Have you ever had a relationship challenge in your marriage where everything you tried just made it worse?
Or maybe you just didn’t feel as close to your spouse as you once did and didn’t know where to start?
In times like these, we often think something “big” has to happen for us to get what we want–
But not so.
In marriages and in life, the smallest things can make the biggest difference.
The “smallest” things could be specific words and phrases to say to help you and your partner to stay open to one another when it’s tough.
If you need help with some of those words and phrases, check out our Magic Relationship Words
Otto’s been taking Aikido lessons for the past few months and one lesson he’s seeing is just what we’ve been talking about…
The smallest things can make the biggest difference.
Last night at his Aikido practice, he performed a move with his training partner.
When the sensei (instructor) instructed the training partners to push on the wrists of the other person, Otto discovered that although he thought he was centered, when his partner did this–he wasn’t.
Otto was completely off balance.
When Otto made one small adjustment to shift his energy to his core, his training partner was unable to push him off balance.
This is exactly the way it is in relationships.
One small adjustment can change the whole dynamic between the two of you.
Okay, so we’ll give you a few examples to explain what we mean…
(Caution–Don’t dismiss the examples we’re about to give you because they are so small, seem like no-brainers, and not very important. They are!)
**Look up at your loved one when he or she comes home and smile.
The idea is to interrupt what you’re doing for just a moment to acknowledge that he or she is that important to you.
One of the biggest reasons relationships wither and die is that the two people don’t feel important to each another any longer.
That one moment of acknowledging the other’s presence in a loving way speaks far more than words can express.
It says, “I’m glad to see you and you are important to me.”
Imagine that your loved one is coming in the door right now. What do you do?
Do you say “hello” but still stay engrossed in Facebook, the tv or whatever you’re doing?
Do you say nothing at all and ignore him or her?
Do you go be with your loved one, look in his or her eyes, smile and let them know you’re glad to see them when you come together after being apart?
We invite you to make this one tiny shift and see what happens.
**When your loved one does something that makes you mad or goes against your rules for living, take a step away from the fight and look for when that might be true about you as well.
You may not find anything–but you might.
We know this is a tough one because we struggle with it too. It just seems like it’s human nature to want to be right and make someone else wrong, but…
It’s also something very small that can take the fight out of a situation so you’re both open to finding a
mutually satisfying solution to the issue.
Here’s a brief example of what we mean…
Otto’s 21 year old son lives with us and he sometimes leaves the door to the garage from the kitchen open.
Now this isn’t too much of a problem unless it’s 95 degrees outside and the air conditioning is on–non-stop–and in the grand scheme of things not a big deal.
We both feel irritated when he “forgets” to close this door and we want to tell him to “wake up” and remember to do it–along with a lot of other things.
Now we could do it this way (and we have) but it seems that when we accuse him and ask “Why can’t you remember to close the door?”– he tunes us out.
It’s made a difference when we’ve stopped to remember that both of us have left that door open too–
Maybe not often but we have done it.
So in talking to him about it and in putting up a sign on the door to keep it closed–it’s for all of us to pay attention to.
And now he remembers (most of the time) to do it.
There are some situations where it may not be so easy to see when you’ve done the same thing or something similar.
In fact, it might be something that you would NEVER do.
We’ve found it helpful to relate it to the energy behind whatever it is you’re looking at.
If you’re accusing your partner of withholding information from you, ask yourself when you’ve not been totally honest with someone else.
It may not be your partner but chances are if you look hard enough, you’ll find somewhere where you’ve acted in this way.
When you see that you’ve acted the same way, you’re not so ready to go to war, you’re not so defensive and neither is your partner..
You’re more willing to listen and so is your partner.
This is one small thing that can make a huge difference.
So how about you?
As you continue to go about your daily life, are you willing to just do one small thing to make a difference in your relationship?
If so, what could that one thing be?
As we’ve just suggested and know from our own lives (and the lives of the people we’ve worked with), one small change really can make a big difference in your relationship and life.