In relationships, the tendency to criticize and search for shortcomings in our partner can often supersede all other thought processes. Unfortunate, really. Or... perhaps, an opportunity to rediscover our partner in a new light. Taking the time to recognize the strengths and qualities you appreciate about your partner will undoubtedly reignite that spark inside of you.
So... right now, I am serving you a call to action: Pull out a piece of paper, or open up a blank document on your phone or computer. Here's your (less than) 10-minute assignment:
Write down five physical things you love about your partner.
Example: green eyes, sexy bod, curly hair, gorgeous smile.
Write down five qualities you love and appreciate about your partner.
Example: funny, affectionate, passionate, kind, handy.
Write down two situations where you remember feeling strong love for your partner.
Example: When I saw my husband playing with our children this weekend, there was nothing I needed more in that moment than to see him laughing with them and creating those memories.
Now, notice how you are feeling after having written down the above items. Did you crack a smile? Do you feel happy, soft, lighter, or more loving? Perhaps you find yourself feeling frustrated if it took a while to identify anything or if you are experiencing conflict at this time in your relationship. I urge you to go back and try to fill in your responses with some positive things, even if you have to reflect on months or years ago.
Begin to allow yourself to focus on what your partner is doing (or has done) well versus what they are doing wrong. Focus on who they are, not who they aren't or have never been. Change your focus and you will change the lens through which you are seeing this person.
Next step: Pick three or four items that you wrote about, and share them with your partner today. Call them on the phone or tell them when you are both home at the end of the day. Share an appreciation for the things you identified. This is not meant to fix all of your problems and make a pronounced difference in your relationship today, but with a conscious effort to identify what your partner is already doing well and already has to offer, you will begin to experience him/her in a different way.
Imagine how you would feel if your partner came home today and told you: "I was thinking about some things I love and appreciate about you, and I wanted to tell you how wonderful you are for spending time with our children and making those special memories with our family. Also, your eyes are as beautiful as the day I met you."