Marvelous Girl Has Moved!

2010: Break free of your “him-and-her” pattern prisons

Posted on: December 29, 2009

The New Year offers endless possibilities to set new goals and break bad habits. How about starting new couple habits that will strengthen your relationship?, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, relationship expert and author of Your Man is Wonderful (Free Press, 2009).
 
“Now is the time to take a look at some of ‘him-and-her’ patterns developed over the years. Keep those that work and change those that don’t,” says Nelson. “You know the ones, like the roll-your-eyes-snide-comment thing you do every time your husband laughs at what you consider to be some inane sitcom gag. Or your severe sigh and heavily judgmental, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ way of ending arguments.”
 
These all worked to get your point across at some point in the relationship. “We don’t establish patterns because they will fail. Him-and-her patterns emerge because they work,” explains Nelson. “When you were first together, letting him know your opinion of a sitcom with a roll-eyes-snide-comment was cute. It certainly was more acceptable than saying something downright demeaning. But over time, it’s not cute, and in fact, can be downright irritating.”
 
In this example, Nelson points out that for the husband, watching sitcoms may relax him; take him away from a world of worry and responsibility. “Instead of rolling your eyes when he turns on his favorite show, accept the good that watching does for him,” says Nelson. “Don’t react negatively. Better yet, smile, knowing the show is of value to him.”
 
An “I don’t want to talk about it” pattern may have kept you from flying into a temper during an argument in the past, but now all it does is prevent you from discussing issues that need to be discussed if your relationship is to deepen and thrive. “Change that pattern to ‘I need some time to cool down. Let’s come back to it later. Is that okay?,” says Nelson. “That way, you can handle your heated emotions without dropping an issue that will only continue to fester if left unaddressed.
 
“We have patterns of behavior for all types of situations, continues Noelle. “We couldn’t function in our highly complex world if we didn’t have reliable patterns to go by. But left unexamined, our patterns can become a prison, keeping us locked in behaviors that no longer contribute to a happy, joyful life.”
 
Nelson suggestions that this New Year, take a fresh look at your him-and-her patterns. “Keep the ones that work,” she says, “and let go of the ones that don’t. With new patterns, you’ll see a surge of love and a stronger bond between the two of you.”
 
For more marriage tips, go to Nelson’s blog, http://anotefromdrnoelle.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Twitter, http://twitter.com/drnoellenelson.

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