Couples blame each other for the problems in their relationship. Actually, the problems are often the result of a circular interaction. Each person’s behavior is the result of an action that preceded it and is also a trigger for the partner’s action that follows it. For example, a husband may work late. The wife may interpret his coming home late as lack of love for her so she withdraws emotionally and won’t allow touching. He then stays late at work again because of her withdrawal.
Couples also develop balance in the roles they assume. If one person is very responsible about keeping the house clean, the other one may be more casual or even sloppy. Michele Weiner-Davis in her book Divorce Busting compares this type of balancing to what happens when riding a tandem bicycle. If one person stops pedaling, the other one must do all the work.
Notice the behavior between you that you want to have happen more frequently. Often couples stop doing fun things together or stop being affectionate with each other because of a negative cycle. What they don’t realize is that the lack of these fun or affectionate behaviors increases and compounds the problems between them.
The reverse is also true. Enjoyment in a relationship does much to help us forget the hurt or the differences. Couples don’t realize that changes in behavior lead to changes in their positive feelings toward each other. Feelings don’t change first, in other words. What do you want your marriage to be like? What kinds of things do you want your partner to do that will show you that he/she cares? What kinds of things does your partner want you to do that will show him/her you care? What were each of you doing when things were going well that you are no longer doing?
If we want romance in our marriage we must purposely act in romantic ways toward our partner. Give spontaneous hugs and kisses. Give compliments. Send cards and flowers. Spend fun time together. Go out together. Our feelings toward others don’t just happen. Our own actions and involvement with our partner shape our feelings. Therefore, if we “act romantic” we will feel more loving. If we give of ourselves to the other person we will feel more commitment.
“Do for others what you would like them to do for you.” Matt. NLT