“In a year defined by loss and isolation, generosity is both medicinal and contagious. Caring for one another can reduce stress, decrease depression, restore a sense of self-worth and improve physical health.”
-Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine
When you’re struggling, it’s hard to feel generous. COVID hasn’t helped because, let’s face it, 24/7 time together can be grating. Yet, when I think about which couples turn their relationships around, nurturing a spirit of generosity is a key factor.
Generosity towards one’s partner doesn’t just happen, particularly when things are difficult. You have to think about it. Build it. Reflect on who you, yourself, wish to be. Consciously add generous moments to your relationship. Yet inconsistency, chronic resentment, parent-child dynamics all push back – tempting you to give in to the negative feelings and nurture those, instead.
Fight back! The choice to nurture generosity has a huge impact in your daily life. Here are some examples of how you might be more generous:
Though your partner has been pretty good lately about not parenting you, she lays into you about getting the taxes done.
Generous response: Rather than assume she’s reverting to old patterns, assume she had a bad day. Assure her you are getting to the taxes on X day and ask her if there is anything else she might need.
Your partner is working with a coach and getting more things ‘right.’ But he still makes some mistakes that are driving you crazy.
Generous response: Acknowledge his progress rather than critiquing his continued challenges, and use your own gratitude journal to connect with the positive.
You ask your partner to tell you he loves you and he responds in an unsatisfying, ‘clunky’ way that doesn’t align with what you had expected.
Generous response: instead of following feelings of resentment or hopelessness, remind yourself that your partner didn’t communicate using the words you had expected, but was still trying to tell you how much they loved you. Do some positive interpretation…and perhaps talk with them about your love language some time in the future.
Generosity in ADHD-impacted relationships comes in the form of taming negative responses, looking for deeper meaning, refraining from judging your partner’s approach, and seeking to express affection. All of these are the basis for genuine gain for you both.
How could you be more generous in your relationship?
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For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life! Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals.
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