Search Results for: self compassion

Self-Compassion & Marriage?

Are you hard on yourself? Do you expect more from yourself than you do of others? Do you struggle to forgive yourself? If so, you could be robbing your marriage and your spouse of greater happiness. A study involving 209 heterosexual couples found that a “caring, kind, and attentive attitude toward oneself, especially with regard to your own shortcomings,” contributes to greater happiness in marriages. In other words, self-compassion leads to happier marriages, happier spouses, and greater satisfaction in sexual intimacy. Men, in particular, reported a higher level of relationship satisfaction if their wife was self-compassionate. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like in your marriage? Ironically, it begins with practicing self-compassion, “a caring, kind, and attentive attitude toward oneself, especially with regard to your own shortcomings.”  Even better news, you can increase your self-compassion and so increase your marital satisfaction for both you and your spouse, by engaging in these practices.

  • When you experience a personal failure or perceive a personal inadequacy, ask yourself, “How would I behave toward my friend if they were in this type of situation?” “What advice would I offer a friend in a similar situation?”  Then give heed to your answer. We often find it easier to show compassion to our friends than to ourselves. Give yourself the same advice you’d give your friend…and listen to that advice.
  • Look closely at the expectations you place on yourself. Are they realistic? Do they leave room for mistakes? What might be a more realistic self-expectation?  We often place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We become perfectionistic and overly critical of any shortcoming. Examine your expectations and accept that you are human.
  • Offer yourself encouragement. We easily slip into self-critical or self-degrading comments. We tell ourselves we’re a “lousy cook” when we overcook the chicken one time or call ourselves “lazy” or minimize our knowledge. Instead, be honest with yourself. Sure, we all have shortcomings but don’t turn a shortcoming into a character trait. Encourage yourself. Don’t make a passing failure a permanent state of being. Instead, encourage yourself. Consider times you have done better. Make a plan to learn and grow. Restate those harsh criticisms with greater self-compassion and with a more accurate truth. Learn to offer yourself encouragement and affirmations.
  • Listen to your thoughts and reframe them into more accurate thoughts. Throw out the “always” and “nevers.” Replace them with “this time” or “sometimes.”   Replace the global statements (everything, my whole…) with specific statements (this time, this incident, this moment). Admit it’s not “all about you” and you’re not to “blame for everything.”  Then have the grace to take responsibility only for those things over which you actually have control.
  • Do something nice for yourself today. It could be simple: take a bath, call a friend, read a book, take a walk…. Do something nice for yourself today.

Learn to show yourself a little compassion. Show yourself as much compassion as you would show a good friend. When you do, you will find greater joy, your spouse will experience greater happiness, and your marriage will grow more satisfying.

Toward a Self-Compassionate Family Life

Three of the greatest obstacles to effective parenting are self-criticism, a lack of energy, and ruminating on our fears of doing the wrong thing. These same three obstacles interfere with a healthy marriage.  Fortunately, a study published in 2019 reveals two ways to overcome these obstacles. Both ways involve nurturing your self-compassion. Plus, they only take 10 to 20 minutes a day. Those 10-20 minutes a day will lower your heart rate (indicating relaxation), increase your feeling of connection to others, and boost your immune system. They will also increase your sense of security and turn down that self-critical voice in your head. As you can imagine, this will result in wiser choices and a more satisfying connection with your spouse and children. What are the two exercises?

One exercise is a compassionate body scan. A compassionate body scan involves paying attention to your body sensations in a kind, compassionate manner. Most body scans start at the head and quietly move down the body with compassionate attention to any sensations in the body. Here is an example of a brief (5-minutes) compassionate body scan.

The other exercise is a lovingkindness meditation. The lovingkindness meditation used in this study instructed a person to bring to mind someone for whom they feel a natural warmth and affection. They would then direct friendly wishes to this person (or offer prayers for this person’s well-being). They then offered the same friendly wishes to themselves. Here is a 9-minute lovingkindness meditation you might enjoy.

As noted above, these exercises resulted in a greater sense of security, increased relaxation, and a decrease in self-criticism. In terms of family, these changes open the door to greater connection and intimacy, wiser decisions, and more effective family interactions. Isn’t that worth 10-20 minutes a day?

