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SALT LAKE CITY — Life is a complicated and messy endeavor. In LIFEadvice, Life Coach Kim Giles is here to help you with simple, principle-based solutions to the challenges you face. Coach Kim will empower you to get along with others and become the best you.
The spark has gone from our marriage and there is growing resentment between us. I love my wife and I want to make our relationship better. Do you have any suggestions?
You can reignite the love in your relationship, but it is going to require some work, commitment and effort on both sides. Here are some suggestions that can get you started:
1) Get some professional help. Repairing this relationship would be easier if you involve a professional who knows exactly how to do it. If your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic; You need someone who can help make this repair faster.
2) Give more than you get. Most couples who come for coaching both say the same thing, “My spouse doesn’t make me feel loved.” The man usually feels unwanted and the woman usually feels unappreciated. The solution is making it your number one goal, every day, to make sure your spouse feels adored, admired, appreciated, loved and wanted. You must be committed to this behavior because it is the kind of person you have decided to be. It must be your policy and procedure all the time.
3) You must forgive each other for being less than perfect. Remember that you are not perfect either. You may not have made the same mistakes your spouse has made, but have made plenty of other ones. You are both works in progress (students in the classroom of life). You must give your spouse permission to be an imperfect, struggling, scared, divine, amazing human being in process, just like you.
4) Show your spouse more respect. Make amends for past wrongs, include your spouse in decisions, and never compare them with anyone else.
5) Listen more. Ask more questions and do more listening than talking. Ask permission before saying what you think, or giving advice. Validate, honor and respect your spouse’s right to think and feel the way they do, even if you don’t agree.
6) Show more appreciation. Let your actions speak louder than words. Do unexpected acts of service. Tell your spouse "thank you" every time they do anything right, or even when they made an effort. Drown them in gratitude.
7) Work on yourself. Put some effort into exercise and looking your best, but even more important, work on your self-esteem. Confidence is super attractive, insecurity isn’t. Don’t make it your spouse’s job to make you feel good, it’s your job to feel good about you. People who are constantly improving themselves usually have good marriages.
8) Be a happy, fun person. It should be fun to be married to you. Find some common interests and do fun activities together often. Make sure there is laughter in your home and it’s a fun place to be.
9) Talk about your relationship regularly and ask your spouse how you can do better. Your relationship is a living thing and must be tended to and developed. You should read marriage books together, attend classes or get some coaching. Make this relationship a priority.
10) Get intentional about intimacy.Intimacy must be an expression of love for your spouse, not a way to get what you want or need. This must start with flirting and affection outside the bedroom. Then you should make time to be alone together.
Cameo Haag, author of "Sexless Marriage No More" says, “Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of, whenever it happens … it happens. Become intentional about intimacy. Wash the sheets, get some dim lighting, put on some soft music so you can get in the mood. As women we can fall into the trap of feeling unattractive and non-sexual. Intentional thoughts and actions will awaken this part of us, and then we will prime ourselves to be present and engaged in intimacy.”
Your marriage can be the most painful or the most wonderful part of your life. If you have pain and resentment between you, please don't wait any longer to get some help. Things can improve if both of you are willing to work at it, and it's often easier than you think.
You can do this.
*Kimberly Giles gives her advice in the "LIFEadvice" series every Monday on ksl.com. She is the president of Claritypoint Life Coaching and a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem. Listen to her Self Esteem CPR Workshop at www.claritypointcoaching.com.**