If you own a dog or a cat then you know the loving relationship between owner and animal. A pet is dependable, loving and trustworthy. They’re always there to please.
Truthfully, we could learn a lot about how to treat our significant others by how we treat our pets.
What if we talked to our loved ones the way we talked to our dogs?
Sure, it might be funny at first to walk in the door after work and hear our spouse say, (insert doggie voice) “Hey there! How was your day? You get a lot accomplished? How are you feeling? You want to sit down and talk? I missed you….yes I did. I sure did miss you!”
Ok, it would be awkward at first. However, it is more refreshing than greeting each other with negativity about the day and “What’s for dinner?”
Try to make the first 60 seconds of your initial interaction with a loved one positive. Any requests or constructive complaints can come after this amount of time.
What if we touched each other as much as we touched our pets?
Petting our dog or cat is how we show love to them. We rub their bellies or grab their favorite toy to play.
Relationships need physical touch as well. I don’t mean just sex either. Hugs, hand-holding, and cuddling serve a purpose as well.
Imagine what would happen if you sat on the couch and cuddled more. Or went to bed at the same time and had pillow talk?
Do you “walk” your marriage just as you would your pet? Going out on dates, setting aside time in the evenings for conversation, or having a weekly check-in with each other can exercise your relationship and keep it healthy.
What if we forgave each other as we do our pets?
Pets have accidents in the house. Pets tear up our nice things. Pets make mistakes.
We still love them.
We talk to them in those silly voices. We let them sleep in our beds and snuggle up close.
Loved ones hurt our feelings. Significant others anger us. Spouses forget requests we’ve asked of them.
How do we respond? We give silent treatments. We lecture. We criticize & hold grudges. We sleep in separate bedrooms or on the couch.
What do we need to remember?
It’s not personal. Our pets do not have accidents in the house on purpose, neither do our loved ones intentionally set out to hurt or harm us.
We’re allowed to make mistakes. Extending grace in relationships is a very healing quality. Mistakes will happen. Period.
Practice the Golden Rule. Here’s a question I ask myself, “Would I want to be married to me right now?” That helps me determine what behavior I need to change and keep.
Do you love your spouse unconditionally as you love your pet?
*Post originally written for SimpleMarriage
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counselingat Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.