Teen Self-Esteem? Forget About It! (Well, in part anyway)

Teens are hard on one another…and they are hard on themselves. They live under the constant pressure of expectations from parents, coaches, teachers, peers, and even themselves. In an effort to feel good about themselves, to have a positive self-esteem, they often get caught up in comparing themselves with other teens and with the false images of touched-up beauty, staged happiness, and constant success they find on social media. Questions like “Am I good enough?” or “How can I compete with them?” and “What have I accomplished lately?” are ripe with global evaluations that make anyone feel bad. All this judging of one’s self against arbitrary standards of perfection does not promote a positive self-esteem in our teens. But I have an idea. Forget about self-esteem. Focus on self-compassion instead.

Self-compassion allows us to recognize and accept our mistakes and struggles since “we are part of the human race.” Through self-compassion, we realize that “we all make mistakes and struggles. I am not alone.” Teens who practices self-compassion treat themselves with the same kindness and understanding they would extend to a good friend. This may sound naïve, but a study of 235 adolescents and 287 young adults revealed that teens and young adults who practiced self-compassion demonstrated a greater sense of well-being. That’s not all, either. Another study of self-compassion found that teens who practice greater self-compassion had less fear of failure and a greater association with “adaptive academic motivational patterns.” In other words, teens with self-compassion were better able to focus on accomplishing tasks at hand. They have greater perceived confidence and less fear of failure. As a result, they work toward achievement without the hinderances of fear or emotion-based goals. So how can you promote self-compassion in your teen?

  • Accept your teen’s emotions and help them find a name for those emotions. The broader a teen’s emotional vocabulary, the better able they are to recognize and accept those emotions in themselves and others.
  • Confirm that many experiences with which your teen struggles are universal experiences. They are not alone. Explore how other people have dealt with those struggles to help provide them options. 
  • Ask your teen what they would say to a friend in a similar situation. Encourage them to offer themselves the same compassion and kindness they would offer their friend.
  • When your teen makes a mistake or experiences a failure, understand their point of view. Listen carefully to understand. Then, after they know you understand, problem-solve together for similar incidents or situations that may arise in the future.
  • In conversation, use statements that are self-compassionate, statements that accept mistakes and look to the future, statements that show kindness, statements that reveal acceptance.
  • For more ideas, check out Dr. Neff’s self-compassion exercises. (Dr. Neff is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of TX, Austin, and a pioneer in self-compassion research.)

Ironically, as we teach our children and teens self-compassion, their positive “self-esteem” will likely improve as well. So, forget about self-esteem. Help your teen develop self-compassion.

Geometry, Infants, & Compassion

What can we learn about compassion from geometry and infants? Researchers at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev answered that question by showing two videos to a group of 6-month-old infants. In the first video, a square figure with eyes climbed a hill to meet a round figure with eyes. They go down the hill together, their eyes filled with happiness and positive feelings. In the second video, the round figure hits and bullies the square figure until it goes down the hill alone, showing distress by crying and falling over. After seeing these two videos, the infant was given the opportunity to choose one of the figures, they chose the “bullied” square figure over 80% of the time. This suggests they felt an “empathic preference,” compassion, for the bullied figure.

Ironically, in a second experiment, the square figure met the round figure on the top of the hill and went down the hill in distress even though the round figure did NOT bully or treat the square unkindly. The square went down the hill in distress for no apparent reason in this experiment. In this case, the infants showed no preference for the square figure or the round figure. In other words, their “empathic preference” was based on context. They had compassion for the bullied figure when distress by some action, but not for the figure that exhibited distress for no apparent reason.

If 6-month-old infants showed over an 80% preference (compassion) for the bullied victim, why does it seem we don’t see compassion for the victim at least 80% of the time in the adult world? And how can we, as parents, nurture that compassion in our children? I’m not sure…the research didn’t address that question. But…perhaps we can make an educated guess about a couple possible reasons.

