It’s hard to find the connection when the dishes are piled high, the bills are buried in a sticky pile on the kitchen counter, and there is a level 5 meltdown happening in the playroom. You need the spark back, but it feels like there is no time. That’s where the 14 days to have a better relationship will help.
It’s easy to lash out with a harsh tone or a sarcastic comment towards our partner about the million undone tasks. It takes intention and mental bandwidth to remember to focus on the positive and to compliment your partner.
The good news is that nurturing your relationship doesn’t need to take hours every day. You don’t need weekly dates or a long weekend away (although those would be nice!)
Does your partner enjoy feeling appreciated? Does your husband enjoy hearing how you notice what he is doing for the family?
If so, enhancing the quality of your relationship with your partner can happen in a manageable, practical way. If so, the 14 Days to a Better Relationship free printable is just what you need.
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The Five Love Languages
Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the Five Love Language as a result of his marriage counseling experience. He noticed couples can give and receive love in a variety of ways but that those ways fit the categories:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
If you’re in a relationship, I highly recommend Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages (affiliate link). Kyle and I read this book shortly after we were married, before we had the demands of children. Even with small children in the house, this book is totally approachable and an easy and quick read. The book goes into way more detail than I can cover in this blog article so if enhancing the quality of your marriage is a goal for you, I suggest you read it.
Dr. Chapman noticed that some couples would have conflicts over not feeling appreciated by their spouses. Chapman observed people tend to give love the way they like to receive it.
While reading the book with your partner and having a conversation would be ideal, you might need to do some other sleuthing. To discover your partner’s language, observe how he responds to signs of love and how he gives it. That could be a good indication. You can take the quiz to determine your love language.
Words of Affirmation
Does your partner seem to enjoy compliments? Do you notice an extra bounce in your partner’s step after you express appreciation or gratitude? Does a compliment unleash more positivity from him or her than thoughtful gifts or a special date night?
Then words of affirmation might be your partner’s love language.
Words of affirmation are specific, unsolicited compliments. Encouraging remarks, thoughtful observations, and appreciative comments are also words of affirmation.
Words of affirmation are explicit and authentic. They are based on reality and are best when they are specific rather than general.
Words of affirmation are really for everyone, though. Even if it isn’t your partner’s specific love language, positive words are much more effective than criticism.
Furthermore, using Words of Affirmation is a great way to divorce-proof your marriage. The Gottman Institute, home of the Love Lab, asserts that fondness and admiration is critical in a marriage.
The Gottman’s research can accurately predict divorce 96% of the time and criticism is a pretty big indicator. Appreciation is the antidote to criticism.
So if you’d like to have a better relationship, using Words of Affirmation is worth the small investment of time and mental energy.
Using Words of Affirmation
If you’re like me and words of affirmation aren’t your love language, you might have no idea where to start with your partner.
Here are some examples:
- I noticed how you x and I appreciate it.
I noticed how you cleaned the bathroom without being asked and I appreciate it.
- When you x, I felt x.
When you emailed Molly’s teacher, I felt supported.
- Thank you for xyz.
Thank you for getting up with Andrew when he was sick last night
- I love your xyz.
I love your silly jokes. You still make me laugh.
- Being with you makes me xyz.
Being with you makes me feel calm.
- You are the best xyz.
You are the best husband in the world for me.
- You’re xyz.
You’re the love of my life.
I felt silly using Words of Affirmation at first. Even though I was a teacher and used to encourage my students, it felt weird to praise another adult. With practice, it become easier. After seeing the results, I believe it is worth the effort.
Implementing Words of Affirmation
When developing any new habit, it’s important to think through some strategies to support your goal.
Make a routine
I tend to text Kyle an affirmation every day as I get the children ready for school. If I get it done early before I have time for many things to go wrong with my day, I tend to be more optimistic and appreciative.
Set a reminder
Use your iPhone’s reminder function or another app to remind you every single day.
Brainstorm a list
There will be days when it’s hard to think of an affirmation. So brainstorm a big long list of affirmations to give your spouse. Use the examples I list above to get started and fill out the Words of Affirmation 14-day Challenge Printable.
Batch a bunch of love notes
Sometimes I’ll grab a post-it note pad and write down a bunch of affirmations and compliments for Kyle. Then during the week, I’ll leave them all over the house: on his pillow, on the bathroom mirror, on his coffee cup, in the closet. You don’t need to use heart-shaped post its, even the plain ones do the trick.
14 Days a Better Relationship: Free Words of Affirmation printable
Like most of the printables I create, I made this 14 day Words of Affirmation Challenge printable to use with my family. I made it before Valentines Day to give as a gift to my husband because I wrote on my 19 for 2019: Do a 14 day Words of Affirmation Challenge for Kyle. I searched Pinterest and couldn’t find a printable. So I made one for to share with you.
Here’s how to use it:
- Accountability tool This printable provides accountability for those of us who need it. You may think you give plenty of Words of Affirmation to your spouse but if you can’t write down one compliment you gave during the day, you might need to improve your affirmation strategy.
- Brainstorm tool It can also be a planner to brainstorm and plan the affirmations you want to give in person. You can use it with the examples above to brainstorm all the things you want to tell your spouse.
- Planner You could use it like a planner and check off or decorate the little heart after you give the Words of Affirmation daily.
- Gift for the affirmed person I gave this to Kyle in his Valentine card. He’s not a gifts guy. They are fine and he appreciates them, but Words of Affirmation is what gets him out of bed on a daily basis to serve our family.
Why does 14 days to a Better Relationship work?
We often underestimate the impact of small actions towards a big goal. Using words of affirmation can make us notice our own attitudes towards our husbands or partners. If can change bad habits in just a few minutes a day. And it is manageable for busy, overwhelmed parents.
I’ve learned to beat overwhelm by breaking big goals into small tasks and it works with relationships, too.
- Related: Two Minute Housekeeping Tasks | No More Housework Overwhelm
- Related: The Secret to Accomplishing Big Goals – free printable
Make a habit of using Words of Affirmation with your partner for 14 days and look for an increased in connection and affection in your relationship. While you’re at it, know that you’re modeling for your children how to be in a loving relationship.
Print this worksheet and use it with your loved one.