Do you want to begin a new year with a clean slate?

Portrait of an in love senior couple

This is a new proposition for better relationships at home, this new year.

DO you remember the old stories from medieval times, when warring armies would stop the ongoing war and have a peace interval to honor Christmas?

The truce story is part of all narratives of combat: the moment when soldiers did stop attacking each other and then saw the enemy’s personal aspects…Soldiers would share a bit of goodies, show pictures of their loved ones to each other; sing a Christmas carol or two known by both sides…and for a moment experience what is really be at peace with each other.

What is the connection with your marriage to a passive aggressive person? A lot! We have been here examining the thousand ways you can identify what your marriage problem is; decide what strategies apply to change him, or how to evaluate the future of your marriage…all the way we have been supporting the war model of relationships!

Today, I want to propose you a very different approach: we are going to stop the war with your husband…and surprise him (always so well prepared to defend himself) with a total absence of negative comments.

Yes, that is what a truce entails: this week, you will abstain from saying anything negative to your husband, at all. No snarky comments about his passivity; no explanations about how his behavior is hurting you…nothing!

Do you hear me? Nothing, zero! This is your end of year truce, remember?

And what are you going to do instead?

You are going to give him unconditional acceptance, that is.

STEPS TO GIVE YOUR HUSBAND AN APPRECIATION TRUCE:

Step 1: Make a list of ALL positive aspects you appreciated in him when you two met. This list will have the impact of reminding you that sometime ago, you found him a person of value.

Step 2: Each day, find a way to give him unconditional praise. Oh, you don’t remember how to do it? Let me remind you of how it is done, OK?

This is the model: You find the positive aspect, and link that positive behavior, however small it is, with its positive impact on you.

You use sentences like: “I appreciate the way you take care of always having gas in the car, because it makes me feel secure while driving.”

Step 3: Personally commit to apply Step 2 for some time. Let's say that you decide that this TRUCE will last from now to January 10th, 2015. If you find yourself relapsing into criticism again, give him TWO appreciative phrases a day.

So now, you are asking yourself: what’s the point of this crazy idea? And, what do I do if I feel resentful and angry with him?

My dear, we live in desperate times…and you can’t be more unhappy with him than you are now. Why not to try a desperate solution? Treating him well, even for a week,  will cause a relapse of his passive aggressive defenses, can foster a new attitude on him and perhaps you can turn your marriage around…not bad for a simple attitude change, right?

Besides, you can use the pent up negative energy from your anger into something constructive for your marriage...so, breathe deeply and smile at him...I promise you that you can see results very soon with this appreciation campaign...because it is based on research that says that we all have hidden needs for love and connection. I'm sharing with you a way to connect with him by providing what we all need: appreciation.

And, it's an excellent new year resolution to add to your list!

Note: according to Wikipedia, A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year's Day.

  1. Cara Randall, 29 December, 2015

    I’ll do it! You are right, I can’t be more unhappy, so why not exhibit the traits I wish he’d show to me. I haven’t tried it for that long, that’s for sure. I might have done it for a day or two, but could never stop being angry at how I’ve been neglected for longer than that. I’ll do this until Jan 10th, and then evaluate how things are. Thanks!

  2. Nora Femenia, 29 December, 2015

    Dear Cara,
    I love your strong comment…so clear the message! Is refreshing that you can accept this invitation and use it to try a different approach….At the end, when you evaluate results, don’t forget to watch the changes in yourself:
    –can you modify your perspective and feel stronger and clear?
    –does expressing appreciation extends also to yourself? Are you learning to appreciate your self every day for the good decisions you do?
    –Can you feel your personal power? you are not letting anyone reducing the level of the interaction, but you want, positive ones…Don’t let other people reduce you to negativity and criticism…keep supporting a positive frame for each piece of life, every day!
    Being a master of appreciation changes all the dynamics around you…and stops other people’s negative opinions and perspectives from getting you down. You are in control of your moods, now, so enjoy this freedom. Anyhow, here is my book on self-esteem: https://www.amazon.com/Boosting-Your-Self-Esteem-Emotional-ebook/dp/B008LV2D6O/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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