  • Maybe the media only reports on that smaller percentage of non-compassionate acts. Perhaps compassion is exhibited over 80% of the time, but compassion doesn’t make for good ratings. So, we witness the less than 20% of non-compassionate acts occurring in the world in the headlines, the frontpage stories, and the lead stories. If this is the case, we, as parents need to help our children see the compassion in the world. We need to intentionally point out the helpers in the current world and throughout history.
  • Perhaps parents don’t model and encourage compassion. Could it be that many parents promote a “dog eat dog” world, a world of limited resources for which we must compete? Perhaps our actions suggest that “only a few can get the prize” and nothing short of “the prize” is worth having. At best, we promote ignoring the other guy or, worse, pushing the other guy out of the way to get the limited resource or cherished prize. If this is true, we need to adjust our view of the world. We need to realize that “the prize” is not necessarily the trophy for coming out as “number one” but the glory of playing an honorable game, which at times may result in a prize. We need to nurture the understanding that resources are plentiful when we use them wisely, share them generously, and encourage one another genuinely.   

Let me share a few practical actions we can take to nurture compassion in our children.

  1. Model compassion. Our children’s compassion begins at home. They learn how to interact with the world by watching us interact with the world. Let them see you act in compassion toward others. Let them see kindness in you.
  2. “Look for the helpers” in the present world and in history. Consider not just the atrocity of slavery, but the compassion of those who supported the underground railroad. Don’t just speak of the horror of the holocaust, praise the Righteous Among the Nations as well. Rather than simply talk about various injustices in the world, “look for the helpers” and support them in word and deed. Look for acts of kindness or compassion in the world and point them out to your children.
  3. Volunteer. One way to support the “helpers” is to become one yourself. Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family. Consider ways you can reach out in kindness to those around you and involve your children in the act. They will learn the joys of compassion and it will become a lifelong style of interaction.

Does Your Child Have Low Self-Esteem? Try This!

Self-esteem is not easy to come by in today’s world. Our culture communicates that “ordinary” is not “good enough”…that self-esteem is based on performance, achievement, being better than the next guy. This leads to a self-esteem built on sand, shaky ground at best. The common answer to this problem is to shower our children with praise. Unfortunately, this does not help. In fact, research suggests that lavishing our children with praise may either lower self-esteem or make our children less willing to pursue challenges.

So, what can we do to help our children gain a more positive self-image? Eileen Kennedy-Moore gives a very insightful answer in Greater Good Magazine. It may sound strange, but the answer lies in helping our children take their eyes off themselves and learn to focus on something bigger than themselves. This is a great answer…and we can help our children do it at any age! Here are a few ways.

  • Immerse your children in a project or experience that they both enjoy and are challenged by. This might include building a model, drawing, reading, studying a favorite topic, playing a sport. Encourage them to get lost in the adventures of great books or music or hiking, rock climbing, or art. You’ll know they have experienced this when they become absorbed in the activity, lose track of time, and enjoy the challenge presented.
  • Let them bear witness to acts of courage, generosity, and virtue in other people. This will motivate them to care about others and to act courageously in expressing their care for others. They can bear witness to caring, generous, and courageous people by learning the stories of heroes. Tell them stories about family members and friends who have engaged in generous, kind, virtuous acts. Talk about historic figures who have engaged in generous, kind, virtuous acts. As Mr. Rogers has said, “Look for the helpers” and then point them out to your children.
  • Nurture compassion in your children. Children begin to feel compassion at a very young age (this video shows children leaning toward the “good puppet” for whom they have compassion as young as 18 months). Nurture their compassion by letting them witness your compassion in helping others. Provide opportunities for compassionate action as a family. Visit a sick friend or a nursing home. Involve them in volunteer work as part of your family. Volunteer at a shelter. Run in an event raising money for a need you and your child care about. Encourage them to care about their friends’ well-being and teach them practical ways to do so. Nurture compassion.
  • Experience awe as a family. Make it a point to enjoy those things that elicit awe. Watch a sunset together. Enjoy the vast, panoramic view of the ocean, the star-filled sky, or a mountain range. Enjoy the moving harmonies of great music or the intricacies of fine art. Experience the soul elevating times of worship together. Introduce your children to those things that move you to awe. And, when they discover something that moves them to awe, experience it with them.  

Each of these tips will help your children focus on something bigger than themselves. As they do, they move away from an excessive self-focus and self-evaluation, both of which hinder a positive self-image. They move toward curiosity, caring, and values that promote a positive confidence and a deeper, more joyous life.  

