How to Retrain Your Lover

Step 5: Affirm the Process

The lesson is all about affirming every step your partner takes toward giving you what you want. That means looking at what he does through the lens of ''what is he doing right,'' instead of the critical lens that focuses on what he is doing wrong or how he could do it better, faster, etc. While it sounds easy, it actually takes practice to be able to acknowledge each small change while still coaxing him toward what it is you really want. Use the skills you've learned in the previous lessons to get that positive message across. Look as deep as you need to so that you can affirm any of his behaviors that seem to be heading in the right direction. Sometimes the only thing you can say is, ''I'm glad you're trying to help, I really appreciate it.'' That's just fine. Warning: Never add ''but'' to the end of your compliment. If you just have to add a corrective note, start a new sentence to do so, and try to start it by using words like ''and'' instead the dreaded ''but.''

To offer a simple yet illustrative example, let's say you want your man to buy you flowers. So far, he's not into the flower-giving thing. You prime the pump by finding an occasion to give him one long-stemmed rose or a mini-bouquet. Shortly after, while you still have his attention, you find a way to say something like, ''I just love getting flowers'' (you might even mention your favorite variety). Listen and watch for any clues that he liked receiving your gift. If he's obviously enjoying the flowers, let him know how happy it makes you that he's pleased. You can even add that you were nervous about giving them to him. That way, if he, perhaps, has been nervous (or shy or embarrassed) about giving flowers to you, that will help him get over his hesitance.

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