Every relationship has ups and downs. But if you can learn how to open your heart and let love in, even when it’s hard, your ups will be higher and your downs not so steep.
To be totally fair though: sometimes opening your heart to your partner feels like the most impossible task in the world.
Maybe they let you down, maybe they betrayed you, maybe after years of subtle and small disappointments, a wall has built up between you.
This is so normal! No shame allowed here. But it is important to address, rather than ignore because here’s the thing about walls: you can’t receive the love that your heart needs to open.
So, in this post, I’m going to show you a simple exercise that will open your heart to your partner, no matter what. It requires nothing and no one to change but it will change the way you feel.
Start With the Hand You’ve Been Dealt
Gratitude practice has become a popular path to experiencing more happiness and fulfillment in life. But you may be surprised to know how “gratitude” can help your relationship as well.
Most of our dissatisfaction in life comes from looking at what we don’t have in the absence of something we want.
- I want my partner to listen to me and he doesn’t.
- I want my partner to let me watch my show in peace and she doesn’t.
- I want my partner to be affectionate and she’s not.
- I want my partner to pick up after himself and he doesn’t.
While I offer a course that shows women how to approach their relationships differently in order to get a different result, for this moment, we cannot change our partners. But we can find a path to fulfillment and satisfaction in this moment, and I’ll show you what it is.
How to Open Your Heart With a Simple Exercise
Make a list.
Not the usual list of all the “have nots” and the “she doesn’t” and the “he doesn’t.” It’s a new list. A grateful list.
What is something that your partner adds to your life that you would miss if it was taken away from you?
What small things do they contribute to make your life easier, more fun, more meaningful, brighter, lighter, richer, and more truthful?
For example, even when I’m mad at my partner or in a place of temporary resentment because I’ve given too much, I can connect with this list:
- I’m grateful that you take out the trash. I hate that job. I love that you do it every time I ask so I don’t have to do it myself or suffer through the stink of leftover shrimp shells.
- I’m grateful that you’re the one to set the alarm the night before so I don’t have to keep my cell phone next to me and I don’t have to press snooze. I love that you do that for me and that you always factor in an extra 15-minute snooze to spoon cuddle me so that I can wake up every day and know I’m loved.
- I’m grateful that you make me a heating pad when I have stomach cramps. I’m grateful that even if you’re asleep, I can wake you up and you’ll make me a heating pad. I’m so happy I don’t have to do that for myself and that you do that for me.
- I’m grateful that you drove me to my doctor’s appointment in the city so that I didn’t have to spend ten embarrassing minutes trying to parallel park in front of a zillion people who have nothing better to do than stare. Thank you for dropping me off and picking me up so I didn’t have to feel uncomfortable.
- I’m grateful that whenever the TV breaks or my car has a flat or the computer is on the fritz, you’ll fix it. You don’t get impatient with me; you just fix it.
No matter where I’m at, I can always find at least 5 things to be grateful for.
No One Needs to Change
(AKA: Your Missions Should You Choose to Accept It)
Now that you know in theory how to open your heart, it’s time to take action. Make a list of your own. Remember what it was like when you were all alone and from that perspective acknowledge your genuine gratitude for what your partner adds to your life.
If only for that moment, your heart will open, your defensive walls will soften, your hunger-for-more will abate and you’ll feel full of love.
This exercise is always there for you to take up and connect with those feelings and no one needs to change in order for you to feel this way.
This exercise alone is not going to change your life but it can change a moment, and that moment can change the way you say something to your partner and that communication can change the way your partner responds to you and from there…who knows?
Love begets more love.
Gratitude is a powerful path to more love. And this list is a great exercise to open your heart again and again.