How does your partner feel coming home to you? 3 Relationship Tips to Help
Have you ever wondered why you and/or your partner are considerate, thoughtful, respectful, and polite to others at work, school or with others, BUT at home, all of that niceness somehow is lost? Have you ever wondered why coming home after work can be difficult?
Well, perhaps we put a lot of effort into “keeping it all together” outside, and we forget that relationships with our loved ones require work too. Maybe we believe that home is the place where we should relax, kick back, and do nothing.
Perhaps the idea of being thoughtful and emotionally engaged with our spouse is not a priority, especially when we are tired and drained after a hard day of work. Maybe our belief is even that marriage or a committed relationship should be pleasurable, not work.
Indeed, as a Couples Therapist, I work hard listening and helping other people all day long. When I come home after work, I often wish for two things—either silence or an opportunity to be listened to. Depending on how you spend your day, your desires upon returning home might be different. But, each of us can strive to balance between our own needs to de-stress and the needs of our relationship with our partner.
Sometimes, couples want a therapist to help negotiate around who does what at home and for whom. Instead, what I like to focus on is thoughtfulness; emotional engagement; and couples’ abilities to send clear messages around how they feel and what they need from their partner.
Relationship Tip 1-Be Thoughtful
By thoughtfulness I mean thinking about your partner’s feelings and experiences. I also mean giving your partner the benefit of the doubt knowing that he/she may be going through a rough time at work. I mean doing a little extra because your partner just came home after sitting in traffic for two hours.
When you aren’t sure what your partner is feeling, or you haven’t sorted through your own feelings after a long day, it makes it really hard to be thoughtful and empathetic with your partner.
Relationship Tip 2-Be Emotionally Present & Engaged
Emotional engagement is about being emotionally present for your spouse. It is about checking in and reading in between lines, so that you can see how your partner is really doing. This is hard to do if your tendency after work is to “zone out.” If disengaging is how you relax after work, you might have been hearing your partner say things like:
“You are never there for me” or “I feel like I don’t have a partner here.”
How do you stay emotionally present then after a long day at work? It starts with your attitude. We all want to know we are important to the person we love. Unfortunately, if you are completely drained after work each day and have nothing else to offer to your relationship, it may begin to send the message that work is more important.
If you find yourself giving your partner your leftover energy, maybe the area of growth for you is to set healthier boundaries at work so that you aren’t depleted when you get home. When you taking care of yourself, it makes it easier to connect with your spouse at night.
Perhaps you have some habits around computer, gaming or phone usage that may be unintentionally sending negative messages to your partner about how important they are to you. Ask yourself:
“Do I show my partner how happy I am to see them? Do I give them the reception and attention I want from them?”
Relationship Tip 3-Send Clear, Loving Messages
But in reality, everyone has bad days and sometimes, we have no choice or control over how difficult work is. What else can you do to love your partner at the end of the day? One way is to learn to send a loving and clear messages of how you feel and what you need after work.
Do you reach out to your partner for help? Do you get sarcastic or passive aggressive? Do you bark commands left and right? Maybe you believe your spouse should know what you need so you stay quiet? Are you expressing your love and care along with venting from the stress of the day?
First, explore your own feelings and needs. Do you simply need help with dishes OR do you miss your partner and want them close to you (while doing dishes)? Do you want to have someone just listen to you? Would you like to know that they are happy to see you? How can you ask for those things so your needs are clear in ways that don’t sound like criticism?
If things don’t go well, and you end up arguing, what are you doing to repair?
How do you show up for your partner after work? Spark a conversation about that topic tonight. Discuss how you feel about the after-work rituals at home. Find ways together to invest in your relationship even when you are tired.
Get help from a Couples Counselor
When work or school require us to spend the majority of our days away from our loved ones, it becomes very important that those interactions and that time be special. If it feels hard to understand your or your partner’s feelings, you or your partner tend to “zone out” to cope, or you struggle to send or don’t get clear, loving messages, find an Emotionally Focused Couples Counselor to help.
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR: Marta Kem, LMFT is the owner of Vibrant Couples & Family Counseling. She provides Couples & Marital Therapy & Counseling in Westminster, CO. She uses Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with couples. Call Marta @ 303.898.6140 for a Free 30 minute Consultation.
For Greenwood Village couples therapy, call 303-513-8975 or use our online scheduling system.