It’s a fact of life that formerly happy loving couples can develop marriage problems that are the result of a simple lack of thoughtfulness. As the old saying goes, it’s the little things that matter, and it’s also the small matters that can turn into big difficulties if no steps are taken to improve the situation.
A natural part of being human is that we start to take people for granted, and that we easily forget what was once a matter of course. When a couple is new and the romance is strong, the little things are attended to, and no one has to make an effort to be thoughtful.
As time goes by, we slip into bad habits that can cause resentment, which if left unspoken, can lead to serious issues in a marriage.
Consideration – awareness of other’s needs.
So for the health of your relationship, ask yourself the question – are you thoughtful enough to your partner?
Thinking about thoughtful
It’s one of those words that we instantly think we know the meaning of – and we do, at least the minimal definition. If someone sends us a get well soon card, we say that he or she is being thoughtful.
If you’re a woman and a man gives up a seat on the train, you think that he is a thoughtful person. The meaning of the word should be expanded, however, when we ask about the level of thoughtfulness one spouse shows to another.
If you are thoughtful you are aware of and consider your partner’s feelings in any situation, and try to act accordingly. You don’t have to be dishonest or inauthentic, but you can change behaviors that cause problems.
For example, I have a bad habit of doing what my husband calls “interrupting” him when he is speaking. In my unthoughtful state of mind, which is most of the time, I do it because it’s a behavior I developed as a child to get attention, and later used as a way to boost my self-esteem – if I can guess what you’re going to say and say it first, then you’ll appreciate how smart I am.
While I know this and catch myself at it once in a while, I still do it in thoughtless moments, and it drives him crazy. He sees it as being a bad listener and attempting to reduce his role in the conversation.
So I have to practice self-awareness and thoughtfulness when we are talking, because I don’t want him to resent me for my useless behavior – and I learn more when I keep my mouth shut, too.
Being thoughtful around the house
Think about all the things you do in a day, and then try to write down everything you think your spouse does. Are you missing anything? Chances are you don’t have a good grasp of exactly what your partner does around the house everyday.
But by being aware and considerate, you can start to pay attention and to be more thoughtful. For example, picking up your dirty clothes, clearing the table after dinner before disappearing, making the bed in the morning, and just saying something complimentary – these are all small acts of thoughtfulness that can make a big difference in a marriage.
Being thoughtful in public
Men often develop the habit of going in a door first when he and she are entering a store, for example. Being thoughtful means that you remember what it was like when you were dating and still trying to impress her – you always opened doors for her and she noticed. She’s still noticing, believe me.
Women sometimes make a bad impression by forgetting to be civil and nice in public situations – please and thank you are always good things to say to your spouse. To be thoughtful to your wife or husband in front of other people is saying to them, I know you and your needs and I respect you.
Being thoughtful in the bedroom
Speaking of knowing needs, awareness and thoughtfulness have to be practiced behind closed doors as well as in public. As human beings we naturally put our own needs first, but there is no place or excuse in a partnership for forgetting about your partner’s needs.
Slipping into habits and routines and not thinking about your lover and his or her needs and wants can be a road to sure failure for a couple. No one wants to feel taken for granted or ignored, but the bedroom is the worst place that can happen, and the practice of thoughtfulness there will be rewarded everywhere.
Being thoughtful in general
So if you ask yourself if you are being thoughtful enough to your partner and the answer is anywhere close to “No,” you owe it to your relationship to make some changes. To bring back the romance and the happiness, give some serious thought to practicing more affection, kindness, compassion, tolerance, and understanding, and you’ll find that the effort will pay off.
Both of you will be better, more thoughtful people – and live happier ever after.