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 Spring Cleaning  

We are starting out one of my favorite seasons of the year: spring.  It puts me in the mind of spring cleaning.  As you know, I recently hired an assistant to help out with things around the office and one of the things she has been doing is clearing out my file cabinets and making them much more functional.  That has been refreshing and made my office a much more enjoyable place to work.

What about relationships?  What kind of spring cleaning needs to be done with them?  Is there some equivalent thing to be done to help make relationships a more refreshing and enjoyable place to be?

I have a couple of suggestions.  One has to do with the things remaining unsaid in a relationship which should be brought out into the open.  The biggest of these are probably puzzles and resentments.  Let me address these one at a time.

Puzzles are those things in a relationship that are confusing and difficult to understand for one partner.  There may be a change in mood; things said that could be interpreted more than one way etc.  When these confusing things lead to speculation about what is going on with your partner or what particular message they are giving you, they open up even more doors for misunderstanding.  I actually recommend couples address puzzles as they come up, but if there are puzzles you have been harboring for a while share your confusion and clear it up.  It will remove a burden from the relationship and make it feel lighter and more enjoyable.

Resentments are the same way.  If you are carrying resentment toward your partner it is interfering with your connection and may feel like a burden.  Clearing the air will help open up more possibility for connection.  Of course, bringing up every little hurt feeling can also make a relationship feel pretty negative.  A good rule of thumb is to only bring up those things that bother you over time.  If you are still bothered by something that happened yesterday or a few days ago, it is something good to bring up.  If there is something ongoing you haven’t brought up, this might be a good time to do it.

The second suggestion I have is to look at your routines and clean up those that seem to have gotten old or stale.  This might involve household routines, what you do on date night, sexual practices, or even the language you use to express your feelings to each other.  If any of these things seem stale and you are losing your interest, clean them out and try something new.