Many clients come in the first time for relationship advice after they’ve already gotten to a place where it’s too difficult to see the positive in one another any longer. Does all this sound familiar?
If you’re having these feelings (or possibly a lack thereof) about each other, this is entirely normal.
So, let’s bring the good back into your relationship, set aside any negativity with one shift in your relationship that takes only a few minutes every week. This alone could slowly dissolve the thick cloud that seems to hang over you both.
If you are ready, then we want to introduce you and your partner to the practice of “Positive Flooding.”
Positive Flooding is easy and takes only minutes each week
When you positively flood someone, it means exactly that. This practice involves dedicating 5-15 minutes each week (some couples even use a timer) for one partner to shower the other with positivity.
Tell your partner everything that you...
Most relationship advice isn’t quite so straightforward or simple, but this advice really is. If it's been a while since you've thought about your partner's positive aspects, then you may want to reserve the first week as a writing exercise only.
Start today - grab a pen and paper and jot down three (or more) of the qualities you like the most about your spouse in each of the four following categories:
Your partner’s eyes, skin tone, or other aspects of their physique.
These are often some of the characteristics that attracted you to one another in the first place.
Habitual acts you notice and appreciate that your partner does for you or your family.
Massaging your feet after a hard week.
Reading books to the kids before bed.
Global Affirmations: Close with superlatives. (Remember, we’re flooding here!)
What is your partner the greatest at doing?
Does he make the most amazing steak?
Does she know the exact song to play every time?
Please write it down!
Once you’ve written everything you can think of down, set a date with one another for your first actual flooding session if you can’t do it now and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.
Guiding Principles for Your Positive Flooding Sessions:
We’ve talked before about the effects that having a negative outlook on your relationship can pose, regardless of whether there is any true physical threat. When the brain senses negativity in the air, it triggers a “fight or flight” response.
The practice of positive flooding is part of the work toward reversing this trigger response in ourselves. When you participate in positive flooding, go into it with these guiding principles in mind:
Your Energy Follows Your Attention.
Your energy always follows your attention. When you “invest” in the positive aspects of your partner, you are no longer honing your abilities to focus on their faults. Positive flooding also creates a surplus of positive energy to help neutralize inevitable situations of conflict.
Recognizing Your Role Strengthens Your Relationship.
Sometimes we forget that we are two separate people who have committed to helping one another on their own unique journeys. When you recognize that your only role in this relationship is to help one another, it becomes easier to continue down that path together.
It’s Also Okay to Ask for Professional Relationship Advice!
All told, positive flooding, as lovely as the concept sounds, can sometimes seem over the top and awkward for couples at first. This is also completely normal — especially when you’ve grown apart. Still, give it a shot.
If it doesn’t get easier after a couple of tries, consider seeking professional help. Sometimes an outside pair of eyes can help identify the source of anxiety or awkwardness either of you might feel both giving and getting a flood of positive affection from one another.
If you're struggling in your marriage or relationship right now, we're here to help. Check out our Imago Relationship workshops and therapy. We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!
Discover more about Imago with our Imago Professional Membership, Imago Professional Facilitators, Imago Professional Training and Imago Educational Webinars.
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This blog post was written by Norene Gonsiewski, LCSW.
Norene has been a Relationship Coach, Counselor, Author and Educator since 1980. She offers the tools to eliminate conflict, create a vision of a passionate marriage, and overcome the obstacles to success. She has helped thousands of couples fix failing relationships and restore the love and passion in their lives.
Norene has co-authored two books, Rock Solid Relationship: Seven Keys to Restore Your Connection and Make Your Love Last with her colleague Tim Higdon, and It’s Your Mind: Own It! A Manual for Every Teen with Nicole Jon Sievers.
Check out her website too!