20 Mar 2013
The Love Diet
If you’ve ever been on a luxury cruise or vacation where you ate more sweet and rich foods than you usually do and were less active than you normally are, you probably came home feeling rested and relaxed but with a few extra pounds, too!
Post-vacation, you may have started a new diet and exercise routine to work off the weight you picked up to get your body back to where you were before — or closer to the size and shape you’ve been wanting to be.
The very same idea applies to your relationship. If you’re like many couples, you and your partner have probably fallen into some habits that are “weighing” you down. These are things that you both do that take you apart and cause conflict and unhappiness.
It’s time to go on the LOVE DIET!
The love diet is actually pretty simple. Figure out what it is that you do that brings distance and disconnection to your relationship and then commit to doing things differently and stick with it. This inevitably means cutting out certain behaviors and adding in others.
While there are probably a lot of things your partner could be doing differently, focus in on how YOU contribute to relationship problems and also on what you’re willing to change.
This doesn’t mean your partner is off the hook or that he or she isn’t playing a role.
What it does mean is that you can make a big difference in your relationship if you go on a Love Diet and watch what happens.
There’s no need for you to lecture your partner or have “the talk” and list off what he or she needs to change. When YOU stop reacting in ways that inflame conflict or push your partner away, he or she can’t help but change for the better.
Your repeated behavior changes will demonstrate and help establish a new normal and pretty soon your partner will join in too.
And yes, you can ask your partner to join you on the Love Diet, but be sure to do so with an invitation.
Guilt and manipulation are not positive motivators. Instead, talk about how excited you are to get back to loving, connecting and having more fun and passion together. Share about what you plan to do to help make those things happen.
Essentials of the Love Diet:
One thing that bloats your relationship is blame, even if you don’t speak it out loud. Watch your thoughts and notice how frequently you make your partner the one to blame for disagreements, misunderstandings and how you feel.
Blameful thoughts will spill over in the way you communicate with your partner and they’ll block intimacy and passion.
Know the difference between blame and responsibility. Take your share of whatever happened and work with your partner to resolve the situation so you two can move on. Together.
As honest as you think you may be, chances are you’re not. It’s likely that there are countless “little” ways that you regularly hedge about the truth or hide how you really feel and what you really want–from your partner and yourself too.
Acknowledge the ways that you are dishonest with yourself and with your partner. This might come from a desire to please or keep the peace or it could be an attempt to get out of “trouble.” Be honest and open for the sake of your relationship health.
Your Love Diet won’t be effective without heartfelt appreciation. If things have been tense for you and your partner, this might take some time, so be patient. Set an intention to find 3 things you can genuinely appreciate about your partner every day.
What is it that your partner does that you might overlook or brush off but that makes your life easier or more pleasant and comfortable? You can appreciate actions, physical attributes or personality characteristics.
As you find 3 things to appreciate, take a few moments to feel how it feels to be in a place of appreciation. Use words like, “I love the way you…” or “I smile when I think about your…” or “It really turns me on when you…” to communicate those good feelings to your partner.
Be on the lookout for improvements as you stick with the Love Diet. Notice them (even if they seem small) and celebrate how much closer you and your partner are becoming!
Want to know even MORE essentials for a close and connected relationship where you and your partner can talk about anything– including difficult topics? They’re here in 500 Communication Tips and Secrets! Go to:
Susie & Otto Collins