“When we got the negativity out of our relationship we felt there was something missing. We felt anxious. We figured out that what we needed to do was add positive input – anything that affirmed each other. Helen and I do three affirmations every day, right before we go to bed, as well as at other times.”
- Harville Hendrix
Filling the Gaps
A gratitude practice or an affirmations practice is a great way to improve the proportion of positives to negatives in your relationship. (Remember, Gottman suggests you need 5 positives for every 1 negative interaction…). As things start to calm before you, why not add the positive back?
Here are some ways to do that which have worked for some of my clients.
Every evening, commit to getting together and having each of you complete this sentence, “The most important thing you need to know about me today is…”. (you might tell of an emotion, a proud moment, something you are anxious about, etc). Don’t problem solve for your partner, just listen and validate.
Starting a gratitude practice about your life. Keep a journal next to your bed and every evening write “I am grateful for…” and finish that sentence a minimum of three times. This helps reset your general emotional mindet.
Sharing a partnership appreciation practice. Once a day (perhaps at dinner, perhaps at bedtime) tell your partner what you most appreciate about them that particular day.
Creating a cuddle time. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier, or do this in the evenings. Hold each other for about 10 minutes in a non-sexual way. Maybe you listen to your partner’s heartbeat, or just relax into the hug. The only rule is that if you speak it can only be of positive things. Otherwise, stay quiet and try to relax into being with each other.
How could you fill the gaps with positive interactions?
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