On a rainy day with temperatures falling, it’s hard to believe that spring has finally arrived. Yet evidence of new life is all around me. Cherry blossoms, hyacinths, and daffodils dapple my yard with pops of color, as a freeze warning pings on my Android.
I’m thinking about protecting plants, cleaning and prepping flower beds, and starting a long overdue house cleaning. Things inside and out became cluttered over a long cold winter.
Cluttered. That’s how relationships can feel at times. All those problems we keep avoiding create a mountain of yuck that dulls the original shine and sparkle we once experienced.
So why not channel a bit of that spring cleaning energy into something really important? I think it’s time to recapture the sparkle and shine in our relationships.
Here are 5 super simple ways to direct our cleaning efforts:
Purge what doesn’t work.
At my house, we know it’s time to pick up sticks, fallen limbs, and yard waste outside. Meanwhile we’re purging old clothes and tchotchkes that no longer serve a valuable purpose inside.
Relationships can be cluttered with many things that serve no valuable purpose in a lasting connection: nagging, meaningless arguments, emotional or physical disconnect, avoidance, or unhealthy attachments people other than partners.
What needs to be purged from your relationship? A personal habit? A joint interaction style?
Try something new together.
Once we tidy up inside and outside our homes, we find space and room to plant something new. Or perhaps we’ll tweak the décor in a room to breathe new life into an old space.
Relationships need a similar “breath of fresh air” to relieve the staleness of “same old same old”. When you and your partner try something new, your connection is strengthened. You step into the unknown as a team – much like you did when you were just starting out.
What new thing can you try with your partner? Dancing or cooking lessons? A day trip to a new locale? Watching a new-to-you series together on Netflix?
Plan to have fun together each week.
Spring is the time when some of us experiment. We plant colorful flowers or install whimsical yard art outside. We set out “springy” décor inside. Just for the fun of it.
Relationships need the same spirit of fun and play. It’s part of what drew us together in the first place. Remember?
What fun can you plan with your partner? It could be something new as above, or something old that you haven’t done in ages. What is fun to you and your partner is as unique as your relationship. Make play a regular commitment.
Begin and end each day gratitude.
There was a time when I didn’t appreciate my yard: we had moss and weeds where our neighbors had a pristine carpet of green – with nary a weed in sight. But a wise master gardener taught me to accept and work with what I have – to be grateful for a naturalized lot. Now I see beauty outside every day.
Relationships thrive when gratitude is present daily. Gratitude pumps light and positivity into dark and negative places.
Start a daily practice of creating a gratitude list. Each day, share with each other and record something about the other for which you are grateful.
Tune in to each other.
To get anything done outside or inside, this time of year I have to tune in to what is in front of me. For long cold months, I’ve ignored branches that are scattered all over my yard. I’ve become immune to piles of stuff inside.
Relationships also thrive on the ability of each partner to tune in to the other. When we sense that our partners are fully present, we feel heard, valued, and connected. When we are ignored or dismissed, we feel unheard, devalued, and disconnected.
Practice of paying attention (tuning in) to your partner when they speak. Let this more present kind of communication demonstrate how you each value the other.
Bonus: Simple does not mean easy.
Okay, that’s it. Five super simple ideas to breathe new life into your current relationship. Note that simple does not mean easy to execute. But simple ideas are often easiest to remember: Purge, New, Fun, Gratitude, Tune in.
And if we remember those 5 words, we may have a chance of bringing some sparkle and shine back into our relationships.
So now, over to you. What are your ideas of spring cleaning a relationship? Post them in the comments section below.
If your Relationship With Yourself needs help, I encourage you to explore couples counseling.
And if my words resonate with you, I invite you to contact me.