My husband and I have been working out consistently for over a year and the great news is we’ve lost a significant amount of weight. To celebrate, we are going to buy new clothes. Our old clothes are baggy and less attractive on our thinner bodies. A change of season is a good time to buy new clothes and to freshen up our wardrobes with new styles, new colors, and smaller sizes. While my husband eagerly looks forward to buying new clothes, I’m less enthusiastic. I’m not the size I want to be, and I don’t want to invest a lot of money in clothes that will need to be tossed or altered rather quickly. The process of replacing the old with the new, or the hesitancy to fully embrace the new makes me think of relationships. How can we renew our relationships? Conversely, how are our unmet hopes and dreams keeping us from taking on new habits to rejuvenate our relationships?
While those big baggy clothes may be comfortable to me, they don’t achieve my desired look or result. Will I walk around in clothes made for someone else just because it is easier? Will I hide behind layers of oversized clothes instead of allowing others to see the authentic me?
How often do we find in relationships, that we go along with a decision we do not like simply because it is easier than expressing our feelings, voicing our opinions or having another disagreement? If you put enough of these “go along to get along” events together, you get years of suppressed feelings.
As it applies to your relationship, what areas do you need to energize? Do you need to eradicate old habits of withdrawing during disagreements? Are there spending habits that need to change? Do you need to end the game and stop keeping score with your spouse? Do you need to express yourself to your spouse? Do you need to strip away selfish behaviors? What old habits do you need to purge from your toolbox?
I’ve been cleaning the closets in preparation for the new clothes and useful items that will occupy the same space. As I was cleaning, I found some things we didn’t need, never wore, and will not replace. Many people use the three-month rule, if you haven’t used something in three months, then you don’t need it.
What are you keeping that you don’t need? Are there friendships you don’t need to maintain? Are there social media accounts that you need to close? Have time and technological advancements made certain behaviors obsolete? Are you holding on to old dreams that you can no longer achieve due to time or circumstances? Are your hopes and dreams realistic?
You may be asking yourself, when do I have time to clean beyond the basics? If you’re unable to make room for the new stuff, you may choose to clutter up your home with both the old and the new. Similarly, in relationships, we refuse to purge old habits. We reject opportunities to reflect on the state of our relationships and concede to adding more unhealthy habits to a despairing relationship.
What new habits and behaviors do you need to make room for in your relationship? Do you need to include weekly date nights? Do you need to add monthly family meetings? Do you need to incorporate time to serve in the community together? Do you need to embrace one of your spouse’s favorite hobbies? Do you need to add authentic friendships and community? Is your sexual intimacy on life support? Do you need to boost your self-care routine, or create a routine?
No one wants to be in a relationship replete with years of disappointments, arguments, unforgiveness, and score keeping. Therefore, it is imperative to make the priorities in your life a priority. Whether it is clearing out unhealthy communication habits, reducing spending tendencies, or deleting social media accounts, there are ways you can freshen up your relationship with the change of the seasons. Think about how good it would feel to rid your relationship of some of the unwanted items and to give your relationship a fresh start. You get to decide where to start. Whether you’ve been together for 2 years or 25 years, keep it fresh, exciting, and interesting. Be the A+ student of your spouse. Your relationship will be better for your efforts.