Step 3: Be the first one to change
Now that you are assuming the best in your spouse and willing to learn, stop waiting around! You be the change agent! Don’t say to yourself, “I’ll do my part once he does his,” or, “I’ll stop being distant once she apologizes.” Because if you wait, that means you’ll be actively withholding the words or actions of affection or appreciation that will end up making all the difference!
And doing those things actively changes how you see your marriage. In my most recent research project, on the 30-Day Kindness Challenge, I found that when you purposefully look for the good in your spouse and applaud it daily, the most important and immediate change you’ll see will be in you. You will see “applause-worthy” things you simply never noticed before—which makes you like your spouse more! Which then makes continuing the change easier and easier over time.
So today leave a note on the mirror letting your husband know you’re wishing him luck on that construction deal, and that you’re proud of him. Or tell your wife how nice she looks when she comes down the stairs ready for work. Your perception of your spouse will become more positive the more you act loving first — and keep it going, regardless of whether it is reciprocated.