Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.
Caring behaviors are the perfect gifts to restore and increase love and goodwill in a marriage. They are specific behaviors that are done unconditionally to make our partners feel loved and cared for. Here’s how you can revitalize your relationship and heal the division in your home.
Each one of you will need three pieces of paper. Write on the top of the first page: “I feel loved and cared about when you...” Draw a line underneath this statement and complete this sentence with as many caring behaviors as you can think of that your partner is already doing for you. Remember, be specific and phrase positively. (Leave room on the side for two additional columns to be explained later)
On page two do the same thing, except this time write, “I used to feel loved and cared about when you...” These are the behaviors that your spouse has done for you in the past and is no longer doing. Finally, on page three, change the statement to read, “I would feel loved and cared about if you…” These are behaviors that you think would help you feel loved and cared for that you have yet to experience and have not previously asked for. Remember, the more specific the better.
Now that you have written the behaviors, rate them on a scale of importance, with 1 being very important and 5 being less important. Draw a column to the left of your statements and indicate how important each of these behaviors is. Exchange worksheets with your spouse and read each other’s lists. In a third column, next to the “importance” column, put an X next to any behaviors you are not willing to do at this time. There is no need to discuss why now. With the remaining behaviors, pick at least one doable behavior that your spouse has marked as a 1, meaning that is very important, and gift him/her with that behavior today!