A Two-Week Family Experiment

Does anyone in your family ever feel any anxiety, depression, loneliness, or fear of missing out (FOMO)? If you or your family have any of these feelings, let me suggest a 2-week experiment. Researchers at Iowa state University conducted this experiment with 230 participants and found it had a positive impact in just 2 weeks. Specifically, after 2 weeks of making this one change in their behavior, the participants reported lower anxiety, depression, loneliness, and FOMO. They also felt more positive emotions like excitement and pride. So, this one daily action led to both fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions. 

What did they do to produce these results? They attempted to cut back their social media use to 30 minutes a day. That’s right, they attempted to use their social media only 30 minutes a day. Notice I used the word “attempted.” The participants agreed to use social media only 30 minutes a day, but sometimes exceeded the 30-minute time limit.  Good news—even if they sometimes exceeded that 30-minute usage, they experienced the same results, fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions. It seems that simply putting in the effort to minimize social media usage and becoming more aware of one’s social media usage contributed to the positive results. 

If you think cutting back on social media usage sounds too difficult, let me offer some suggestions to help.

  • Increase your awareness of your social media usage. Set a timer. Use your phone settings to look up how much time you engage social media sites. Use a wellness app to monitor your time on social media. In whatever way you choose, the goal remains to increase your awareness of time spent on social media.
  • Be kind to yourself. Show yourself compassion. It’s not easy to make changes. Social media apps are designed to keep you engaged so it may prove difficult to make this change. Stick with it. Don’t give up. Even attempting to do this brings positive results.
  • Make it a 2-week experiment, not an indefinite change.  Do it for 2-weeks then assess how well you did and the impact on your emotions and relationships. Have your feelings of anxiety or depression lessoned? Do you find yourself enjoying more face-to-face interactions? Do you feel less lonely? Are you sleeping better?
  • If you don’t want to make it a lifestyle change, make it a “one-week-a-month change.” Even doing this for periods of time will have a positive effect. Take a social media vacation once a month or once a quarter…whatever you choose.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the impact that this experiment will have on you and your family. Less anxiety, less depression, less loneliness, more excitement…seems worth the try to me. 

You Mean THINKING Can Ruin My Marriage?

Well, not all thinking can ruin your marriage but….

Middle age man doubtful and very serious.

You know poor communication or contemptuous communication can destroy your marriage. You’ve probably heard that a lack of connection with your spouse or turning away from your spouse’s attempts to connect can ruin your marriage as well. Perhaps you’ve read about the negative impact of contempt on marriage…or the destructive power of lying on your marriage. But, do you realize a thinking style based on the fear of rejection can destroy your marriage? (Read The Thinking Style that Damages Relationship for an overview of the study showing how fear of rejection impacts relationships.) It’s true! When a person enters a marriage fearing rejection, the marriage is at risk. Fear of rejection causes a person to think about their partner abandoning them. Fear of rejection also leads to the fearful person constantly seeking reassurance and asking about the security of their relationship. They may even try to force their partner to remain in the relationship through verbally eliciting guilt. Or, on the other hand, the person with a fear of rejection may comply with everything their partner says or does…which only serves to weaken the relationship (Shut Up & Put Up to Ruin Your Marriage explains more). Unfortunately, these behaviors, engaged in out of a fear of rejection, only serve to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. They push the partner away and may ultimately lead to destroying their marriage.

Don’t worry though. I have three ideas to help you overcome the fear of rejection and so change your behaviors, strengthen your marriage, and nurture a sense of security in your marriage!

  • Many times, fear of rejection flows from an insecure parent-child attachment. So, if you’re a parent, you can help your children avoid a fear of rejection by developing a secure, loving relationship with them. By doing so you help protect their future marriage from the fear of rejection. If, however, you are an adult with a fear of rejection, learn to nurture yourself. Think about the relationship you had with your parent. What was missing? What led you to feel insecure? What caused disconnection between you and your parent? Then, parent yourself. Provide yourself with those things you missed from your parent. Nurture yourself with encouragement and love. When you make a mistake, show yourself compassion and then consider how you can avoid that same mistake in the future. Trust yourself to grow and learn from mistakes. Give yourself a hug. Acknowledge your successes each day. Compliment your own effort. These actions will contribute to the next suggestion for overcoming the “fear of rejection.”
  • Develop your identity and a secure sense of self. You can do this by acknowledge and capitalizing on your strengths while acknowledging and working to improve in areas of weakness. Participate in your own growth. Develop hobbies that support your interests. Try new things. In this way you will develop a greater sense of independence and competence…and that will not only reduce your “fear of rejection” but strengthen your ability to grow in intimate relationship as well!
  • Befriend people who will honor you. Develop relationships with people who show compassion and understanding, kindness and encouragement. Make sure your partner is a person who will engage in mutual respect, a person who will value you for you and who enjoys seeing you grow as an individual as well as in relationship to them. That may sound like a tall order, but a partner like that is well worth the wait!

