real life

Why I stopped rolling my eyes at my husband.

Kelly Exeter

First, some quick back story.

My husband and I run a business together …  I hate meetings … and it really annoys him how bad (read: unprofessional) I am when it comes to meetings.

So …

The other day we were in a staff meeting. And after roughly 15 minutes (the limit of my attention span) my ‘meeting face’ kicked in. The one that says ‘I’d rather be anywhere on earth than here right now.’

I saw my husband caught a glimpse of my face. As his head did that double-take thing and swung back round to look back at me, I braced for the reprobation I probably deserved.

Instead his face softened and he just gave me a smile.

One that said ‘I know you hate these things. But push on soldier, they’re part of the job.’

In that moment I was simultaneously flooded with two emotions.

The first was that gorgeous warmth you feel when someone unconditionally loves you, no matter how much of a pain in the arse you are.

The second was shame for all the times in just the last few days (and there were many) where I reacted to something annoying he did with a sigh of exaggerated ‘patience’ or a roll of my eyes.

I roll my eyes a lot. And never really understood the impact of those eye rolls till the meeting that day.

This is the message an eye roll conveys: ‘gosh you’re annoying’. Or worse, ‘gosh you’re stupid’.

When the person you love most in the world tells you (no matter how indirectly) that you’re annoying and stupid several times a day? Well, it builds up.  Your psyche and confidence takes a hit and before you know it you’re slinking around the house scared to do anything for fear that it too will be seen as annoying and stupid.

How bad is that? Without realising it, I had been doing this to my husband for … ages.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time you assume no matter what kind of shitty behaviour you dish out on them, they’ll just take it. This phenomenon is called ‘taking each other for granted’ and had driven a wedge between us in the past. If I wasn’t careful it was going to happen again now.

So that moment in the meeting was a wake-up call. Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows they are hard work.

How to fall harder in love with your partner every single day.

It was time for me to starting working again at falling harder in love with my husband every day.

Here’s what I did:

1. Ditched the eye-rolls.

If you’re a professional eye-roller like me, this is hard. Very hard. But watching my husband brace for my eye-roll after doing something ‘stupid’, was enough to make me catch myself. Practice makes perfect and it’s something I’m getting better at every day.

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2. Kissed. Hugged. Held hands.

When we see each other for the first time in the morning – we kiss. When one of us leaves the house – we kiss. When one of us comes back – we kiss. When we’re standing in the kitchen washing  the dishes we have a quick hug. When we walk down the street we hold hands.

Totally lame? OTT? I don’t think so. Without all these little physical connections in our day it’s easy to get to the point where we’re just mates who sleep in the same bed.

With them,  we don’t even need to speak to each other, we just feel automatically stronger and more connected.

3. Made ‘time alone together’ happen.

Got kids? Then you know ‘time alone together’ can be but a distant dream. So it was for us.

This is why we recently started paying a nanny to come and look after our kids for a couple of hours once a month so we can go to a café, have a coffee and read the paper. Just us.

Parents –remember those long breakfasts before kids? So good. So necessary.

4. Stopped point-scoring.

Stop point-scoring.

I can’t think of too many relationships where both partners carry an ‘equal load’. There’s always a discrepancy in one direction or the other.  And regardless of whether the load is financial, emotional, or just ‘keeping the house together’, it’s hard not to point score.

We all do it and you know what? It’s fine. So long as you never bring the ‘score sheet’ up in conversation. Because as soon as this happens it’s a fast train to Resentment Town. Population: you.

After 18 years with my husband I can say this with surety – it’s all swings and roundabouts and truly, each person gets ‘their turn’ eventually. In the meantime, as long as each person is appreciative of the other’s efforts, everything will stay sweet.

5. Laughed.

You know those situations where you’re annoying the crap out of each other?

Like this the other day:

‘You know Kel, I think God put me on this earth to follow around behind you and turn off lights.’

‘Really? Because I think God put me on this earth to take your dishes from the bench top and put them in the dishwasher …’

We looked at each other after this exchange and just cracked up.

If you can laugh together at the good, bad and the ridiculous … I reckon you’re pretty much set for life.

Mother, runner, writer, blogger. Serial over-committer. Kelly Exeter believes a busy life need not be a stressful life. She blogs about embracing the busy by living intentionally at A Life Less Frantic. Her new book ‘Your Best Year Yet – 7 simple ways to shift your thinking and take charge of your life’ is now available on Amazon here.

Are you in a relationship? How do you keep the love happening day to day? Any tips for our readers?

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