Where we live in Ohio, the temperature in the wintertime ranges from mildly cold to very cold, depending on the day and what you think “cold” is.
Otto’s hot-natured and he leaves the house in short-sleeved shirts while Susie bundles up with a long coat, scarf, gloves and hat.
Sometimes we’re a strange sight when we go out together this time of year.
While we might not all agree on whether the outside temperature is cold or not and how best to dress for the weather, most of us can agree on how it feels when our partner acts “chilly” to us or even “cold.”
It’s unpleasant and upsetting to say the least.
When this happens, you might think you know what caused the “big freeze”–maybe it was something you did or didn’t do that irritated your partner or worse.
But sometimes you don’t have any idea why you’re getting the cold shoulder and silent treatment.
Your partner’s coldness can show up in a lot of different ways…
-Giving you short, one-syllable answers when you’d love to have a conversation
-Not looking you in the eyes or turning their back on you when you talk to him or her
-Physically pulling away when you touch him or her
-Having every excuse in the world to not make love with you–or not even giving you an excuse
The list could go on and on and we’re certain you could add some to it also.
When this happens, you may have tried a lot of things that didn’t work (like pleading or pulling away yourself) and you may have just given up until the thaw, which may or may not happen.
Here are 5 ideas to help you warm up your cold spouse and create the thaw you want…
1. Make completions
It goes without saying that if your partner is being cold to you, open yourself to listening to him or her–and don’t get defensive.
The frustrating thing is that your partner may or may not open up to you and tell you what’s wrong.
One big reason your partner may not talk to you is that in the past, they’ve been made wrong and not listened to.
Whether this was you or someone else who didn’t listen, your partner doesn’t trust that you won’t get angry or defensive and the situation just be made worse by his or her honesty.
So if you’ve gotten defensive in the past (because most of us have) or you’ve made other mistakes and haven’t owned up to them, take this opportunity to make a completion now.
You can start off by saying something like this from our “Magic Relationship Words”…
“I realize that I’ve been ________ . I’m really sorry and would like to make it up to you.”
to say it right every time–>
Then open up to listening without getting defensive.
If you have a “gripe” about your partner that you’re hanging onto, you might first get in a mindset to listen…
And then you might open a conversation like this…
“Help me understand what happened….”
And then listen without interrupting because when you have it as your intention to understand, you might see something different from what you’ve been carrying around with you.
We know that this takes practice but believe us when we say that it’s a practice that pays off big time in your relationship when you do.
2. Celebrate each other
One practice that we’ve adopted over the past few years–that we started in our family and now are doing it for our friends–is our special way of celebrating birthdays.
Each person at the gathering, in turn, says what they appreciate about the honoree.
What a wonderful experience to hear genuine, heart-felt words of love and appreciation from those you love!
Too often we forget to celebrate those we love most because we’re focusing on what’s wrong instead of what’s going right.
So if your partner becomes cold to you, it’s a good time to genuinely appreciate something specific about him or her–not to get on their “good side” but rather to extend love with no strings attached.
3. Live by the “Platinum Rule”
We’ve all heard the “Golden Rule.” To us, the “Platinum Rule” is much more applicable when it comes to creating great relationships.
The “Platinum Rule” is this…
“Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”
In other words, stop thinking that your partner is just like you–thinking and reacting the way you would to situations.
Give up knowing what’s best for him or her.
Instead, you might ask something like this…
“Something seems to be bothering you. How would you like me to support you right now?”
When you ask this question, be sure to listen to his or her answer and if you can, honor it.
He may say he just wants some space to be by himself.
She may say that she wants you to just listen and not react to what she has to say.
Whatever it is, just listen with an open heart.
4. Become more playful
As years go on, the fun and playfulness that was between the two of you in the beginning can gradually disappear.
The things that you used to do with each other that were fun, you no longer do. The light way you were playful and flirty with each other is no more.
You may find that you’re both so “serious” and it’s paying a toll on your relationship.
So bring some fun and playfulness back.
Start doing some things that might be considered playful.
It might be to leave a love note for your partner in a place you know that he or she will find it.
It might be playing a sports game that you used to love–even hitting some balls in the backyard.
It might be doing something spontaneously together that’s completely out of character for one or both of you.
Whatever it is, have it as your intention that the two of you will have fun together and deepen your connection.
5. Connect even if your lives are busy
Few things cause disconnection and the “big freeze” more than getting into the habit of not making time for the two of you on a regular basis.
Relationships can usually weather sporadic lapses in making a connection but few can withstand distance and disconnection over the long haul.
So if your relationship has lapsed into occasional pecks on the cheek as you leave for work, short questions and answers that have to do with daily life or meeting each other briefly as you come and go–
Make a conscious attempt to connect with your partner every day in some meaningful way.
It’s not too difficult to bring yourself into the present moment and just look in the eyes of your partner if you only have a moment together.
Look at your priorities and see how you might rearrange some of your commitments to allow more time together.
The choice is really yours–how you want to spend your life.
Whatever the “weather” is right now in your relationship, we invite you to try some of our suggestions to help you create even more of what you want.