Repair Your Relationship

Step 4: Choose a strategy

Strategy 2: Do something different

If you've been talking a lot about your feelings lately, stop talking about them completely. If you've been holding things in, let your feelings be known. If you've been apologetic and soft-spoken, take a strong stand. If you've been fiery, start being patient. If you've been clingy, start being independent. If you've been ultra-independent, start showing your spouse you need him. In order to make your spouse react differently, you have to do something completely out of the ordinary.

On a piece of paper, list each of your biggest problem patterns. Write down the instances where you find yourself reacting to a recurring problem in the same old way -- that doesn't get you the results that you want. It's time to break out of this rut, so the next step is to describe in specific terms what you could do differently next time the problem occurs. Make sure you are concrete and action-oriented. For example, if you're someone who has been suspicious because your spouse is spending more time away from home and your "more of the same" behavior has been to grill him every time he returns home, here are some things you could do differently:

  • Don't be home when your spouse returns.
  • Don't ask any question about his whereabouts.
  • Instead of being angry, act pleased to see your spouse.
  • Make your spouse wonder about you. Be less accessible and predictable.
  • Instead of grilling your spouse, seduce him upon arrival.

Now it's your turn. Take out your journal and write down the following sentence, followed by your own ideas.

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