As part of our ongoing conversation about good communication, we wanted to bring up self-care once again. You may remember Susan and me writing about self-care in August. And it’s just as important to talk about now because when couples find themselves arguing too much or not connecting quite like they used to, the odds are pretty high that one or both of them has stopped taking care of themselves. And it’s hurting their marriage.
Self-care means eating healthy, exercising, being independent, etc. But on a deeper level, it involves taking control of your feelings, thoughts, and emotional well-being so that you not only love yourself but love others well also.
“It is not selfish to do what is best for you.” — unknown author
Self-care is not a selfish act. It’s actually the complete opposite. As you realize your feelings are being understood and matter, you relax and become more open and cooperative toward your spouse. You naturally learn how to properly care for your spouse and their needs.
Seven Essential Components to Good Self-Care
- Receiving — Not allowing others to give to you means you run on empty. Quality self-care means being okay with accepting good words, actions, and gifts from others.
- Attending — Most of us know when we need to rest, play, sleep, and generally do things that revive or refresh us. These are important to our well-being.
- Giving to others — The true test of love is not feeling; it is action! When we give, we get back, too. We meet an inherent need for ourselves by giving to others. It’s good for others, and it’s good for us!
- Forgiving — This means forgiving others and yourself. Failure to forgive leads to feelings and emotions of anger, resentment, bitterness, hatred, fear, and hostility.
- Boundaries — Boundaries show where “I” end and someone else begins and are an essential part of a healthy life and caring for ourselves. Remember that the word “no” is the most basic boundary-setting word.
- Celebrate — We can’t overlook the large and small events and victories in our life. Stopping to acknowledge and enjoy significant times in our lives helps us to appreciate and be grateful for the good things.
- Balance — We don’t go to extremes with busy schedules or even in how we process our thinking. We find a way to achieve balance in our lives, and we work toward maintaining that goal every day.
As you practice and become better at self-care, it’s important to take stock of your emotions.
Emotions inform you about your needs and deepest beliefs.
Identify your feelings!
- What do I need right now?
- What am I doing that might be causing this?
- Am I doing or thinking anything that could be prompting these feelings?
- What do I need from myself?
- Am I telling myself the truth, or am I just terrorizing myself?
- What do I need from others?
Follow these prayer steps for Self-Care!
- Start the day off with reducing earthly expectations to zero as much as possible;
- Receive everything that happens to me as filtered by God;
- Make upsetting experiences a reason to both trust and worship God; and
- Rest and listen to God. What is he telling me to do?
All we are saying here is that self-care plays a bigger role in promoting good communication in marriage than you may have originally thought. When we feel good about ourselves (because we are caring for ourselves), then our hearts and minds are more open to the people we love the most. And when this happens, communication is more positive. Effective communication takes time and lots of practice and both spouses must want to be better at it.
Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!
Our heart is devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here.
Did we leave anything out? What are some ways you have tried to practice good self-care? Have you noticed that your communication has improved as a result? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com