Imagine the scene: You've got a good friend visiting and she's brought some mud in on her shoes. Would you yell at her for not taking her shoes off? Demand she clean it up immediately?
How about a friend drives you somewhere and takes a wrong turn. Would you make her feel like a dimwit? Cross your arms and get in a huff?
And if she spilled some food down her front in a restaurant? Would you tut and shake your head in a 'can't take you anywhere' kind of way?
Of course you wouldn't!
But what if the person in these scenarios was your husband? Hmmmm....
The point is, we treat our friends kinder than we do our own partner. (You know, the one who's meant to be our very best friend. The one we spend the most time with?)
Nit picking, nagging, snide comments -- you'd never treat your close friends this way, yet it's easy to fall into these bad habits with your man.
I can't stand being treated like a child. I see red when my husband makes me feel worse for a mistake I'm already feeling crap about. Yet I know I'm guilty of criticizing him in a way I'd never do with a girlfriend.
Recently I started treating my husband more like a friend. And do you know what? He's being nice back.
It's almost like our honeymoon stage when the other could do no wrong. (But without the cystitis from too much shagging.)
Here's how I aim to keep it up -- and how you can get started.
Four Ways to Give Your Man the Best Friend Treatment:
1. Be interested.
Just as you'd listen attentively to a friend, do the same with him. Be aware of your body language, facial expression and tone. Stop what you're doing. Make eye contact. Be genuinely curious. Ask "and then what happened?" in your best non-snarky voice.
2. Show support.
If a friend shares a new goal or project she's excited about you'd share her enthusiasm, right? Instead of giving him a reality check on ten reasons why it'll never work, keep an open mind. If he's stressed about work, put yourself in his shoes and be supportive. You don't have to one-up him on what a bad day you've had.
3. Use the 5:1 rule.
Aim to say five kind things for every negative one. It can be hard to keep a daily track of this, but the gist is: say more nice things than bad.
4. Bite your tongue.
When you find yourself about to say something unkind or unhelpful -- even if you're already in mid-sentence - press your mental pause button. The more you practice, the better you get. Believe me! I was terrible at this before and I'm improving.
It's easy to get too comfortable and forget the basics of being kind and considerate.
Give it a try and see what happens. He may just begin to give you the Best Friend Treatment too.
Kelly Pietrangeli helps mothers see life beyond the laundry pile so they can take charge of their own happiness. Her free Project Me Life Wheel Tool has helped thousands of women to find a happier balance between the kids - and everything else. Click here to give the Life Wheel Tool a spin for yourself.
Follow Project Me on Facebook