Confession: I prefer to refrigerate my garbage before I throw it out, or at least that’s what you’d think if you looked in my fridge. Every morning, when I open the door to get cream for my coffee, I brace myself for a waft of some unidentified, unimaginable smell.
I will admit that a part of me is hoping the item stinking up the fridge will somehow just walk away or that my partner will decide to tackle the problem. Only the first of those two is likely to happen, so I will work myself up to braving the task.
Soon. I promise.
This is a cautionary tale. Relationships are like fridges: they require some regular cleaning-out of the stinky stuff in order to function. From time to time, you need to roll up your sleeves and see what can be done to make your relationship a place where you want to actually hang out. A place that nurtures and supports you (instead of making you crinkle your nose in disgust).
Caring for your relationship and giving it a once-over is one of the most important things parents can do; it models great communication and problem-solving for little ones, and they also benefit from the results.
As you sweep out the closets, change the linens, swap the cozy and warm for the bright and fresh, I invite you to do the same in your relationships with these three steps:
Step 1: Explore what isn’t working. You can do this with a family meeting or a dedicated Date Night. A relaxed but deliberate discussion will help you uncover what’s working and what’s not serving you as individuals and the relationship as a whole. From there, you can work together to shift as necessary. These shifts could include big changes, like new jobs, or small changes, like switching up the morning routine to fit around some new priorities.
Step 2: Consider what you’d like to create. Remember those New Year’s Resolutions? The spring is a great time to revisit those goals and plans and see what, if anything, needs to change in order to make them happen. Maybe you planned to put some money aside for a trip this year, and then had to spend a lot on a new hot water tank for the house—ah, domestic bliss! Rather than abandon the whole plan, you can simply adjust and perhaps change a goal. Revisit those priorities, see what’s still possible, and move ahead accordingly.
As we gleefully step out in the sunshine and dance in the streets (or maybe that’s just me, climbing out from months of unexpected snow!), it’s a natural time to look ahead to the rest of the year and roll around in what’s possible.
Step 3: Let go. A critical part of any cleaning project is releasing what we no longer need. This might be obvious when it comes to belongings in our home, but we may also need to say goodbye to resentment and old hurts lingering in our relationships. It’s important to tread lightly, kindly and with compassion as we let go of these things. Just as we were only doing our best when we bought the ugly lamp at the garage sale (that needs to GO), our loved ones were trying their best when they acted in a way that hurt us. If we name it, accept the apology, and decide to let it go, we get to face the spring and all that it will bring with open hearts.
Even if your relationship is “just fine” (and I hope that it is!), every great couple can benefit from a little sprucing up from time to time in order to be in sync and even more in love. When we spend the time to care for our relationships, homes, and lives in this way, everyone benefits.
Love and Communication Expert, Tara Caffelle is known by many as the Relationship Fairy Godmother. Her artful coaching techniques help couples rekindle a deeper love and lasting commitment. If your relationship needs a little inspiration (or a lot!) follow Tara on Facebook or Instagram or get in touch with her here!