Spring is traditionally the time we get to work on all the extra chores to wake our home up from its winter slumber. We clean and scrub and let the light and air in, freshening and sprucing up our living environment. Perhaps we should make time to spring clean our relationships too? Yes? Well, here’s how to go about it.
1. Assess Your Goals
One of the first steps to spring cleaning your relationship is to take a step back and think about the goals that you both share. A long-term relationship can often get clouded by a number of different issues and situations that distract you and your partner from the core values of your partnership. Make a spring cleaning effort to strip back all of these unnecessary elements and refocus your relationship on the key shared goals that you set out with together at the beginning.
2. Realistic Changes
Sometimes people try to make relationship changes that are too grand or too hard to achieve, and therefore it never feels as though anything progressive is happening. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, instead think about making small changes that are easy enough to implement that they eventually become habit. You will get a great sense of achievement and a feeling that you have refreshed your relationship when these changes come in to effect.
3. Output over Outcome
Make the effort to start new activities together, but don’t make the mistake of setting targets that you will be disappointed with if you don’t meet them. For example, if you go on a joint weight loss journey, don’t set a target amount to loss, but rather just commit to going to the gym two days a week, have fewer takeouts and eat healthier. That way, it will be easier to stick to the deal without having to worry about meeting specific targets.
Treat the spring cleaning of your relationship just like you would treat the spring cleaning of your apartment; take it one room, or one step, at a time. In your mind, go from one aspect of your relationship to the other and think about what could be improved and what could be changed altogether. It will be much easier to assess the relationship if you take it one part at a time.
5. Work on Friendship
Many people believe that the foundation of a perfect relationship is in the strong friendship that came before it. If you are looking to spring clean your partnership and get back to basics, it’s a good idea to go back to the beginning and work on the small things that built your friendship in the first place. Taking some time out from the strictly romantic side to focus more on a personal connection can do wonders for the overall strength of your partnership.
6. Manage Conflict
Take some time to think about the way that you manage conflict with your partner. Is the aftermath always worse than the actual argument? It shouldn’t be this way; having an argument can be a healthy release, but you need to make sure that you don’t allow the memory of it to penetrate the rest of your relationship. Make a resolution to deal better with your conflicts.
7. Dream Big
Though I have cautioned being realistic with goals that you set, there is no reason why you shouldn’t dream big in your relationship. Having grand visions means that you can see a long term future with your partner, and this sort of attitude should be encouraged!
Some might say these things should always be at the forefront of your relationship. I an ideal world you can’t really argue with that, but it reality many couples don’t give their partnership the housework it needs to keep it spick and span. I think there’s no harm in having a special time of year to give some real focus to assessing and changing your relationship.