Have you ever tried Susan’s “Acting-As-If” exercise? It is a wonderful tool for improving even the most mundane aspects of your life. It can also help your relationships. Here’s an example.
Katrina had been married for seventeen years to her husband, Marcus. They had two teenage children and both worked full time. Katrina loved her job as designer in a marketing firm. She loved her family too and even though it could be exhausting to help her kids with their homework at the end of the day, she didn’t want to lose that special time with them. While she and Marcus had a loving, supporting relationship they didn’t have time for each other. Marcus would try to carve out some alone time for the both of them, but Katrina always found something else she felt was more important to do.
Marcus, understandably, was frustrated with their relationship and was considering leaving unless things changed. Katrina hadn’t noticed that Marcus was upset. They didn’t fight and he was as committed a father as he had always been. But his resentment was the wake-up call she needed. She had gotten so used to just having a relationship with Marcus that she didn’t put any effort into it.
She asked herself what she would be doing if she was as fully committed to her relationship as she was to her career and her children. How would that be different than what she was presently doing?
She would be sure to acknowledge that she appreciated his being there and being a good dad. She would show him some kind of affection each day. She would make sure to schedule in alone time with her husband. She even decided to throw in some spontaneity to their relationship by taking him out for a surprise lunch on a weekday or sending the kids off to their grandparents for the weekend. Once Katrina started, she came up with lots of ideas to be fully committed to her relationship with her husband.
As she started to implement those changes, she realized that she had been taking other aspects of her life for granted as well. She renewed her commitment to friends she had let go by the wayside and started spending more time with her extended family, creating a more full and well-rounded life.