When I was a freshman in college, I took a Psychology class where the teacher assigned the most valuable assignment I had in all 4 years of college. She encouraged us to choose someone with whom we felt our relationship could be improved. The challenge was for us to look for ways to change OURSELVES in order to change the relationship. While it was easier to see the things the other person could afford to change about themselves, she wanted us to change only ourselves for 2 weeks and observe the change in the relationship.
I chose my roommate. We were already friends, but I felt that we could be closer, considering we lived together and all. So I started doing simple things, like being more considerate and looking for ways to serve her, or by being more grateful for what she did instead of seeing what she didn't do. Though our relationship was good to begin with, by the end of the project, we were best friends. It was the most incredible experience for me to realize the power we have to change ourselves and thereby change relationships.
This has been on my mind lately because I think I can use this principle right now with the most important relationship in my life--my relationship with my husband. The end of last year was the best our family has ever known. He and I were closer than ever, better friends than ever, better parents than ever. It was a wonderful, wonderful time. But then, the new year came and the last 3 months have been pretty stressful.
I've been feeling the stress a lot, as has he, and I don't think I'm handling it very well. I'm focusing on ME, rather than on HIM and US. See, the problem is that instead of being his #1 cheerleader, I've become his #1 critic. I'm pointing out where he could really pitch in more at home, where he could love ME better, how he could try harder. As my eyes have been opened to it, I've come to realize how selfish I've been.
So I have decided that I am going to start my own Change First project with my husband. There is no relationship more important than my relationship with him. He is my best friend, he is my companion, he is my everything. So I need to do everything I can to be better.
Janae's post a few weeks ago (found here) really stands out to me. How much better would my relationship with my husband be if I employed those phrases? What relationship wouldn't benefit from saying and hearing more "thank you", "I'm sorry", "I love you", "I need you", "You Can Do It", "I Believe In You", "I’m Proud of You", "I was Wrong", "I Need You", "I Trust You"? I think all would.
I'm starting with being more grateful. I'm going to see how many times I can see what he does and verbally thank him for it. I'll work on that one for a couple days and then add another one. I know it takes 3 weeks to make a habit, but I don't have 30 weeks to spend to get each of them down. I need to change myself NOW. Sure, I'll work on making these changes a habit and a permanent change, but for now, I'm going to take 2 weeks of changing myself to see if I can change my relationship with him.
What relationship do you have in your life that could use improvement? Take this challenge with me and lets see what miracles can occur.