other. The promise to "work less someday" often comes too little, too late, because the spouse waiting for quality time feels so alone and so taken for granted.
The workaholic partner can feel taken for granted as well: "I’m working so hard every day, and all my spouse ever does is complain I’m not home with them holding hands. Don’t they know I’m doing all this for THEM?"
Follow Through on Your Love Language Research
You can each take the free quiz online to determine your primary and secondary love languages. If they don’t mesh at all, it will be important to discuss what you can each do to ensure that the other person doesn’t feel taken for granted. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/
Here are a few suggestions you can work into your daily schedule as positive habits that show you care, but without taking up too much time or money.
Acts of service
This means doing the dishes, taking out the trash, feeding and walking the dogs, helping more with the children, taking the car to the car-wash, doing the cooking or the laundry.
It’s easy to give words of praise:
* I’m so proud of you
* Well done
* That was amazing
* You’re such a great cook
* You’re a great dad, helping out with the kids so much
* And so, on
The praise should be sincere and, if possible, specific to something the other person has done recently. This shows you are noticing them and not taking them for granted.
Little things can mean a lot:
* A single red rose
* Their favorite candy
* A piece of clothing you know they had their eye on at the mall
* A nice meal out
* A note tucked where it will be found later
And anything else that you know they would like.
This can be tough if you have kids, but it is worth it to make the effort:
* Thirty minutes of chatting and hand-holding once the kids are asleep
* A regular date night
* A shared activity you both enjoy, such as a walk or a bike ride at your local beauty spot
* Walk the dog(s) together
In many cases, this will mean sex, but it can mean a lot of other things as well:
* Holding hands
* Trading massages
* Showering or bathing together
And anything else you both enjoy.
Find your love languages and give these ideas a try - then see how it helps bring romance into your life rather than your having taken each other for granted.
I hope you enjoyed this small mix of my Gram’s wisdom with some of my own. If you found it valuable, please share it. I appreciate you taking your time to read this.