Counseling doesn’t come cheap.
It’s not the money. It’s not even the time investment.
It’s the emotional cost.
You have to face stuff you don’t want to face. You have to hear stuff you don’t want to hear.
And if you’re pummeled by tough stuff every week without a break, things start to unravel. You can find yourself with inexplicable fatigue or a raging headache that never goes away.
Counselors are always reassuring. They’ll tell you:
“It’s got to get worse before it gets better.”
But surely there’s a better way.
If you’re struggling in your relationship and wondering if something drastic is your only option, I’m going to give you a quick and easy test to find out. It could just save you a fortune in couples counseling.
Because fixing your relationship yourself, without having to call in the experts, would be so much easier.
We all want to believe we can fix things if we just read enough about it and have a crack. There’s no point getting an expert in unless it’s a real emergency, right?
It’s kind of like the leaky faucet you’re sure you can fix without calling a plumber. You print out a few diagrams or instruction sheets off the internet and sit down with your tools. An hour later, you’re calling an expert in tears because you have no idea what you’ve done and water is shooting every which way.
Sometimes, the do-it-yourself spirit is misguided. But hopefully not here.
So, do you need to call in the experts in on your relationship? Or will an instruction sheet printed off the internet do?
It’s time to take the #7daykindnesschallenge. Here’s what it entails:
For one week…
Every day. In every way. Be kind to him.
Even if he really pisses you off.
Even if everything he does reminds you of how dumb you were to hook your life to this guy.
Oh, it’s not easy. When your relationship is unraveling, the last thing you want to do is be kind.
You want to fight. You want to argue. You want him to know he’s doing everything wrong. You’re disappointed, upset and angry. He’s not nice to you, so why should you be nice to him?
I’m asking you to put all that on hold for one week.
Spend 7 days making nice comments, showing appreciation, doing little things for him, and being loving.
It’s only a week. You can do anything for a week, can’t you?
Because here’s the thing:
You can’t fix your relationship by focusing on everything wrong with it.
It’s like sitting in front of that leaky faucet and telling it why it shouldn’t leak and how much that dripping sound irritates you and how much your water bill is costing you.
That’s not going to fix the leak. That’s just going to make you madder.
The only thing that will fix the leak is learning how the faucet should work. How do the parts of a faucet function when they’re performing their role as they should? What can you do to your faucet to turn it into that perfectly-functioning faucet of dreams?
I can tell you one thing about perfectly-functioning relationships.
In relationships that work, people are kind to one another.
They tread carefully around one another’s sensitive spots. They do the little things that show they care. They ask how each other’s day went. They take time to look up, make eye contact, and smile.
If they have to talk about something difficult, they try to do it in a way that doesn’t shame or blame. No matter how bad things get, they don’t want to make their partner feel bad. They just want to get back to loving one another again.
Being kind creates a safe space in your relationship.
Your partner can relax, knowing that you’re not going to bite his head off or attack just at the moment he’s sitting down. That’s one reason it’s so important to schedule a time and place for difficult discussions. When they come out of nowhere, we feel ambushed.
Sometimes, the simple act of being kind to one another can sort out problems on its own. So many problems in relationships stem from feeling unloved or unappreciated. All it takes to start the healing is an act of kindness.
But not all relationship problems can be solved by one person.
It’s important to know that your partner is on board. Will he accept the #7daykindnesschallenge, too?
If he refuses to try, or agrees but makes no real effort, then that’s a red flag. It’s not nice to live with someone who can’t call a truce for a mere 7 days.
If you can both be kind to one another, then you have a good chance at sorting out what’s driving you apart. You’ve demonstrated that you can put love first.
You understand what French essayist Joseph Joubert explained, that “a part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.”