Fear of rejection can ruin a marriage, but you don’t have to let it. Nurture yourself. Develop a strong sense of identity. Befriend people who be mutually supportive in relationship with you. When you do, you may feel the “fear of rejection” slipping away…and good riddance!

The Power to Change the World

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kindness has the power to change the world and, just as important, kindness begins in your family. Sharing kindness with our spouse and children spurs them to spread kindness to those outside the home as well. It might just induce a ripple effect of kindness spreading through the community. Perhaps you don’t believe kindness can have this type of power. I too thought it sounded too good to be true. How could kindness, let alone kindness displayed simply within the family, have the power to save the whole world? But then I began to explore the possibility. Take a moment and consider some of what I discovered.

Family relationships are built upon small daily interactions. These interactions can be marked by kindness or not. Kind interactions communicate love and delight, adoration and appreciation for one another. This translates into relationships founded on trust, security, and safety—what researchers label as a secure attachment. In other words, daily acts of kindness help to build a secure and that secure attachment impacts how people navigate the world. In fact, researchers have found that prompting people to recall memories of healthy family relationships based on daily acts of kindness (a secure attachment), led them to treat others with greater kindness. Specifically,

  • They expressed fewer negative stereotypes about other people and voiced fewer negative emotions about other people. They also expressed less support for aggressive actions toward others.        
  • They reported less intense negative reactions to people outside “our group.”
  • Recalling memories of secure attachments eliminated the “effects of threat” to a person’s self-esteem posed by those with different views and increased the person’s willingness to interact with those outside “their group.”
  • It also lessened their negative response to people who posed a threat to their cultural worldview.
  • Recalling memories of healthy family relationships built on kindness (a secure attachment) led to an increased use of “self-transcendence values” like understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protecting and enhancing the welfare of others.
  • It also provided a foundation for compassion and caregiving behaviors.
  • And, it contributed to reporting a greater willingness to engage in, and then actually engaging in, more selfless and prosocial behaviors.

These studies suggest that the small daily acts of kindness that contribute to a secure attachment can change the world. What are those small daily acts of kindness?

  • Showing delight in your family member. Greeting them with a smile reveals how glad you are to see them.
  • Expressing healthy affection for your spouse and children through loving words and affectionate touch.
  • Offering comfort during even minor times of stress and rejoicing together during times of celebration.
  • Encouraging your spouse and children to pursue their interests and explorations of the world. This may involve supporting them in their pursuit as well.
  • Listening deeply.
  • Believing the best about your spouse’s intents and motivations as well as your children’s intents and motivations.

These simple daily practices of kindness can change the world, starting with your marriage and your family. Kindness is powerful.

Christmas Peace?

Our world is a place divided. Wars and battles rage between countries, ethnicities, people with any differences. The actions of a small band of people get thrust upon the whole body of people as we generalize our hate with no consideration for context, no compassion for pain, no love for the misguided. People pick sides. Our cup brims with division and hate.

We think we understand and have the right answers. We trust our finite, limited wisdom thinking we have complete answers, but I fear we don’t. Making an idol of our finite understanding, we cling to our ideologies and cast out (dare I say castigate on social media sites) those who think differently than “our perfect and complete way.” As a result, we remain divided and scattered. In our arrogance, we never find the Truth. Putting to shame the counsel of the afflicted, frustrating the plans of the poor, we oppress or become oppressed, forgetting that the Lord is the refuge of the afflicted (Psalm 14:6). In all our efforts to form and protect “my group” and “my way of life,” we end up living in isolated enclaves, casting out those who “don’t belong” or finding ourselves cast out as the one who doesn’t belong.

