Raising a little human is a reasonably time-consuming affair. Yep, you heard it here first. With an extra person on board – one that is entirely dependent on you – it is fairly easy to neglect the one that isn’t. Occasionally this is fine, maybe even necessary, but the problem is if you play the same song long enough eventually it’s going to get stuck in your head.
That’s where my and I husband found ourselves a little while back, in our early baby-wrangling days. While we didn’t let the issue get to a concerning level we were both painfully aware that if we ignored the habits and attitudes that were slowly forming that in a year or two it would be concerning. So instead of ignoring it we decided to commit ourselves to a tune-up, a service, realignment and any other car-related pun you can think of.
Whether you have children or not though, most relationships need a tune-up occasionally and sometimes realising it is the hardest part. Here are the 3 things I have done which have helped my husband and I reconnect and realign since that crazy, wonderful, little creature entered our world.
The Imaginary Pen Pal
If your relationship is stuck in a rut then it is bloody easy to forget all the brilliant things about it. It can sometimes feel like you can’t resolve anything before another irritation/snipe/issue rears its ugly head. You either snap or resign yourself to it and walk off muttering like a madman. You need to refocus on all the good stuff, quick smart. A great solution is the imaginary pen pal. Don’t roll your eyes, it works!
Sit yourself down with a pen and paper and write a letter to your imaginary long-lost pen pal. Pretend you haven’t written to them since meeting your partner. You can’t wait to tell them the whole story. Write about how you met, describe them (all your favourite bits), talk about the highlights, and laugh about the bad bits. Brag about all that is good – their positive attributes, what you love most about them, what your plans are for the future. Basically this is just a giant, person-specific gratitude List!
By the end of my letter not only had I been reminded about how flippin’ amazing my husband is but I also had a bit of clarity on my own actions. Things that ‘were totally his fault’ all of a sudden made a bit more sense. I realised I wasn’t being his cheerleader: I was struggling against him. As far as light-bulb moments go this was pretty blinding.
The Myers-Briggs Test
This is not your average personality test. It only has four questions however it is basically a crystal ball. Since discovering the test I have forced everyone in my life to take it as well and have had so many moments rolling around in hysterics at the perceptiveness of it. For example it picked up that for my personality type (ENFP – The Inspirer) I find cleaning particularly hard-work and “find life very unpleasant when forced to partake in such mundane activities”. My parents found that particularly amusing. It also noticed that I harbor an “extreme dislike for criticism” – hang on, that’s ringing some bells?
Besides being a novelty this test DOES have its purpose. For us it sort of “reworded” a lot of opinions and thoughts that we had each been having and explained certain behaviours. It also spoke to the absolute strengths of the other person and (similar to the Pen-Pal solution) made us realise how lucky we were to have each other.
Basically I can’t recommend it enough in developing communication and understanding between new or established relationships. Warning though – it can be a little confronting. But I highly recommend it.
- Take the test here
- Then Google your “your 4 letter code + personality page”.
Interesting fact: Out of the 15 tests I have now forced upon friends and family not once has the ‘career choice’ section been wrong. It has picked all of my loved ones as the doctors, accountants, artists and wanderers that they are.
Listen – properly. With nothing else on your mind. Put down what you are doing or put aside the list that is coursing through your mind. Be 100% fully present, as if it was your first date. Ask questions. Turn off the TV. Stop playing with your phone. No more half communication.