How To (trick or) Treat Each Other This Autumn
Autumn is my fave! I love the colder mornings, the changing colours, bonfire night, cosier nights in, loads of hot chocolate, even Halloween...
When it comes to our relationships, I don't believe there should be any tricks! However it's also true that when we first meet our partner's we're shown the best version of them. I know when I first met Ben I wore make up everyday, we had lots of sex, and I would invest money on clothes and lingerie. I would show Ben how laid back I was, how fun and spontaneous I could be, and would try my best to hide my many faults. And once the relationship was secure, I became more relaxed about my slightly less attractive traits rearing their head. I was way more relaxed about make-up, and sexy lingerie got replaced by comfy 'Bridget's' and maternity bra's. I'm not saying we intentionally 'trick' our spouses but as things become more complacent, it's important that as we quite rightly relax into being our true selves, we also learn how to be loving; how to treat our partners.
Of course there's no major difference in how you should treat your partner during Autumn compared with summer, that would just be weird... However, I do believe as relationships so often go through seasons, there are certain events and timings in the year that mean we need to work on different things.
Autumn means darker evenings, boo! Which for some can mean a heightened level of depression. The NHS estimates that 1 in 15 people suffer from seasonal affective disorder also known as SAD. Getting outdoors becomes harder, we were playing in a park yesterday and it randomly started snowing! And raining. We were unprepared, and cold and so a run indoors ensued where we remained for the rest of the day. I don't know about your kids, but ours are definitely more: snappy, argumentative, grumpy when we're not able to get outside. And so am I.
Autumn can also be quite busy, I start thinking about Christmas about now which will start to consume me from next month. I really need to work on this...
The colder seasons mean: more dark hours, harder school runs, more indoor time, (for some) increased screen time. The impact on couples can be: more depression, more stress, less quality time together, less money (as Christmas spending begins).
And so we start to see the importance of learning how to treat your spouse this season:
Treat them with kindness.
Speak kind, act kind, think kind.
Say kind words, not just because they are nice to hear, because they are necessary. Do kind acts, not just because our partner appreciates them, because they help us to feel more connected and loving. Think kind thoughts about your partner. If/when depression hits, it becomes very easy to see the worst in our partner but build them up in your mind, think kind and loving thoughts and these will come out in our treatment toward each other, and more importantly will affect our own happiness.
Treat with patience.
It is believed that SAD affects women more than men, though the reason is unknown. If your partners mood seems affected by this new season, be patient. Their short temper, desire to sleep more, reluctance to leave the house isn't intended to hurt or upset you. She (or he) needs patience and understanding. She needs to hear that her feelings matter, that she matters and that she's loved no matter how she feels each day.
Treat with respect.
I love the uniqueness we each have, and often our uniqueness can bring challenges. Our differences can mean different opinions, feelings, fears, responses. We each have our own thoughts on halloween, bonfire night, and when the heating should go on... Try not to tell your partner that they're wrong, try to see things from their point of view. Respect them by giving them the same regard for their thoughts and feelings that you would like for yours.
Treat with love.
Treating with love means doing all of the above with gentleness, fondness and trust. It means staying calm and really listening to your partner. It means not always giving your own opinion. It means not always 'winning'. It means building up not shooting down. It means hugs, being wrong and at times forgiveness.
So this week when you're out knocking doors for treats (or not), think of how you treat your partner, and how this Autumn you might just be able to treat them better. That's what being married is all about after all, constantly growing, constantly being challenged and constantly changing. For the better. Together.
Happy Halloween lovely people.