Things weren’t all that different on that first Christmas. There were wars and battles. There were those oppressed and those oppressing, those who had space and those for whom there “was no room in the inn.” There were those who protected “my way of life” at the expense of others. Those arrogant enough to believe they alone had the right to determine the answers were sometimes even willing to kill to support their cause (consider Herod having the children killed).

But, in the midst of this chaos, a light shines in the darkness. A man and his wife lovingly sit in a crude setting to adore their newborn Baby Boy lying in a feeding trough. Angel choirs sing a song of celebration, announcing glad tidings of peace to a group of shepherds. In turn, the shepherds run to see if such “glad tidings of peace on earth, good will to men” could be true. They fall in worship before the newborn Babe. At the same time, a shining star catches the attention of some astrologers, leading the Magi with gifts from afar. They too come to worship and adore the Child. Rich and poor, people born in the land and people from a distant land, scholars and laborers all join together before Jesus for one purpose—to adore, to worship, to celebrate. They come in peace to celebrate Emmanuel, the Bringer of Peace. I believe they leave changed people—a little more aware of those around them, a little more kind and compassionate, a little more loving—filled with anticipation of a coming Kingdom lead by the law of love.

This Baby grew into a Man who wept as He looked toward the place of His final destination and said, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” As children in the crowd continued to praise Him with words of “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the religious leaders asked Him to quiet the children. But He said, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for Yourself.” Out of the weakest in the society came forth the truth which could lead to peace, the truth that pointed to the only way of peace…the gift of a Son, a Child, the Prince of Peace.

Today, as I contemplated the Prince of Peace and our seeming blindness to His gift, I heard a hymn sung by people who some would wrongly think to be the least powerful in their world. (In fact, they may be some of the strongest people as they remain steadfast in seeking the will of God for their lives in the midst of unjust vilification, great loss, and immense pain.) In this hymn I hear “living stones” cry out. I hear them proclaim a truth born “on the night of Christmas.” “On the night of Christmas, hatred will vanish…the earth blooms…war is buried…Love is born.” I hear the proclamation that as we live a life made possible by the Child born on Christmas, we will more fully realize His kingdom of peace. “When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person…when we clothe a naked person with a gown of love…when we wipe tears from weeping eyes…when we cushion a hopeless heart with love…” we live out the Christmas message. Peace will grow exponentially when in response to the message of Christmas “I kiss a friend without hypocrisy…when the spirit of revenge dies in me…when hardness is gone from my heart…when my soul melts in the being of God” and “I am in Christmas.” This Christmas let us be “in Christmas.” Let us turn toward the manger and bow in humble adoration and submission before the Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. With His light before us and His Spirit within us, let us seek peace and pursue it.

Tempted to Cheat? Take a Walk in Their Shoes

Why do people cheat on their spouse? Often times a person who cheats is tired, drunk, distracted, or in some other way emotionally and/or mentally depleted. Still no excuse, right? But it points out the importance of taking care of yourself to limit the temptation. Some researchers suggest men cheat more often in response to perceived unmet sexual needs while women cheat in response to perceived unmet emotional needs. So, spending time with one another to enjoy emotional as well as sexual intimacy can help decrease the temptation of cheating. 

A study from the University of Rochester suggests another way to reduce the temptation to cheat. In this study, 408 participants, all from heterosexual and monogamous relationships of at least 4 months, “evaluated, encountered, or thought about attractive strangers while psychologists recorded their expressions of interest in the strangers as well as their commitment to and desire for their current partners.” Based on their findings, the researchers found that actively considering how their romantic partner might be affected by an affair encouraged them to control their attraction and temptation. Taking their spouse’s perspective motivated the participants to have compassion for their partner’s emotions and then seek to strengthen the bond with their partner, strengthening their current relationship.

In other words, taking your spouse’s perspective will not only lessen your desire to cheat, but it will also boost your marriage by motivating you to seek ways to strengthen your relationship with your spouse. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how often do you intentionally take the time to consider your actions from your spouse’s perspective? I encourage you to take some time to walk in your spouse’s shoes. Do it often, regularly. See your actions and your words through your spouse’s eyes…not what you want them to see but what they might actually see. You might be surprised at your growing desire to invest in your relationship as a result of what you see through their eyes. Even better, you’ll be surprised by the growing intimacy and love you experience with your spouse.

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